Dazzling costumes, sweeping dance performances and all the melodrama of Bollywood – Sunderella brings queer glamour and romance to the stage for Sydney WorldPride Festival.
Uma was just a little boy when he dressed up like a girl and started dancing to the hit Bollywood track, Ek Do Teen.
It was the late 1980s and Indian film star, Madhuri Dixit had just delivered a sensational dance routine to the song, electrifying cinemas across the Subcontinent. Everyone from Mumbai to Delhi and back was either listening to, dancing to, or simply talking about that song and that dance.
The Bollywood superstar’s performance was so influential it reached all the way to Fiji, where Uma was growing up in a Fijian-Indian family.
“The day I saw Madhuri perform on Ek Do Teen, my life changed,” he says. “I just wanted to dance like her.”
Fast-forward to 2023 and Uma is ready to step into the spotlight to perform one of the Bollywood star’s other hits, Dola Re Dola, in front of a live audience during Sydney WorldPride Festival.
“Even in my wildest dreams as a four-year-old, I could not have imagined that one day, dressed in sparkling costume and jewellery, I would perform a Madhuri Dixit track in front of hundreds of people… but here we are.”
Uma is one of the 17 performers taking to the stage for Sunderella. A queer Bollywood adaptation of Cinderella, the theatre production will run from March 1st to 4th, at ARA Darling Quarter Theatre, in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
The sequin-studded show will feature foot-tapping music, dramatic scenes, comic characters, dazzling costumes and jewellery, and several male actors in drag, including Uma. And, in true Bollywood style, there will be sweeping dance sequences, with the cast lip-syncing smash hit songs from Bollywood productions.
“But at the end of the day, Sunderella – just like Cinderella – is a story of love and acceptance,” says director, Bali Padda. “And it’s more relevant to the divisive times we live in today than ever before.”