Bollywood, North

A High School Bollywood Style musical set in Toronto

Devdas (2002 India)
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali

I keep of thinking of Bollywood musicals which I remember fondly when we were living in India – and have been thinking of an independent film to be shot in Toronto as a Bollywood musical and a starring an Indian Bollywood Star.

The story would go something like this (this is just notes):

Rona was a young star in Bollywood, but her career ended after she fell in love with a wealthy man who ended up moving to Canada. He could be an Indian or Canadian. Now she is living in a fancy compound in style, drives a Mercedes – but feels isolated and uprooted and misses the film business. She feels trapped and unfulfilled – leading her to take a job teaching at a performing arts High School as a dance teacher, inspiring a young generation of performers – while secretly living in her memories. It’s a magnet school – with performance arts gifted kids from all over the city – a multicultural environment with kids from all kinds of economic sectors.

Laura is 16, from an Queen Street artsy family – she is a single child and has high aspirations of going to Juilliard to become a serious dancer. She is into ballet, jazz, free-form – an introvert – pouring all her time and energy into her dancing.

Nas comes from the suburbs – he just got released from the juvenile hall for robbery, and has been identified as gifted in dance – he is a street dancer – but does not take it seriously. He is troubled and thinks school sucks, would rather hand with the homies, but knows if his grades fall or he cuts classes he faces the risk of being sent to juvie – he is on probation.

Nas and Laura are like oil and vinegar – and clash immediately – especially when Rona puts them together as dance partners.

Everyone is curious about Rana and she keeps her Bollywood background a secret until the kids find the tapes locked in her desk.

They pull a prank and the whole class breaks out into a spoof of a Bollywood dance number when she enters the classroom – dancing on desks, etc. making fun of her. But she joins in and turns ridicule into inspiration.

Can one combine modern dance, with the street dance and wrap it up in a candy-colored Bollywood confection set in a San Fernando strip mall parking lot?

Can one create an Electronic Dance number – with instruments from India – rap and pop – of course – it’s done every day on every dance floor with a clever DJ.

And break out in song in a convertible on Queen St. or a city bus.

How about remaking “Chaiyya Chaiyya” on an open-air tourist bus cruising down King St. instead of on top of a train car heading to Kashmir?

How about a Bollywood dance number in a skatepark with skateboards

Or the cheerleading routine at the home game when the football players turn into dancers, helmets and shoulder pads included. All hell breaks loose!

A dance number on the Ontario Lake-front in bikinis and bathing suits and surfers.

And prom – have you ever seen an all North-American prom done Bollywood – it would be wild!

Besides there is a dance contest coming up -the choreographer’s Ball – where talent scouts search for the next group of dancers to go on tour with Beyoncé.

Anything is possible if Nas and Laura would bury their differences and with Rena’s guidance be the couple that they were meant to be.

And they can… despite all they are attracted to each other … however, they hate to admit it…

Practice on rooftops, alleyways, parks, outside City hall, even in the parking lot as they buy tacos…

Gang banger parents, neither the artsy Queen-Street snobby mom and dad can stop them.

When things look like they may fail they end up on Rana’s doorstep for the encouragement – she’s been there more than often.

She shows her clips of the movies she was in – they share their memories.

The night before Nas gets arrested and it all might just fall apart…

But in Bollywood~North everything ends like it should.

A happy ending.

New ideas to add:

Girls pajama party – they sing dance in underwear ripping pillowcases – feathers fly

Boys robbery in rap intercut / Dance

Him stealing jewelry in her house

She confronts him – he’s a thief!

Perhaps as they rehearse – a rooftop love scene? (Do we want to go there or keep the movie more pure?)

Multi-ethnic classroom:
There is the Latino girl
The sensitive gay guy
Oriental girl
Huge fat girl and guy who are great dancers

Here is a clip of the iconic “Chaiyya Chaiyya” sequence, one of my favorites of all time: