de Carol Furtado
recueillis par Philippe Pratx
pour La Nouvelle
Revue de l'Inde et
Photographies de S. Ricketts et B. Foppen
Furtado est la danseuse vedette de la
comédie musicale La fabuleuse histoire
de Bollywood (The Merchants of
Bollywood), en tournée mondiale, déjà
passée en France en 2010, et qui sera de
retour dans l'Hexagone (voir
le calendrier) entre mars et avril 2011.
LNRI/IR : Miss
Carol Furtado, you are well known as a
singer and dancer in India and English
speaking countries, but could you please
introduce yourself to our French visitors ?
CF : Firstly a warm 'Bonjour' to all the
readers; my name is Carol Furtado and I'm an
Indian dancer who plays the protagonist in
the show the Merchants of Bollywood. I've
always been a dancer, although I did model
for a little bit and hosted yoga programmes.
I am also a fashion designer on the side,
however the show keeps me very busy
currently so I have to be extremely
selective about the work I do. As far as the
singing is concerned- I'm a bit better than
a bathroom singer but I don't think I'm
known anywhere for my singing talent.
LNRI/IR : From when and where did you
get the taste of singing and dancing ?
CF : I feel like I was born to dance. My
uncle uses the ABBA song 'Dancing Queen' to
describe me. Growing up my family was quite
conservative and the purse stringa were
tight so even though I've harbored a passion
for dancing I never got the opportunity to
train formally. Professional dancing
happened quite by chance. I was at a local
dance when I was approached by one of the
leading choreographers of the time and
that's how it all got started; no looking
back since then !
LNRI/IR : How did it happen for you
to become the star in this great show : 'The
Merchants of Bollywood' ?
CF : A friend spoke to me about the show and
because I didn't seem too keen to audition
for a Bollywood show he went behind my back
and sent my pictures to the producer and
director of the show while recommending me
highly to them. When I was called for a
meeting with the director I went along
simply to humor my friend. I was escorted to
a conference hall where veteran actors of
the show were seated looking at me with
dubiety. During the script reading I was so
nervous as I could feel myself being
scrutinized by hawk eyes. Somehow I made it
to the last page and before I knew it
finances, dates etc were being discussed.
The entire selection process was rather
quick compared to the impact it has had on
my life and carrier since.
LNRI/IR : Could
you please tell us about the story ?
CF : The story is the conflict within the
Merchant family- 2 generations with
contrasting ideals- set against the
background of Bollywood. This conflict has
been depicted using differing dance styles.
The story isn't anything new- and which is
perhaps why it can be relatable to audiences
anywhere- but what sets it apart is that the
Bollywood 'masala' has been successfully
packed into merely 2 hours of the show.
LNRI/IR : And what about your part :
Ayesha... who is she ?
CF : Ayesha is a modern Indian woman who
comes from a family with rich classical
roots. She values her traditions but at the
same time is keen on making her own mark.
Ayesha rejects her classical training to pursue her dreams in
Bollywood. She is an ambitious, independent
and a courageous woman who leaves her home
to make it on her own in a very male driven
LNRI/IR : What do you feel playing
this part ?
CF : Firstly it is exciting to play a
character based on a living person. As a
dancer I can relate a great deal with Ayesha.
Growing up dance was a hobby and not
considered a respectable profession so I can
empathize with Ayesha's struggle to pursue
what she is passionate about. I feel this is
an echo of most of the youth- you do not
wish to be disrespectful of traditions or
your roots but you also strongly desire to
establish your own individual identity and
follow your own bliss.
LNRI/IR : Please tell us about the
other characters in the show...
CF : The protagonists of the show are Ayesha,
Shantilal, Ayesha's grandfather, Uday who
plays Ayesha's love interest and the
entertaining Tony Bakshi. Besides these
there are a medley of other characters who
help in carrying the story forward.
LNRI/IR : You already preformed in
France and will be back in 2011 : what do
you think of French public ?
CF : I've always felt that the French
audience has been the best (both in terms of
numbers and the magnitude of the
appreciations received) ever since the tour
began. It was a pleasant surprise because we
were warned to the contrary, but the show
has been warmly received across France-
whether it is in the metropolitan cities or
the quiet little towns we've played in.
LNRI/IR : 'The Merchants of Bollywood'
is about this special world : Bollywood,
Hindi cinema... What do you think about this
world and its stars ?
CF : What can I say, Bollywood has
catapulted Hindi cinema to a global platform.
It has showcased Indian culture and
contemporary issues before a greater
audience across the world by putting things
into a more marketable format. As far as the
stars are concerned, they are worshipped
locally and are recognized and respected
internationally. I don't know if that can be
said of the stars of any other film
LNRI/IR : What are your projects for
future ? Did you think of a career as a
Bollywood actress ?
CF : At the moment I'm busy with MOB,
however, there are some interesting projects
in the pipeline, which are obviously on hold
at the moment. To get all the juicy details
you will just have to wait and watch.
Calendrier de la tournée :