Samir Bhamra is a stage writer, director and producer. Some of his credits include the musical Bring on the Bollywood, Precious Bazaar, Cymbeline, A Perfect Ganesh
When Christopher Hitchens was asked if he believed in free will, he replied: ‘I have no choice.’”
This new millennium marked the dawn of a new era for the British LGBTQi+ community. Same sex couples can legally marry. Openly gay men and women are being accepted in all levels of society and they can even have children. Times are indeed changing and so, the attitudes within BAME communities must start to normalise. To achieve that, we knew, we had a choice. Our hearts have no choice other than to tell our story. At this critical juncture, inspiration hit when our own lives reveal a path.
When a young Asian doctor (who I had adopted as a younger brother) was getting married to his non-Asian boyfriend of eight years, I discovered a story that meant so much more than Western adaptations reset into Eastern worlds. Circumstances meant that he was not allowed to come out to his mum until two months before the wedding. Supporting his conservative Indian mum to understand, accept and attend her only son’s wedding, was vital to my motivation to present a new dimension in the stories of LGBTQi people – one that spoke beyond the cliched sari wearing Asian gay man.
Mad About The Boy is all about variety, extraordinary variety. That and balance, of course. It’s a great big party; a R&B, pop and Bollywood concert. It has everything: from desperate pain to incredible joy. The story features the redemptive powers of song and dance, and tongue in cheek comedy. We know it’s not a family entertainer that our stage plays are like. And that is good for us. We are aiming for teens and their families because we need to recognize ourselves, if not the people in our lives. Parents are trying so hard to do what they think is best for their teenage children at the verge of adulthood. These young adults love their parents, but need space to experiment, make mistakes and explore. So, there’s a level of discomfort here. But it’s going to be hard to keep people in their seats and stop them wanting to dance with us. The beats and the melodies are exciting. As is the incredible talent.
It really is a new era. One of India’s landmark cases at the Supreme Court has finally decriminalised of homosexuality (after recriminalizing it again in this decade). The impact has started to reverberate globally – though other Asian countries like Pakistan have yet to address this. Mad About The Boy can help the dialogue and address global issues – How can a marriage be legal in one country and yet not in another?