Indian-origin Singaporeans have started celebrating Diwali early, with shows to be performed by leading Indian artists and actors over the next two-and-half months. The celebrations kicked off on Saturday with the performance of Bollywood actor-thespian Shabana Azmi, who acted in a play.
Concerts building up to the Diwali were nothing new for here, but this year there were more independent theatre shows, and tickets of some of such shows have been sold out, according to a report in The Straits Times on Saturday. Bollywood’s global appeal has led to greater interest for viewers, said concert organiser Akila Iyengar of Arte Compass, which has been hosting Indian shows here since 2000.
Ticket prices have gone up by 10-20% in the last five years, depending on the artist. It ranges from 20 Singapore dollars for attending a simple dance promotion event to 250 Singapore dollars for a pricey Bollywood singer such as Pakistani sufi singer, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, said Iyengar. Khan would be presenting his third concert in Singapore on October 5, after tickets of two previous shows were sold out.
The number of shows by South Asian artists has gone up to three to four a month in recent years, particularly during the peak period of mid-August to December, from one to three a year in the 1990s when it was costly to host Bollywood stars in Singapore.
“Things started to change around 2000 when more independent event organisers started bringing in production on their own,” The Straits Times said quoting Subina Arora Khaneja, who has been living in Singapore for nearly 20 years.
Singaporean commodity trader and a regular concert-goer Imran Jehangir Nasrullah says, “The quality has vastly improved. The artists have become generally better performers as the influence of traditional media and, increasingly, social media has made them more aware of the importance of creating a better-impression.”
“What I enjoy most is the increasingly global appeal of concerts, musical shows and plays that come to Singapore now. There is enough appeal to purists who seek something traditional and those looking for a more Bollywood-style mix,” says Nasrullah.
The show comes amid a growing number of