As a sensational Bollywood star comes to town, it’s only right we should make a song and dance about it.
If you find yourself doing hip jiggles, chest thrusts or catching rain drops when you leave Emirates Palace on August 15, chances are you won’t be the only one.
That’s because up to 1,200 people are expected to flock to see Bollywood Sensation, a performance by Sunidhi Chauhan, the latest stop on her world tour.
Sunidhi is a big name in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai on the west coast of India.
If that’s music to your ears, then you’re not alone, as the Bollywood superstar known for her catchy tunes and moves has 12.2 million global Facebook fans – over 110,000 of which are in the UAE. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the colourful musical dance spectacle is expected to be a sell-out.
An energetic dance troupe will be accompanying Sunidhi on stage as she performs at Emirates Palace from 8pm.
The performance is another show that comprises part of the city’s summer entertainment campaign, Abu Dhabi Summer Season. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has teamed up with Flash Entertainment to produce the all-singing, all-dancing show for one night only – and it anticipates it will be a smash hit.
Holger Schroth, the general manager of Emirates Palace, says, ‘For a number of years, Bollywood music has been growing in popularity across the world. As a showcase of world entertainment, Abu Dhabi Summer Season would not be complete without an evening of world-class Indian entertainment. With countless performances in top Bollywood movies, as well as a cabinet full of awards, Sunidhi Chauhan has emerged as one of India’s most popular singers. We look forward to her landmark performance at Emirates Palace this year.’
Sunidhi’s first ever public performance was at a local temple when she was four. But she didn’t hit the big time until 1996, when she won Meri Aawaz Suno, a music show on Indian television. That led to her recording the album Aira Ghaira Nathu Khaira as well as singing songs for the Hindi-dubbed version of Disney’s High School Musical which were originally sung by the American star Vanessa Hudgens.
Sunidhi also sang Reach Out at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. She proved such a hit she was invited to be a judge on the fifth and sixth seasons of the singing talent show Indian Idol 5.
In 2011, Sunidhi got her big break in the global pop world after collaborating with the Spanish singer-songwriter Enrique Iglesias to create the Hindi version of his song Heartbeat, which she promoted on X Factor India. Sunidhi is now one of Bollywood’s most popular playback singers, meaning her voice is often pre-recorded for film.
This will be Sunidhi’s first visit to Abu Dhabi. Her concert is timed to celebrate Indian Independence Day, which commemorates the nation’s independence from the UK on August 15, 1947.
Sunidhi says, ‘The show on August 15 is a one-off, and it has been made especially for Abu Dhabi. I want to give my 200 per cent best. Each show is really special, but for this one I want to make sure I give a little more.’
Are your hips jiggling yet?
Tickets from Dhs195, or Dhs395 for premium seats. Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm. For further information, visit www.abudhabisummerseason.ae (800 86 823).
Meet the star
Despite Sunidhi’s busy schedule, we caught up with her to grill her on her inspiration, career highlights and upcoming show
How would you describe your singing style?
In a word, freedom. I have no particular style; instead I only go with the music and the lyrics, and feel free to express my emotions through singing.
Which singer inspires you?
The American pop and R ‘n’ B singer, Beyoncé, as she was my first ever guru. In fact, she’s a guru for the whole world.
What was Enrique Iglesias like to work with?
It was a very challenging song to work on as it combined different genres of music, but it came out so well. Enrique and I blended on a creative level and I’m very happy with how it turned out. But I’ve not yet had chance to sing it on stage.
How do you usually celebrate India’s Independence Day?
I usually celebrate with friends and family. This time, I’m going to be out of India, and you always wish your country well in your heart and thank those who brought this beautiful life to us.
How will you make this show different to your other live concerts?
As well as singing old, popular songs from the earlier part of my career, I’ll be singing songs with an Indian heritage and new ones. We’re trying to bring my songs together as a new show; we want the show to be special so it touches the audience’s hearts.
What language will you perform in?
Hindi and Punjabi, as well as some English numbers. If my fans tell me what they want to hear, I’ll give it a try. I usually make my choices according to the audience I’m performing for, so if they’re primarily Hindi for example, then I’ll sing most songs in Hindi.
What will you do in your free time while in Abu Dhabi?
I think I’ll have a very tight schedule, as I’ll be meeting fans and will be busy with the show. So I won’t have too much time for sightseeing. I’ll have to make another trip to explore the capital, hopefully this year.
What’s your next project?
I have lots of new songs coming up… But I can’t give too much away at this stage – you’ll have to wait and see.
You’ve had so many career highlights; any personal ones?
There are so many highlights in my life, I can’t choose. Recently, my marriage was a wonderful highlight. I married my childhood friend, the music composer Hitesh Sonik, on April 27, 2012, in a low-key ceremony in Mumbai.