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"The Merchants of Bollywood" opened at this village's splendid Ottoman-era palace Friday evening, luring a capacity audience to the opening night of the 31st Beiteddine Art Festival.Created by Australian writer-director Toby Gough, "The Merchants of Bollywood" is based on the true story of the Merchant family, a dynasty of choreographers who long dominated the Bollywood film industry. As the title suggests, this is a very Indian story but it speaks to global phenomena. Choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant to a score by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, the plot is more than an autobiographical account of Bollywood history. Ayesha Merchant – the story's narrator and main character – is the last generation of her family to carry on the ancient tradition of Kathak dance.Ayesha's Bollywood film counterpart is Tony. A popular contemporary Bollywood actor and director, he embodies the Indian man who thrives on the fusion of traditional and contemporary culture.
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