Shooting Stars – Bollywood Comes to Cayman

It was an extraordinary evening of color, spices, henna, and infectious music in the Grand Cayman Marriott ballroom as the Bollywood Dreamz Gala, the first of its kind, brought fans of India and the Indian film industry out in droves, with all money raised going to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Ania Milanowska-Sedgley, Len Layman, Rachna Buxani, and Romesh Mirpuri

Tickets sold out weeks in advance, and those who were lucky enough to attend the event in March were not disappointed by the pageantry they witnessed. The ballroom was transformed into a palace of sweeping fabrics, archways, large cushions, colorful lighting and a sumptuous buffet overflowing with Indian delights.

Guests were treated to entertainment throughout the evening, with a dance demonstration provided by some young performers, music by DJ Pavan who flew in from Miami for the occasion, and an international rhythmic dhol drummer, dressed from head to toe in traditional Punjabi garb.

There was also a fun film photo booth, complete with accessories, where attendees found themselves in pictures with Indian-themed backdrops, a silent auction “bazaar” featuring art, experiences and jewelry, and a henna tattoo station for ladies who wanted to have their hands and arms decorated for the evening.

The extraordinary mix of clothes and costumes was an impressive sight, and many guests had gone to considerable effort to wear full outfits in keeping with the theme of the night. Women were bedecked and bejeweled in bright saris, and men sported turbans, long tunics and voluminous pants.

Andreas Kettner

Prizes were given for the best dressed “Bollywood star,” male and female, and married couple Chris and Courtney Burke walked away with the trophies after being handed the most votes by their peers throughout the evening.

Organizer Rachna Buxani ensured that it was a night to remember, even going so far as to import decorations, props and fabrics to give the ballroom its authentic look. “It was a lot of work,” she said, “but so worth it in the end. The night was a fantastic success, and we raised a lot of money for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre. I really hope we can make this an annual event.”

Mitul Gandhi

Bollywood films and music videos were projected onto a large screen at the front of the room, adding to the atmosphere and giving everyone a taste of the huge industry in India that has made multi-millionaires out of such popular actors as Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.

At the end of the night, everyone was encouraged to get on the dance floor and learn some basic moves from the experts, resulting in a fantastic group dance worthy of any Indian flash mob out there.

If the positive comments from departing guests are anything to go by, people will be clamoring for another Bollywood Dreamz Gala in 2015. Tickets will probably sell like hotcakes, or hot curry, so look out for the announcements so you too can “balle balle” for a great cause.