Raman Khanna started his career by producing and starring in a 1970’s Bollywood movie titled Faslah also featuring debutant Shabana Azmi. While on a promotional tour for the film, he happened to visit some International Festivals and was amazed to discover that apart from Indian’s and Asian’s living abroad, the locals were also mesmerized and fascinated by Indian Cinema. He also observed that in those times, Bollywood–oriented stage productions/musicals were at a very juvenile level and only few celebrity shows were taking place on negligent scales, either in University campuses or at cinema halls that played Indian films. Raman was one of the first ones to comprehend the future potential and profitability of such theatrical shows and started creating, marketing and running Bollywood-oriented shows with leading film stars, fashion models, singers, music directors, choreographers and comedians—sometimes also customizing his shows as per the predilections of international audiences—assuring definite returns. Interestingly, when classical dancers and musicians were sponsored only by the Regional and Central Ministries of India to perform on foreign land, leading to long queues of aspirants outside the ministry offices, Raman, with his strong sense of economics coupled with his shrewd marketing skills, coaxed these dancers to perform for him instead, gradually developing his passion into a full-fledged business.
In the spell of a few years, Raman’s passion for the performing arts and his obsession with Indian Cinema led him to take his shows to more than 29 countries, sometimes successively running them over 20 times in a particular country and he is easily credited to have re-written the future of theatrical productions. His motto was and even today, is clear to him—to take the rich and diverse Indian culture beyond national boundaries and to elevate entertainment shows to a higher, more organized echelon.
Raman’s latest venture Dreamgirls of Bollywood a show brimming with the glamour and grandeur of Bollywood, capable of winning accolades from international audiences—is on a superior scale owing to its unique script and opulent setting. A highly skillful team of creative brains, who’ve contributed to this grand production, was handpicked by Raman, making the show a product/brand for an entire lifetime.
“Unlike never before, Indian art, fashion and films are finding space in international markets and in time to come Bollywood-inspired concept shows would have a separate league of their own, catering to a plethora of connoisseurs, worldwide.” - Raman Khanna.
Swapna started her film career in early ’80s in Southern India with a film titled Swapna directed by the veteran Mr. Dasari Narayan Rao and while she continued to establish her acting vocation—enjoying critical acclaim and the mounting love of her fans—Swapna went on to give hits in succession and has over 90 Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films to her credit. Eventually, she got a break in conventional Hindi Cinema with Ek Din Bahu Ka and continued to win audiences through her performances in films like Hukumat, Farishtey (both directed by Anil Sharma), Sachhe Ka Bol Bala, Aage Ki Soch and many others. She has worked with the crème-de-la-crème including renowned actors like Kamal Hassan, Chiranjivee, Rajnikant, Vijaykant, Rajkumar, Mamooty and Mohanlal in the South Indian Film Industries while with Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Raj Babbar, Jackie Shroff, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit in Bollywood.
Swapna’s understanding of the world of showbiz coupled with her sheer passion towards movies, music and dance led her to preside as Managing Director of Sangini Entertainment, where she scripted and directed shows like Maya—The Musical, Umrao Jaan, Shaam-E-Jashn, Bombay Experience and the highly successful Shaam-E-Rangeen. Her ability to amalgamate Indian classical music and dance with pulsating songs and groovy moves from Bollywood made Shaam-E-Rangeen one of the most successful theatrical productions from India, showcasing across the entire length and breadth of the globe. For the latest venture Dreamgirls of Bollywood, Swapna has experimented with a very innovative formula—to introduce Bollywood to those untouched by its charisma and to educate them about its history, evolution and influences through an unmatched story.
“Bollywood is an inseparable part of my life. Every day, I am bubbling with newer ideas and concepts, thinking of creating a new show, or refurbishing an old one. I sit with my team even at odd hours and all we do is ideate. Our conversations end up hinging around movies, music, dances, costumes, actors, scripts…basically Bollywood! But who’s complaining? We do so not because we have to, but because we love to” — Swapna Khanna