A United Kingdom-based Indian-origin actor is all set with a special Bollywood-themed Wedding Party, complete with a six-metre-high four-tiered cake and a specially designed sari, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee outside Buckingham Palace in London.
Ajay Chhabra and his Nutkhut performance company have been chosen to represent the Commonwealth theme from a South Asian perspective for a grand Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday – one of the many highlight events over the weekend marking the 96-year-old monarch's 70 years on the British throne.
The 51-year-old actor took inspiration from the royal wedding of the Queen with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 for the centrepiece wedding cake, with each tier representing the Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilees of the monarch's reign.
“Seventy years ago, my mother, nine years old at the time, welcomed the Queen to Fiji; a 10,000-mile journey resulted in her and three generations of women in my family making London their home,” said Chhabra, a popular stage, television and radio actor and producer of Indian-Fijian heritage.
“Seventy years on, my daughter, now nine years old, will celebrate and participate in our section of the Pageant for Her Royal Highness. This intergenerational family story lives on,” he said.
Created jointly with fellow Nutkhut Artistic Director Simmy Gupta, the Wedding Party is designed as a celebration of the universal joy of families and communities uniting through the coming together of two people.
“Born in Wolverhampton and from a working class background, I am honoured to be invited to curate a section of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, to celebrate the Queen's 70 years on the throne, it is such a unique and rare opportunity,” said Gupta.
“A decade ago, I was invited by the Royal Household to create a piece for the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace – to now bring this celebration to the streets of London along with a diverse group of people, from all walks of life, this is a special moment in time. My grandmother would be proud,” she said.
The Wedding Party will be performed in an elaborate Bollywood style, by 250 performers of all ages, from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester, Southampton and Newcastle.
Nutkhut says the spirit of the Commonwealth will flow through its specially-designed Platinum Jubilee sari, a key feature of the performance and composed of sustainable organic fabric.
“I am delighted to be working with Simmy and Ajay from Nutkhut. Their connection with community and their artistic vision captures the essence of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on the world's stage,” said Pageant Master Adrian Evans.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant, as part of the extended Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK starting on June 2, will take place on Sunday, June 5, providing an opportunity for communities to celebrate a historic milestone as the first British monarch celebrates 70 years of royal service.
The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as moments of reflection on the past seven decades. The Wedding Party by Nutkhut will be a key feature in the Pageant, which will meander through the streets of Westminster, along The Mall to Buckingham Palace in the heart of London, telling the story of a record reign and the transformation of society over this period.
Artists have been specially commissioned to interpret different chapters of the narrative in their own unique way and will include a military spectacle, entitled “For Queen and Country”, and a vibrant display called “The Time of Our Lives” complete with double-decker buses wrapped in specially designed graphics.