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Bar Bombay 2022: Exciting return for Bollywood queer party

Trikone Australia’s annual dance-themed fundraiser Bar Bombay proved to be a great way to reconnect after COVID. KASHIF HARRISON reports

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Back after a two-year hiatus, Sydney’s biggest queer Bollywood dance party Bar Bombay 2022 delivered an exciting night of glamour queens, drop-dead gorgeous male dancers, and celebrations of the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

If you’ve been living under a rock, Bar Bombay is a Bollywood-themed queer dance party. It is presented by Trikone Australia, a non-profit, social-support organisation for LGBTIQ+ people of South Asian descent.

Bar Bombay, Trikone’s annual fund-raiser, supports important community work while also promising a great time – this year, it managed to keep almost 800 gender-equality celebrating souls dancing nonstop for four hours.

Pic: Robert Knapman

From the very first social media post, it was evident that something special was on offer this time around. A special mention to Bar Bombay 2022’s makeup director Geeta Artistry, stylist Zeenat Parveen and Kunal Mirchandani who were the key force behind the posters along with the gorgeous models from within the community.

The highly-anticipated event took place at the Metro Theatre in Sydney CBD in early August, with three Bollywood stage shows featuring 31 dancers.

The very first act Jiya was based on the sultry Bollywood number of the same name from the mass entertainer Gunday. Replacing the sizzling chemistry of stars Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra Jonas here, were our very own Sawan and Arturo! The sensational twosome not only gave tough competition to the Bollywood duo, they also set the mood for what was to come that evening.

Pic: Robert Knapman

And if you thought that couldn’t be topped, the South Asian drag queens came on next with their heart-stopping performance to some of Bollywood’s most famous melodies. Gorgeous in their costumes, and with cleverly picked numbers like Deewani Mastani and Yaar Naa Miley, they mesmerized with their superbly choreographed performance. (My favourite part was the inclusion of southern hits like Oo Antava Oo Oo Antava from Pushpa that made the cut.) After a 15-minute spectacular, they left the crowds screaming for more.

Pic: Robert Knapman

Soon the female-identifying and non-binary dancers took to the stage with Chaiyya Chaiyya, choreographed wonderfully by Bindi Bosses’ Shyamla.

By now there was no stopping the crowds, fully pumped up and dancing away in abandon. Live dhol performances, smack bang in the middle of the dance floor by drummer Rupi and his protégé Jazzy, and DJs Varsha Djsasha and Team Dj Sonu made sure the crowd were on their feet all night long.

ladies at Bar Bombay 2022
Pic: Robert Knapman

A special mention to Manpreet Gill, who provided an entertaining desi rendition of classic Elvis Presley.

Back-to-back South Asian hits, from Dil Legayi Kudi to Saat Samundar Paar definitely kept up the nostalgia quotient of the evening. The latka-jhatkas, melodies, and sheer excitement in the air made it truly a celebration of just being yourself.

Pic: Robert Knapman

Many of my dear friends had been excited for Bar Bombay 2022 all year long, and I could see why. From the red-carpet entry, through the entertainment extravaganza, to the pyrotechnics at the end, it was a simply wonderful way of catching up with the community after two years of COVID.

kashif at Bar Bombay 2022
Kashif Harrison catching up with friends (Source: Supplied)

Events like Bar Bombay are incredibly significant for the South Asian LGBTQ+ community members, who can sometimes feel isolated or alienated. Trikone Australia has been catering to their needs now for 15 years, supporting and empowering them, and bringing the community together in a judgement-free environment. Its first event in post-COVID times, Bar Bombay proved to be an exciting relaunch of its large-scale in-person programs. A special shout-out to the security and service staff for making it a safe night out!

Kudos to the entire team at Trikone Australia’s for the great success of Bar Bombay 2022. This attendee’s only criticism is that the event is held but once a year!

Couple at Bar Bombay 2022
Pic: Robert Knapman

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