Not just any cake: A Bollywood tribute to the Queen for Jubilee | Way of life
Not just any cake, but Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding cake in 1947. The nine-foot (2.7-meter) four-tiered confectionery was nicknamed ‘the 10,000-mile cake’ at the time because it was whipped up with sugar, dried fruit, rum and brandy from all over the Commonwealth, from South Africa. in the Caribbean to Australia and the South Pacific.
Chhabra, a second-generation British Indian of Fijian descent, wanted to use her segment of Sunday’s Jubilee Pageant to highlight how the Queen, during her historic 70 years on the throne, has united generations of citizens across the Commonwealth of places as far away as Fiji.
“We are not recreating the Queen’s 1947 wedding, but creating a kind of tribute to her, with all the people and all the diversity that Britain has produced,” he said.
On Sunday, more than 200 performers in vibrant saris will dance to Bollywood tunes around a six-metre-tall (20ft-tall) mobile version of the Queen’s wedding cake, powered by a hidden electric vehicle. Its upper level, featuring a rendition of the Queen’s beloved corgis holding a crown aloft, rises and falls on a hydraulic system.
The dancers, aged 9 to 79, are all from the Commonwealth.
“All these young people… they don’t see the world or ‘be British’ like we did, or our parents did,” Chhabra said.
Her Bollywood-themed wedding party is just one of many colorful acts to parade through the Mall to London’s Buckingham Palace on Sunday, the finale of a busy four-day weekend of festivities marking the monarch’s platinum jubilee.
More than 10,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth took part in the production of the contest, which is expected to be seen by 1 billion people worldwide.
A military showcase opens the show, followed by a procession with a medley of carnival music, three-stage beasts, Scottish pipers, cycle stuntmen, pole dancers and dozens of animal puppets – all telling the story of the story of the Queen’s reign in their own unique ways.
The pageant will cover a three kilometer (almost two mile) course and end outside Buckingham Palace, where crowds will sing ‘God Save the Queen’. Singers Ed Sheeran, Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard will be among the celebrities paying tribute.
It’s a huge moment of celebration, and the pageant directors aren’t keen to discuss the more controversial aspects of British heritage in many Commonwealth countries. In the Caribbean, in particular, the Commonwealth is increasingly characterized by fragmentation, not unity.
Contest organizers stress that the event is a “people’s pageant”, focusing on how ordinary people are connected “through time, to each other and to the Queen”.
It’s a bond that Chhabra feels deeply in her own family. He says the Queen is a symbol of continuity that unites his mother’s generation with that of his young daughter, regardless of the time and distance that separates them.
“When I look at my mother’s founding story, she was 9 years old when the Queen came to Fiji on her tour of the South Pacific in 1953. You know, she and all her school friends were waving flags to welcome him,” he said. “It’s a thrilling story that she brought with her from Fiji to London in the 1960s.”
Her 9-year-old daughter will take part in Sunday’s competition – an event that will become her story to tell future generations.
“In a world where things are very temporary and polarized, I think there’s little that brings us together,” Chhabra said.
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