Dear Bollywood, I love you but we need to talk…


Presented by the core team of Dance Masala Bollywood Dance Company, directed by Hot Brown Honey’s Lisa Fa’alafi – ITEM is a powerful contemporary work that challenges the well-established institution of Bollywood. 


ITEM is immersive film/dance/theatre – equal parts a love letter and intervention.


ITEM is a response to the collated letters and interviews of hundreds of women gathered in the past three years of development. The stories and media we consume become part of our stories, and ITEM shares real stories of the Indian diaspora. An unmissable watch.

Watch ITEM's archival recording


I have never felt more seen in a piece of theatre!

I have never felt more seen in a piece of theatre! It was the perfect mixture or commentary, celebration, criticism, joy and love! I actually can not believe I got to watch a show like this in Brisbane. It was incredible and I am so happy your vision got to come to fruition like this! The biggest congratulations to you and the team.
Wishing it wasn’t sold out so I could watch again!

– Norita Lal

So heartbreaking and I had goosebumps

Hi Drea and crew, just wanted to congratulate you on the smashing preview show! Absolutely loved it and could really see the amount of effort you all have put in. My favourite part was the enactment of the song, Channe Ke Khet Main. So heartbreaking and I had
goosebumps! You all should be so proud

– Amritha Sheshadri

Very powerful, very raw

It was very powerful, very raw. I could relate to a lot of things [in the show]. I have used tubes and tubes of ‘Fair and Lovely’. I was brought up in a traditional home and it was very clear that “there were good women and bad women”. So I was brought up as a “good, decent girl” and it took me many years for me to do things that I really wanted to do. Thank you. [The show] was very emotional.

– Deepa Manuel, Romero Centre

Absolutely amazing!

Absolutely amazing tonight Drea!! I can’t stop thinking about it! Some great topics you guys touched on and executed even better. If I wasn’t driving to the coast tomorrow I would’ve come and watched it again.

– Nikki Patel

brought up very Catholic, there are a lot of parallels

Not being indian but brought up very Catholic, there are a lot of parallels as well. I think there are a lot of those parallels that many of us would see in different cultures and different aspects of society too.

– Jo Thomas, Director of MetroArts

Thank you... as a mum with young daughters

I’m Indian, I grew up with Bollywood, the whole work really resonated with me.  I think it will really resonate with a lot of people around that sort of mixed messaging that you get as a young woman, and as you grow up and … feel more confident about who you are, you start to question the things that have been ingrained… I just wanted to say thank you, I thought it was really great. I loved [and recognised] all the music! …  As a mum with young daughters, [pop culture messaging] is something I’m really thinking about at the moment.

I have a lot of ethnic friends … I think you’ll find a lot of people who will relate to this [show] of different backgrounds

– Dr Mellissa Naidoo,  Board Director of MetroArts & Multicultural Australia

great use of multimedia for story telling, and really entertaining and great humour.

I really enjoyed it!! I liked the portrayal of the concepts and themes in Bollywood you explored, the sexism and obsession with fairness. Such great use of multimedia for story telling, and really entertaining and great humour. Creative score with the kathak section and very effective 🙂 you’re incredible to create such a production. Very unique and original, and super relatable to a contemporary audience! Kudos to you – you should take the production interstate 🙂 The dancers did a fantastic job!

– Dr Helena Joshi, Director of Infinity Kathak

the juxtaposition was a good confusion to be in

I felt guilty for enjoying it when you did all your dancing and singing, and then looking at what it [meant on the projection]. Oh my god! But it’s so joyful! So it’s nice to see that juxtaposition between “Oh my god, I’m loving what you’re doing” but I’m listening and seeing what it [means], it’s a good confusion to be in.

– Linden Tierney, Head of Philanthropy and Fundraising at MetroArts

the most inspiring and courageous thing I could possibly have had the privilege to see.

The conservative climate to make political work right now makes ITEM the most inspiring and courageous thing I could possibly have had the privilege to see. I’m so incredibly moved and not even a little bit surprised by your ability to distill your intelligence and experience to make art like this but nonetheless BLOWN AWAY! It was so incredibly moving. And finally, gosh, that multimedia approach was so perfect for capturing such complexity and your videography skills are mad! Thank you for sharing that with us! 

– Ilana Tulloch

Can you be a feminist and love bollywood?

I really enjoyed when the four of you were questioning “can you be a feminist and love Bollywood”. And I loved when you started to dissect the songs and the movements and you started going “uh… and uh [oh]”… Born and brought up Catholic [I related]

– Nerida Waters, Director of Common People Dance Project


“Dance Masala Bollywood Dance Company’s take on this Indian storytelling genre is new, exciting and boldly told in a tight 60 minutes” Blue Curtains

“ITEM … manage[s] to explore serious topics in a humorous and heartfelt way… enlightens us to the Asian-Australian feminist experience and cultural history, using a vibrant, pumping heart of fabulous dancing and passionate storytelling that is uplifting and inspiring… I hope a Brisbane Festival redux is possible.” Stage Whispers

“Combining dance, theatre, video, and spoken word, ITEM covers significant ground and finds impressive depth in only 60 minutes, snapping from one key theme to the next but leaving nothing unfinished… ITEM spoke to our complicated relationship with media, especially those that we have a nostalgic connection to, and how we can continue to love them while also untangling the harm they can cause.” Backstreet Brisbane

“Under the sparkly superficiality of glitz, glamour, and gloss, the tropes and trite storylines employed in Bollywood were and still are gateways into subject matter rife with hard-hitting themes. It was the ingenuity of creator and choreographer, Andrea Lam and director Lisa Fa’ alafi to have packaged and presented ITEM in the multidisciplinary manner they did. As a South Asian woman, who had personally chosen to turn her back on Bollywood a long time ago precisely because it sold unattainable and unidentifiable ideals to me, I genuinely enjoyed the clever collective approach adopted by the team behind ITEM to entertain and gently instigate the audience to consider the unsavoury, indigestible aspects of Bollywood material through humour, satire, acting, storytelling, dance, and heartfelt interviews.” Nothing Ever Happens in Brisbane