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Bombay Dreams - Indian Musical By A.R. Rahman

Anil Saigal
04/02/2003

I was on a business trip to London with a Sunday evening to kill. Musicals always interest me and hence I checked out the local ticket agencies for shows playing at Theaters. Lo and Behold to my surprise I find the most popular show is “Bombay Dreams” a creation of our all time favorite Indian composer, A.R.Rehman. It has been running to full houses for over nine months. As I went to the theater I was shocked to see that ninety percent of the audience are not Indian.

Bombay Dreams is the first stage musical by Indian film composer A R Rahman. It was originally the brainchild of the hugely successful musical maker Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Oscar nominated director Shekhar Kapur.

Award winning novelist and actress Meera Syal was drafted in to write the script and Don Black penned the lyrics for the £4.5million production.

The show stars Raza Jaffrey and Preeya Kalidas in the lead roles with a seasoned team of supporting actors and dancers completing the cast.

The whole show was magic from the beginning to end. The script was nothing to write home about, just your usual Bollywood Masala. True love is tested against a backdrop of corruption and shallow movie glamour, as Priya, a wealthy Bollywood director overcomes social constraints to marry poor hero, Akaash. But the music of A. R. Rehman combined with an extremely talented cast and crew and exceptional choreography makes this a musical to remember. Rahman's riffs, Westernised ragas and thumping, rhythmically shifting chorales, with beautiful little vocal variations and wrenching key changes is continuously beguiling.

The dance by the fountain to Shakalaka Baby and Chaiyya Chaiyya had everyone tapping their feet. Anthony Van Laast's choreography is energetic. With lavish sets, superb acting especially by the lead role players and Dilip Tahil , this show brings an Indian musical to mainstream London audiences.The musical is worth seeing and is yet another special feather on A.R.Rehman’s cap.



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