US stage musical reframes the iconic movie as the love story of an Indian American woman and a white American man
Those from the Generation X, who grew up in India during the 1990s, would know what a phenomenon Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer movie ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ or ‘DDLJ’ entailed.
Now for many of those Gen Xers living in or visiting the US, here is a chance to relive and retell those moments to their kids in an all new avatar. Come Fall in Love — The DDLJ Musical, just debuted on Broadway.
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Creative teams from India and the US collaborated on this new musical which has been produced on Broadway by Yash Raj Films.
Starring Shoba Narayan, the Indian American lead who plays Simran and American actor Austin Colby, playing Rog the US stage musical reminisces the iconic 90’s era movie.
For the musical, the lyrics have been given by Nell Benjamin who also wrote the screen-to-stage adaptations of ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Mean Girls.’
Tony and Emmy winner Rob Ashford of ‘Frozen’ fame has choreographed with associate choreographer Shruti Merchant. The design team includes a set design by Emmy and Tony Award winner Derek McLane.
Desis who are nostalgic about the movie and its cult music may be relieved to know that the music is by Indian composer duo Vishal and Shekhar.
While Chopra himself is behind the musical, lending it credence that the stage representation would preserve the originality of the movie, many desi fans have already been expressing outrage about a white man playing Raj or Rog as he is called in the musical. Many are calling it a white washing as well as cultural appropriation of sorts.
Introducing a white guy as a lead actor instead of retaining the original storyline featuring an Indian boy living abroad, hasn’t gone down well with many.
While the makers may have aimed at bringing a more global interest to the story, in a day and time when South Asian American actors are not a rarity anymore in American entertainment, the need for an American lead may seem unnecessary.
Read: Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical (October 22, 2021)
So, will the musical based on the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema capture the imaginations of audiences in the same manner is something that only time will tell.
Until then, if you wish, you can catch The DDLJ Musical on currently at the Old Globe theater in San Diego until Oct 16.