HomeIndian AmericanLong-running Bollywood film makes debut on U.S. stage

Long-running Bollywood film makes debut on U.S. stage

After much anticipation, Indian director Aditya Chopra debuted his Bollywood musical Come Fall in Love – The Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) Musical in San Diego at The Old Globe Theatre on Sep. 14. 

The production includes a diverse cast of 17 out of 30 actors from the South Asian and Indian American communities.

The show’s synopsis on The Old Globe Theatre‘s website is as follows: “Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is the story of Simran, a young Indian American woman whose future is set: an arranged marriage back in India to a family friend. But when she convinces her very strict dad that she should spend a summer of freedom and fun in Europe, she falls for the charming Rog, and her careful, logical plans go out the window. Can she be true to both her heritage and her heart? Can carefree American Rog win over her traditional father? Take a whirlwind trip from Boston to Europe to India as cultures collide in the stage musical adaptation of the beloved hit romantic-comedy film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, set to the exuberant beat of all-new songs created for the stage.” 

Come Fall in Love is adapted from Aditya Chopra’s musical film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, originally released in India on Oct. 25, 1995, by Yash Raj Films in Punjabi and Urdu, according to IMBD

The film is Bollywood’s longest-running film, CNN reports and was just recently adapted into a show to be performed in front of a Western audience.

Actress Shoba Narayan, who plays Simran, expressed her delight in being able to represent her culture. 

“It’s a great moment of pride to see our Indian culture celebrated and represented so authentically on the world’s biggest stage. This is something I’ve spent my life and career fighting for. I feel so much pride for this big moment for India,” shared Narayan with Yahoo Finance. “We are here. We are seen. It was only a matter of time before Broadway and Bollywood found each other and I am honored to be at the helm of this moment.”

Actress Rupal Pujara, who plays Simran’s mother onstage praised Chopra for pursuing his dream and explained how the show would elevate South Asian experiences. 

“I am so grateful to Aditya Chopra for pursuing his long-awaited dream of adapting DDLJ for the stage. Come Fall In Love is updating the beloved classic, DDLJ, by expanding the narrative of its female characters [and] is a step forward for South Asian women [by making] space for more [South Asian] stories to be seen by larger audiences,” Pujara told News18.

The musical show has 18 original English songs and is a pioneer in diversity for stage shows with an inclusive team from every department, ranging from cast to technicians. 

The musical focuses on cultural unification in a growingly diverse and toxic world, all while celebrating how love can unify people, cultures and break down barriers, News18 reports.

“Why would we not ensure that our theatres reflect this demographic and see that musicals proportionately cast South Asian actors [w]hen the South Asian community is one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the U.S.? It’s increasingly clear that audiences are becoming more diverse and expect to see themselves reflected on our stages,” actor Irvine Iqbal, who plays Simran’s father, Baldev, told News18

He went on to discuss the reasoning behind South Asian Americans being underrepresented in Broadway shows. 

“The collective frustration of the American South Asian talent out there comes from not being able to have a meeting or audition to showcase their talents. We are either overlooked, ignored or simply invisible to many with the ability to affect change,” Baldev shared. 

The two-hour and 40-minute show began its performances on Sep. 1, with its official opening on Sep. 14, and has been extended to be produced a week longer than projected, due to its popularity, until Oct. 23. 

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