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Want more musicals in India? Time to work on training, infrastructure

Saturday - July 7, 2018 2:24 pm , Category : ART & LITERATURE
New Delhi July 7 (IANS) Shruti Sharma is pleased to narrate the classic tale of "Aladdin" with a desi twist through Disney India s Broadway-style musical and feels India is a treasure trove of many stories which can be translated in live musicals. But there are some hiccups.
"Live entertainment has been around in India for very long. Now big productions are coming in. There are multiple challenges and I think over the years we will slowly overcome them because I see ourselves to be at the starting point of a rising curve " Shruti told IANS while taking a break from rehearsals for her big scale Broadway-style musical based on "Aladdin".
She takes one through some of the challenges glaring at the booming live entertainment scene in India.
"The kind of shows we are doing now especially like Aladdin ...It is a live singing show. Actors are not only acting and dancing but they are also singing. They are singing music which is at par with what people are doing at the Broadway.
"They have to be very well-trained. So that kind of training needs to be pushed in our country. There may be performers who like to sing but never pursued it because there was no window to do both acting and singing. So we need to encourage to develop all skills."
Stressing on the need for infrastructure Shruti said: "With Aladdin we are travelling to different cities. But every time (we go to different city) the scale changes a little bit.
"It is a hand in hand situation where there will be more shows there will be more theatres. And if there will be more theatres there will be more shows... So infrastructure and talent needs to be developed. It is a slow process but it is happening."
According to Shruti there s a plethora of stories in India waiting to be brought alive on the big stage with a throbbing vein of music.
"There is so much in the Indian diaspora that can be put up. We have all our stories -- whether it is Rabindranath Tagore s short stories or our folk tales or fables like Panchtantra or the Vikram Aur Betaal story - they all will make for lovely musicals."
Shruti has worked on Disney India s "Beauty And The Beast" musical as well as large-scale productions like Jhumroo and Zangoora. But she has directed a project for the first time.
"Aladdin"-- produced by BookMyShow -- has been reimagined for the Indian stage with around 50 performers including Siddharth Menon (Aladdin) Kira Narayanan (Jasmine) Mantra (Genie) and Vikrant Chaturvedi (Jafar).
It is complete with songs such as "Friend like me" and "A whole new world" celebrating the love between Aladdin and Jasmine and of his friendship with Genie.
The show premiered in Mumbai back in April and then travelled to Delhi where it will be staged till July 15. It will then head to Hyderabad.
Looking back at the process of adding an Indian twist to the show Shruti said: "When I read the script I realised that the title which is very close to our heart seemed very western. The punch lines were western the whole way it was treated was slightly western so I wanted it to have a certain connect when it comes to India.
"And that is why I thought I must localise it and make the show our own instead of borrowing it from somewhere."
But in the end "Aladdin" is a story of an underdog which whisks people away from drudgery of day-to-day life.
"There is an underdog who becomes a hero. A boy who gets beaten down in life but decides to struggle. He has the hope positivity and the optimism. Then there is romance between Aladdin and Jasmine...
"These things allow us to forget about the drudgery of our lives and be in this wishful land for a few hours " she signed off.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)

--IANS sug/rb/vm