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Trump, Mallya, Kejriwal: Indian Aladdin entertains with its jibes galore

Sunday - July 8, 2018 12:56 pm , Category : ART & LITERATURE
New Delhi July 8 (IANS) Why is Genie ready to bring two magic carpets for Aladdin?
When in Delhi do as the Delhiites do -- follow the odd-even quips Genie in the Broadway-style musical adaptation of the classic Disney tale of "Aladdin".
In telling the romantic and magical story of Aladdin Jasmine and Genie this "desi" musical makes subtle but comedic statements leaving the audience not just enraptured by the beauty of the stage production but also making them laugh out loud about life s simple realities. The Delhiite swipe was at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal s odd-even scheme for private vehicles in the city.
A part English-part Hindi musical the story -- as in Disney s original 1992 animated fantasy film - "Aladdin" shows how a street urchin described as a "diamond in the rough" manages to get hold of a magic lamp from which emerges a genie who helps him woo Princess Jasmine.
It is only when the Genie appears in the Indian musical that you hear dialogues in Hindi.
"Which language are you talking in?" Aladdin asks the Genie.
Genie has a ready reply as he apes an accent in a viral online video: "Hindi nahi aati (you don t know Hindi)? You South Delhi types Bhaiyyaji."
When Aladdin asks him: "You stay in this chirag (the magic lamp)?" Genie says "No I stay in Karol Bagh."
Genie essayed brilliantly by the multi-talented actor Mantra in the hope of freedom once wonders: "I will also get freedom. I will also do a 9 to 5 job. I will also get stuck in the Noida-Gurgaon traffic. Wow."
At another point when Genie finds out that his new-found "Aaka" is named Aladdin he comments: "You could have kept some normal name. What is this Aladdin? You could have called yourself Ricky Mickey Shonald Donald."
Aladdin promptly says: "Nahi nahi bhai Donald nahi. Iss duniya mein is waqt ek hi Donald bahut hai (No no only one Donald is enough in this world right now)" in a jibe at US President Donald Trump.
The musical also points its barbs at liquor baron Vijay Mallya who is absconding after a bank fraud case.
"Maal-liya (taking the loot) aur Vijay gaya (Vijay has gone) " says the Genie.
On being prodded by Aladdin about what he meant Genie said: "Matlab kuch logon ko samajh aa gaya (Some people have understood it)."
"Aladdin" also makes a statement or two about women and their freedom of choice.
Princess Jasmine troubled by her father s constant agony over how she keeps turning down suitors for marriage wonders what s wrong about a girl not being married. And a character comments: "Talk about being in a fairytale."
And when Genie tells Aladdin that well he is a genie he gets to hear: "Genies are a myth... Like happy marriages."
It is these moments that elicit laughter and contemplation in a show which also holds the audience s attention with its colourful costumes multiple sets props and performances -- and also makes you realise why everyone in the country s entertainment industry keeps saying "India s got talent".
Siddharth Menon as Aladdin Kira Narayanan as Jasmine Vikrant Chaturvedi as Jafar Dhruv Lohumi as Lago and Deven Khote as Sultan as well as the immediate supporting cast make a mark as they sing act and dance live for a two-hour show in a format that is new to the live entertainment scene in India.
Disney earlier brought a "Beauty & The Beast" adaptation which was better in production values and perhaps larger in scale than "Aladdin". But all in all these experiences are leaving the audience asking for more.
"Aladdin" produced by BookMyShow and directed by Shruti Sharma is playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here till July 15.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

--IANS rb/sug/hs