Aditya Chopra is adapting his blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge as a Broadway musical. Titled Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical, the stage show will be produced by Chopra’s banner, Yash Raj Films.

The musical is based on an original story by Chopra, which he described in a press release as “a love story of an American boy and an Indian girl, a love story of two cultures…two worlds”. Come Fall in Love is scheduled to be premiered at Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in September 2022, followed by a run on Broadway in New York City through 2022 and 2023. Casting for the musical will begin soon, according to the press statement.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge marked Chopra’s debut as a director. Released in 1995 (and still running in a single show at the Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai), the movie stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as lovers who are kept apart by family restrictions but reunited by their ardour.

The original music, which remains popular, was by Jatin-Lalit. The musical will have book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, whose credits include the stage adaptations of Legally Blonde and Mean Girls. Vishal- Shekhar will compose the music for Come Fall in Love. Rob Ashford (Frozen, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Boys from Syracuse) will serve as the chief choreographer.

The reclusive Chopra issued a lengthy note about the reasons for making the musical. Here are some excerpts.

“Summer 1985. I was 14 and on a holiday in London. My parents took my brother and me for our first musical theatre experience. The lights dimmed, the curtains lifted and what unfolded in the next 3 hours left me speechless and stunned. Now, till then, I was a kid who was an avid movie watcher and what I loved the most was big screen Indian blockbusters. 

But that day what I saw on stage blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that this kind of spectacle could be created live on stage. But the most significant aspect that resonated with me was how similar musical theatre was to our Indian films. It was just not the fact that both use songs to tell the story, it was much more than that, it was the feeling they evoked which was exactly the same. 

The burst of colours, the heightened drama, the passionate singing, the unabashed dancing, a classic story, a happy end. It filled me with the same joy and emotions that a good Indian film does. I realised then, that worlds apart, languages apart, western musical theatre and Indian films are two long lost lovers separated in time. 

Autumn 2021… I’m embarking on my most ambitious project till date. I’m reuniting two long lost lovers, Broadway Musical and Indian Films... I’m going back to my original vision of the story of DDLJ, a love story of an American boy and an Indian girl, a love story of two cultures…two worlds. But this time the medium is not cinema but theatre. 

I’m terribly nervous and incredibly excited. I’m a hardcore cinema guy, I have never done theatre in my life and here I am trying to pull off the craziest ambition of my life. But what is giving me confidence is the fantastic team that I have. Each one of them are masters of their field and their brilliance and expertise is going to make this a fantastic show. 

The past 3 years as we have developed this passion project, I have learnt so much from them and discovered the unbelievable talent that the Broadway community has. I feel 23 again, the same age I was when I directed DDLJ. I’m once again a student, each one of my team members is more experienced than me in the world of theatre, I’m the rookie and I’m loving every moment of it.”

Aditya Chopra. Courtesy Yash Raj Films.

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