Entertainment News

Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ musical gears up for its launch with an ‘Indian touch’

The musical will be premiered in Mumbai in April 2018.

The stage at Sofitel Hotel in Mumbai was lit up with colourful lights as two performers beautifully recreated American composer Alan Menken’s A Whole New World at a press event on Tuesday.

After the successful staging of the Beauty and the Beast musical in 2015, Disney, along with licence partner BookMyShow, will be premiering India’s first Aladdin musical in Mumbai in April. The musical will also have seasons in Delhi and Hyderabad through the course of the year.

Theatre actors Siddharth Menon and Taaruk Raina will play Aladdin, while musical theatre artiste Kira Narayanan will play Jasmine. Popular radio jockey and television personality Mantra will be playing the role genie. “We did Beauty and the Beast in 2015 and at that time it was a big bet,” Abhishek Maheshwari, the India head of Disney, told Scroll.in. “We weren’t sure of the supply side of things and also the demand. But we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of talent. What really blew us off was the demand side. That gave us the confidence to try and bring more of these experiences here.”

The makers of the musical explained that the story of Aladdin was a natural fit for the stage, particularly for Indian audiences. “Aladdin is a very well know story,” Maheswari said. “In this art form, it helps if the audience knows the story. The reason people watch it over and over again is because of the storytelling. It is the experience that surrounds it.”

The musical will also carry an Indian touch without losing the essence of the original, Maheshwari assured. “It is not to say that Indian audience cannot enjoy a Broadway musical,” he said. “They absolutely can. The idea is to tell the same story in a way in which Indian audiences can relate to it. Some of those are really the surprise elements of the show. Indianising does not mean that we are lowering the standards or that we are producing something cheap and cheerful.”

Many members from the creative team of the Beauty and the Beast musical were retained for Aladdin, the makers added. “They [the crew] understood what a Broadway-style musical of this scale means,” Maheshwari said. “That is really the one that helped us propel Aladdin.”

Ashish Hemrajani, the co-founder and CEO of BookMyShow, said that India fits the bill for musicals because of the country’s fondness for music. “India is a very musical country,” Hemrajani said at the event. “Look at our films, they are filled with music. And Indians love listening to music. But the audience is also becoming very discerning. They understand this format a lot more. We saw the success in Beauty and the Beast.”

Actors at the press event. Image credit: Sruthi Ganapathy Raman.
Actors at the press event. Image credit: Sruthi Ganapathy Raman.
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.