The first broadway musical was a “happy accident” in 1866. The first Bollywood movie released in 1913. A century later, the two entertainment worlds will finally collide.
Aditya Chopra, who helms one of India’s largest film studios, Yash Raj Films (YRF), made his directorial debut in 1995 with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (the braveheart will get the bride), usually known as DDLJ, and featuring superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. On Oct. 23, YRF announced Come Fall In Love—The DDLJ Musical, making it the first ever Bollywood movie to get a second lease of life on the Broadway stage.
It will open during the 2022-23 season after a world premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater in September 2022.
The DDLJ craze
The movie is a romantic comedy centered around Simran, a young woman of Indian origin who is brought up in a conservative household in London, and is arranged to be married to a family friend from India. She convinces her strict father to let her have a summer adventure in Europe first, where she meets and falls in love with Raj, also a Londoner of Indian origin. Family drama ensues.
Adjusted for inflation, DDLJ‘s box office earnings are more than 524 crore rupees ($68 million). Barring unavoidable breaks because of the pandemic, DDLJ has been running in one Mumbai cinema, Maratha Mandir, for 26 years straight. It is a cult classic, with everything from its fashion to its soundtrack still relevant today.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, which was actually last year, the makers are looking to re-release the movie all over the world, including the Gulf, USA, South Africa, and UK.
DDLJ on Broadway
The English-language Broadway version, which is being produced by YRF, will restore Chopra’s “original vision of the story of DDLJ,” to feature “a love story of two cultures…two worlds.” The lead pair will be an Indian woman and an American man (who’s not of Indian origin), and a global casting search is currently under way.
The musical’s crew will feature global talent, too, with top musicians, choreographers, designers, and producers drawn from Europe, the US, and India.
Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani, who’ve been creating music for Bollywood movies since 1994, are the composers, and the lyrics will be penned by Nell Benjamin, who’s written for Legally Blonde and Mean Girls. Rob Ashford, of Frozen fame, will choreograph with Shruti Merchant, who choreographed Broadway show Taj Express alongside her sister, Vaibhavi Merchant.
The show will also feature Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge!, Hairspray Live!) on scenic design, and Bill Sherman (In The Heights, Hamilton) on music supervision.
Adam Zotovich, who has productions like The Color Purple and Dear Evan Hansen under his belt, is an executive producer. “It’s a dream come true to bring the best of India’s Bollywood tradition to the Broadway stage,” he said. “Both cultures feature rich tapestries and ingenious storytelling for multi-generational audiences. I can’t wait for Broadway to experience this joyous new musical.”