Bollywood on Broadway: Bombay Dreams
Glitzy costumes and sets and a beguiling score dress up this
musical's familiar story. Like its inspiration the Bollywood
film musical, Bombay Dreams relates an oft-told tale.
This one of a star-struck spunky young guy from the slums who,
against all odds, makes it big in the movies and comes to the
realization that all the trappings of fame are merely phony
adornments. Despite its trite tale, the show is a feast for
the eyes and a family treat.
First produced in London by Andrew
Lloyd Webber, "Bombay
Dreams" has been revised for Broadway. Gifted composer,
A. R. Rahman, has added several new tunes (including a rap
song for the New York) and Thomas Meehan ("Producers," "Hairspray")
has tweaked the book for local audiences.
In a nutshell: Akaash (Manu Narayan),
who lives in a slum called "Paradise," dreams of making it big so he
can buy the land the slum sits on and save it from greedy developers.
Through big Bollywood coincidences, he gets his break in the
movies, only to abandon his dear old granny (Madhur Jaffrey)
and his best friend, a big-hearted eunuch, "Sweetie," (Sriram
While Akaash embraces the typical
movie idol's empty lifestyle and his screen leading lady,
Rani, the excellent Ayehsa Dharker, the slum appears doomed.
At last, Akaash proclaims his solidarity to the poor, foils
the bad guy lawyer, who turns out to be the fiancée
of his true love, the socially conscious Priya (Anisha Nagarajan).
Although the cast are all accomplished singers, the leads
aren't masters of the distinctive fluttering Indian vocal style.
However, this does not mar the performance for the show is
styled to Western tastes.
The story is woven together by graceful
and spirited dance numbers, including one, "Shakalaka Baby," with
a splashing fountain, a Bollywood movie staple. Collaborating
choreographers are Anthony Van Laast and Farah Kahn. The show
can be praised both for bringing a bit of Bollywood ballyhoo
to Broadway and for bringing a happy experience to the audience.#
Broadway Theater, 1601 Broadway at 53rd St. $40-$100.