not every day that legends like Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber drop in to say
'hello' to Indian mediapersons. After all, his name is synonymous with
some of the most successful musical productions of all times. It's even
rarer that a composer-producer of his stature has decided to make India
-- Bollywood, to be more precise -- the theme of his next production.
then all this wouldn't have happened if he hadn't met our own Shekhar
Kapur about 18 months back. Or, if he hadn't heard A R Rahman's score
for Mani Ratnam's Dil Se. So impressed was he with Chaiyya chaiyya --
the song, the choreography, the visualisation -- that Sir Webber asked
Kapur to introduce him to Rahman.
three extremely talented people decided to come together. The result:
Bombay Dreams, a musical in the wings. Its script is yet to be
finalised, its search for the cast yet to be launched -- but there's no
doubting the fact that the combination promises to be worth looking out
for. Incidentally, Rahman is the first composer to be invited by Webber
to work in a musical. Bombay Dreams will have Webber as the producer and
Kapur as the collaborator.
was the setting for the press conference held in Bombay on March 7. The
initially bare room was choc-a-bloc with reporters and lensmen by the
time the threesome made an appearance. They made quite a picture:
Webber, formal in a blue shirt and light suit, Kapur was casual in pair
of black Versace jeans and a blazer while Rahman donned an Indian silk
jacket with his jeans.
from the beginning, the suave and charming Kapur took charge. He
introduced his two friends, heaping accolades on both and talking about
his own future plans which include the filming of Phantom Of The Opera.
Antonio Banderas is to be the male lead in the film while the hunt is on
for "a stunning looking girl," we were told.
of course, he spoke about Webber's achievements -- that his Phantom has
grossed over $3 million worldwide (which is more than the earnings of
Titanic), that some of his productions have been running at various
places for years -- and also about his fascination with Indian films and
music (Talvin Singh is another Indian musician Webber simply adores).
limelight then shifted to Lloyd who spoke at length about Rahman and his
breathtaking brand of music. He is here to get a taste and feel of
Bombay, he said, which he can then present to the world in all its glory
and totality. Webber plans to cram in as many sights and sounds
possible, in his rushed stay in the city. His itinerary also includes
checking out the Indian versions of Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar!
Webber already got a taste of what's hot in Bollywood when he went with
Kapur to see the superhit, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai.
to Webber, the world is ready to view and perceive Indian culture.
Bombay Dreams is essentially going to be about Bollywood and the way it
works. Both Kapur and Webber assured that justice will be done to the
subject and that it will not be reduced to a mockery of the Indian film
industry. Also, Kapur is trying to persuade Webber to premier it the
musical in Bombay, costs permitting.
it's in a preliminary stage right now ("since it's about Bollywood,
we wanted to announce it in Bombay," explained Kapur), Webber did
talk about Bombay Dreams. It will have a very strong male protagonist
and a worldwide audition for the perfect cast will soon be underway.
Unfortunately, Shah Rukh Khan, who danced to Chaiyya chaiyya is just one
of the superstars who will be overlooked because it has to be
"someone who can sing well on stage."
it was the turn of the reticent Rahman -- the man who catapults into the
international arena with Bombay Dreams -- to say a few words. The shy
composer, who prefers to let his music speak for him, was sitting
quietly all this while, his face breaking into a slightly-embarrassed
smile every time Kapur and Webber applauded his genius. But he did
speak. He said he had completed all his commitments in India so that he
could work on this musical in the next six months to come. When asked if
he was shifting base, he said he would shuttle between Bombay, Madras
and London to complete his various engagements.
press conference came to an end with the three men promising they will
be back soon. For now, they intend to work hard, till Bombay Dreams
becomes a reality.
Saha - photographs by Jewella C Miranda