Indian cinema is successful enough to be able to be taken to Broadway

Shefali Saxena Monday 14th November 2022 09:34 EST

Celebrated music composer duo Salim-Sulaiman Merchant has reimagined the songs from the original 1982 hit Disco Dancer. They are working with Saregama on their current production, Disco Dancer: The Musical. In an exclusive Q&A with Asian Voice, they spoke about musicals. 

What makes musicals still so relevant? 

Salim:  Well, the fact that India is always making every second film is a musical, that every film is almost a musical, they got bought, they all have song and dance, it is very relevant to have, musical on Broadway or investment. And the way the screenplay, and the story is all weaved around the music, or vice versa, it makes things very simple to actually put this you know, these stories and these this piece of music and lyrics and choreography, onstage life.

As music composers, what kind of responsibility rests on you, when it comes to reimagining classics like Disco Dancer?

Sulaiman:  The most important thing is to keep the originality of the music intact because the songs are so popular. And they're being heard all over the world, not just in India, you have to make sure that you try and keep the authenticity of the songs alive. Besides that, it's also very important to be able to have these songs around the theatre, and theatrical production. So you have to be able to give space for the actors to breathe. You have to give them a little time to recuperate from the dancing and change of costume. So there are a lot of different elements that go into a theatrical production. But most important thing is to keep the authenticity of the songs alive because that is something you know, people have heard this song a zillion times people have heard these songs a zillion times. And you don't want to take that joy away from them.

Do you think India has made enough musicals?

Salim:  I think India has made you know enough too. There is obviously an appetite for more movies because there are so many films and so many stories that can be told on stage and on, you know, as a musical. I feel we've done well in the last decade, but we could do much better.

Aditya Chopra recently took DDLJ to Broadway. What does that mean for Indian cinema?

Sulaiman:  Well, it just means that Indian cinema is successful enough to be able to be taken to Broadway. And we would love to see more films being converted into Broadway material. And we have so many different stories to tell and so many big firms with great songs that can be converted into a musical. And hopefully, we should be doing some of those in the next few years.

What are your favourite musicals across the globe?

Salim: My all-time favourite is Phantom of the Opera. It has a lot of drama. It has a lot of incredible music and choreography. I love wicked. I really like it a lot. I liked Chicago a lot. There are so many more I just like my fair lady was was fantastic. I loved Starlight Express, especially because the entire musical is on rollerskates and it's really fabulous.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter