Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bombay Dreams - Musical Stage Play [June 06 8:38 AM]

"Rahman doesn’t even write what’s thought of as world music. He writes a world of music — so broad and deep, so instantly likable and lastingly satisfying,

it is the whole world. I hope that, sometime soon, our part of the world catches up with Rahman. Until we do, an important part of our internal juke box will

be bereft." --Richard Corliss, Time Magazine.


Friday evening.

June-02-2006. Time 6.30pm.
Tickets are reserved for the stage play Bombay Dreams.
They call it "Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams".
I call it "A R Rahman's ...". Fans of Indian movies need no introduction to Rahman.


As usual everyone except Arun was all set.
Finally he joined us in last seconds.
Mr.& Mrs.Aaraj, Arun and myself in Aaraj's BMW.
Harsha and Bharatan in Harsha's Acura.
We reached the auditorium "Theatre Under The Stars" in downtown.


Arun asked me if that was my first time to see downtown.
I have seen it before from inside car but never got down there.
Aaraj said "This is the center of the city. Old place. City is spread around this."
I said "Ok I got it. So this is the KalasiPalya of Houston."
That was the hit joke of the moment.
FYI, KalasiPalya is the old, clumsy, dirty, smelly, busy market area of Bengulooru (Bangalore).
Bangalore is the center for all of us, we came to Houston from Bangalore.
So everyone knew what Kalasipalya is, so my comment was a big Joke.


I was all excited about the show. Was that excitement?
Yes, but I was more curious than excited. How is it going to be?
I feebly remember those street-dramas played in my village when I was a small kid.
Without any idea I watched a few stage plays.
By the songs sung in one of the plays I could now figure out it was NartanaSaala.
Those plays disappeared soon.
Now I am going to watch this play.
I know that I am not qualified to write a review.
As a naive but interested audience who has got the genes to enjoy the art, it is an expression of the bliss.


I have listened to BombayDreams audio so many times. I like a few tracks.
Particularly, the wedding Qawwali "Sona sonaa.." haunts.
I have had listened to it repeatedly in a loop for hours together.
Well, I listened to it one more time just before we started at home.


We collected the tickets and a brochure.
It had the details of the play.
Still 40 minutes time for the show to begin.
I read the brochure thoroughly.
It is divided into two acts. A ten minutes gap in between.
Dutarion was almost 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Story line is described scene by scene.
What are the scenes, which song in what scene etc was found in that.
Now I got an idea how this is going to be.
I read about the cast. Most of them are well educated.
They are young and specialized in the art of theatre.
They have traveled a lot of places.


We are inside the theatre.
At first look, I felt the stage was very small.
First scene: A slum area in Bombay (Mumbai). Real one.
It's a replica of any slum area presented on the stage (small one? No.)
A dozen slum people appeared doing their daily routine works.
A woman selling something, an old woman separating stones from rice, young boys moving around, coolies, hamalees, what not, it is a slum area alive before my

Their dress, body language, expressions, attitude...everything is presented in the first scene in just less than a minute.
I am impressed. I can now enjoy the rest of the play.
I could easily follow it coz I know the play scene by scene.


Without wasting a second, the way they changed the settings, scenes, costumes etc was amazing.
Street scene is over. Next is a movie set and film shooting scene.
Blink of an eye. It’s ready. Actors are there uttering their dialogues.
Superb organization. Flawless synchronization among the performers.


Lighting effects!? Wonderful.
There must be a psychology-study and engineering behind it.
Not only music; proper lighting effects for the intensity of each scene enhanced the performance of the artists.


After a terrific dance sequence, as I was mesmerized, I heard claps all over the auditorium.
The next moment I realized that I am not watching a movie. Its a stage play.
Claps are the food for artists. Applause from the audience makes them perform their best.
From then on I did not miss cheering when ever there was a heartening act.


Important ingredient of the play was the continuous humor in the form of satire, imitation, sarcasm, retort etc.


All the actors had a perfectly suitable figure.
Lead character of the show Aakash was just like any Mumbai Cinema hero.
(I dont like the word Bollywood, it's an imitation of the word Hollywood. Indian cinema has it's own individuality)
The character Rani who is a happening Mumbai Cinema lead lady (who is very proud of her physique) had a toned body.
Priya (daughter of a film producer and fially Aakaashs' wife in the play) is good looking too. She has a great singing talent too.
Priya's dad Madan appropriately appears with a belly.
Sweetie is apt as a lady-boy.
This word lady-boy is used in the play (Vikram calls him/her like that).
Vikram is very good as a lawyer (with spectacles) and as a realtor-villain (with no spectacles).

All of the actors have got a very good singing capability in addition to dialogue delivery.

My favorite wedding Qawwali is played just before the end of play. They managed it well.
It would be "asking for too much" to expect a voice like Sukhvinders'.

All in all, the show impressed every one.

After the show we had a nice mid-night dinner in Buffalo-wings.
It is famous for chicken-wings fried in oil with spice added in range from light to blazing hot.
I opted to see how blazing it would be. Not much. There were no after effects also.
But there was an after effect of BombayDreams. That is this blog.

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