An Americanized stage version of the Bollywood favorite Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is in the works, with a creative team comprised of both India- and U.S.-based artists. The musical, titled Come Fall In Love–The DDLJ Musical will make its world premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in September 2022, with eyes on a Broadway transfer later that season.
Aditya Chopra, who wrote and directed the 1995 blockbuster, will helm the stage adaptation. (Chopra is also the chair of Yash Raj Films, named after his father—an industry titan who produced the movie.) Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani—collaborators behind several 21st century Bollywood scores, will compose for the musical; a representative for the production declined to comment whether the show intended to incorporate any of the Jatin and Lalit Pandit numbers from the movie, which became breakout hits in their own right.
Also on board for the Westernized take are some Broadway names: executive producer Adam Zotovich, book writer and lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde, Mean Girls), choreographer Rob Ashford (Frozen, Thoroughly Modern Millie), set designer Derek McLane, and music supervisor Bill Sherman. Shruti Merchant, an India-based artist and producer, will serve as associate choreographer (she hails from a family of dance masters, including her grandfather B. Hiralal and sister Vaibhavi Merchant).
The movie tells the love story of Raj and Simran, two young London-based Indians who fall in love on a train trip across Europe. When Simran’s father hears word, he moves the family to India and arranges a marriage for her. As any romantic dramady would have it, true love eventually wins out.
The show, however, will adjust the plot to what Chopra says is closer to his “original vision of the story,” with Simran now an Indian-American living in Boston. Raj is now billed as Rog; it is unclear whether the character will remain a non-resident Indian.
A global casting search will launch soon, marking another collaboration between Broadway and Bollywood, with Duncan Stewart of Stewart/Whitley Casting and Shanoo Sharma of Yash Raj Films at the helm.
The marriage of Indian film-making and Western stages is not a new concept, with Bombay Dreams (albeit not an adaptation of an actual Bollywood film) running in the West End in 2002 and on Broadway in 2004. A musical version of the 2001 film Monsoon Wedding premiered at Berkeley Rep in 2017. A reworked edition was slated to play the U.K. last year but was scrapped due to the pandemic; an India run and potential international transfers (including in the U.K. and U.S.) were announced last October.