Filmmaker Aditya Chopra is all set to make his directorial debut on Broadway with Come Fall In Love – The DDLJ Musical, inspired by Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Produced by Yash Raj Films, the musical stars Austin Colby and Shoba Narayan, and Shah Rukh Khan casting a British actor in the iconic role did not go down well with some fans. Read also: When Kajol revealed that DDLJ director Aditya Chopra was ‘so disappointed’ with her about a scene
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released in 1995 and launched Shah Rukh into superstardom. This gave Shahrukh his romantic hero image that he created over the next two decades. The film was directed by Aditya Chopra and starred Farida Jalal, Kajol, Amrish Puri, Parmeet Sethi, Mandira Bedi and Anupam Kher. Shah Rukh’s character Raj is considered one of the most iconic romantic heroes in the history of Indian cinema.
Austin will play the lead role of Rogue Mandel. In the original film, which was released in 1995, Shah Rukh Khan played the lead role and his character’s name was Raj. Earlier this month, Austin announced the news on his Instagram handle and wrote, “A few months back, I had never heard of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) film or its global impact. Had to go. I’m amazed by this beautiful love story, celebrating Bollywood film in the best possible way. And now, Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical’s original director, workshop under Aditya Chopra, and take Bollywood to Broadway Trusted in the role of Raj (now Rog) to bring about a reimagined, inclusive cultural experience, undoubtedly the biggest honor in my career. I hope I have made you proud, @iamsrk.”
While Austin is hoping to make Shah Rukh proud with his take on Raaz (sorry, rogue), fans of the actor are not too happy. Writer Aseem Chhabra tweeted, “But what’s the point of watching DDLJ, a stage musical without @iamsrk and @itsKajolD?” Others were more acrimonious in their assessment. One fan tweeted, “DDLJ Music on Broadway, I hope you get ratcheted, I hope you live in development hell, I hope you realize no white man will ever be Shah Rukh.” Another tweet read, “Totally unacceptable for a white man to play Raj Malhotra in a DDLJ musical.”
Meanwhile, Simran – both her character and actor – remains Indian. Shoba will play the role of Simran which was originally played by Kajol. The actor made his Broadway debut with 1812’s Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet. She has also appeared in Growing Up Smith, Quantico, Halal in the Family; Gossip Girl, Coin Heist and Mistress America. The musical stars Irwin Iqbal as Baldev (originally played by Amrish Puri), Roopal Pujara as Lajjo (originally played by Farida Jalal), and Vishal Vaidya as Ajit (originally played by Satish Shah). .
Interestingly, Aditya Chopra initially conceptualized DDLJ with a white man. He had revealed in an interview years ago that he initially wanted to make Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
Based on an origin story by Aditya Chopra, the musical will feature lyrics by Laurence Olivier Award-winner Nell Benjamin of Legally Blonde and Mean Girls fame. Music director duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani will give the music, while Emmy winner Rob Ashford will choreograph with associate choreographer Shruti Merchant. Shruti is the younger sister of choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant.
According to the official website, the musical will have its world premiere at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. The musical begins performances from September 1 to October 16, 2022, with an official opening on September 14.