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Disney to bring Alladin to India; BookMyShow turns producer for Broadway show

After mesmerising Indian audiences with India’s first-ever Broadway-style musical – ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – in 2015 and 2016, Disney is back with another Broadway spectacle – ‘Aladdin’. BookMyShow has come aboard as the producer with exclusive rights for the Indian production of this Disney smash hit. The musical will premiere at Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in April 2018 and will also travel to Delhi and Hyderabad. PayPal is the preferred payments partner for the musical. 

‘Aladdin’ has already been staged in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. This time, India will locally produce a completely original, non-replica version of ‘Aladdin - The musical’ with Indian talent. 

Given the high anticipation among audiences for Disney’s ‘Aladdin’, Ashish Hemrajani from BookMyShow, Abhishek Maheshwari & Vikrant Pawar from Disney India unveiled the first look of the musical in Mumbai yesterday (February 27, 2018).  

Ashish Hemrajani, CEO and Founder, BookMyShow, remarked, “The live entertainment standards in India are rapidly catching up with the rest of the world and BookMyShow is proud to have been continuously playing its part in this transformative journey. We are absolutely excited to produce the Indian stage version of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’, which will open its doors to the audiences in just a few months from now. It promises to be an extravagant visual feast, filled with music, joy, and loads of theatrical magic.” 

Abhishek Maheshwari, Country Head, Disney India, added here, “Disney stories are timeless and have a special meaning for everyone in the family. Stories like ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are universal and can engage fans everywhere. In India, we are committed to developing world-class entertainment that families can relate to and become a part of their everyday lives. We partnered with BookMyShow, given their deep understanding of the local audience and their quality of consumer engagement.” 

Featuring a cast of over 50 performers, the Indian production will boast of extravagant sets, lavish costumes, choreographed sequences, special effects and the flying magic carpet. 

“Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ will be re-imagined locally with an all-Indian cast and creative talent. The story of ‘Aladdin’ has universal appeal and is highly popular with the Indian audiences,” said Vikranth Pawar, Head - Live Entertainment & Local Content Studio, Disney India

Commenting on the association, Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director, PayPal India, said, “This iconic production promises to be an enchanting experience for everyone, and we look forward to making the experience even more enjoyable by providing a easy and safe way to purchase tickets online. PayPal is a global leader in digital payments and we are committed to offering a safer and more secure payment experience to Indian consumers domestically and globally.” 

Originally produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the show features music by Tony Award and eight time Oscar winner Alan Menken (‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Newsies’, ‘Sister Act’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Little Mermaid’) and three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (‘Evita’, ‘Aida’). 

At the helm of the Indian production are Shruti Sharma (Director), Shampa Gopikrishna and Bertwin D’Souza (Choreographers), Varsha Jain (Production Designer), Gaviin Miguel (Costume Designer), Dhruv Ghanekar (Music Director) and Suzane D’Mello (Vocal Coach). 

The actors who will bring to life this iconic tale on stage include Siddharth Menon (Aladdin), Taaruk Raina (Aladdin), Kira Narayanan (Jasmine), Mantra (Genie), Roshan Abbas (Jafar) and Vikrant Chaturvedi (Jafar). 

Interacting with the media at the unveiling of the first look, Disney India’s Abhishek Maheshwari and Ashish Hemrajani of BookMyShow shed more light on their association for ‘Alladin’, the expectations and more. 

How did this association come about?
Abhishek Maheshwari: Disney is present in various forms in this country. We have been working with BookMyShow for multiple businesses over the past few years. We are very much impressed because they have a deep understanding of the Indian audiences. So, when it came time for us to decide something for the new musical, we thought of BookMyShow. We are delighted with this association. 

BookMyShow has primarily been an online ticketing platform. How did it decide to turn producer for ‘Alladin’?
Ashish Hemrajani: Actually, we have produced a few shows in the recent years. It eventually allows you to understand the Indian audiences and the consumers’ behaviour. This is a logical transition, where we have been involved with many shows. For us to bring this Broadway-style musical is to re-imagine it for the Indian audiences. 

What about the licensing for this Broadway musical?
Ashish Hemrajani: As producer, one should be able to put all the pieces in the show together. You have the script, the music, the screenplay, the acting and many other activities. There are a lot of efforts that we have to put in for such an amazing production. 

Abhishek Maheshwari: Licensing is a model that allows us to take some marquee properties across the globe and scale it up in different markets. We work with some local partners who understand the audiences and that’s how BookMyShow came in. Havong said that, the show will be Disney’s and so is the script. We have re-imagined the show for the local audiences, keeping in mind the things that will work for the Indian market, based on the understanding of Disney and BookMyShow. BookMyShow is producing the show, while Disney is the guardian of ‘Alladin’. It has the spirit of the original show, but produced locally for local viewers. 

Do you think India is ready for such Broadway-style musicals?
Ashish Hemrajani: India is a very musical country. If you look at our films, there is a lot music in them. Most Indians like listening to music and that is something you can’t take away. I think the audiences have evolved a lot over a period of time and they understand such formats. We had received great response to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and we are hoping to get the same kind of response for ‘Alladin’ as well. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was really a great success and with ‘Alladin’ we will enter cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. 

Given such high stakes for the show, what are your expectations for ‘Alladin’?
Ashish Hemrajani: It’s a very natural thing for BookMyShow to produce something like this. We will take this from Mumbai to Delhi and then Hyderabad. We have decided to hold the show in Hyderabad as our research had shown us that there is a huge space for shows like this in Hyderabad. Besides, we wanted to introduce such shows in different markets. Right now we are focusing on making ‘Alladin’ the best Broadway-style musical in India. 

Abhishek Maheshwari: These kinds of theatrical events need lots of efforts. We see live performance without retakes. These are very subtle form of entertainment done with very high quality.

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