CAST: Irvine Iqbal, Rupal Pujara, Shoba Narayan, Austin Colby, Kate Loprest, Jeremy Kushner, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Kinshuk Sen, Juice Mackins,

DIRECTOR: Aditya Chopra

Choreography: Rob Ashford 

Music: Vishal and Sheykhar

Scene from DDLJ the Musical

THE DDLJ MUSICAL, their musical adaption of one of the most successful Bollywood movies of all time “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,” or “DDLJ.” has a charismatic cast, and is genuinely funny, with staging, costumes, and choreography that bring cinematic Bollywood to life on The Old Globe stage. COME FALL IN LOVE is playing at The Old Globe through October 16th.

Set in Boston, the show opens with Baldev (Irvine Iqbal) who works hard in Boston to provide a good life for his wife Lajjo (Rupal Pujara)and daughter Simran (Shoba Narayan) but dreams of going back to India.

Roger, who everyone calls Rog (Austin Colby) has the opposite family dynamic, with his mother Minky (Kate Loprest) reveling in torturing her ex-husband, and Roger Sr. (Jeremy Kushner) who encourages Rog to have the decadent college experience he never had.

Simran is smart, independent, and a dutiful daughter who in “Maybe Love” argues in philosophy class that sometimes love is doing the selfless thing and is bigger than just hearts and roses. She clashes with spoiled and carefree classmate Rog who excels at throwing epic parties and taking nothing seriously.

Simran is set to go on a trip to Europe with her friend Cookie (Hannah Jewel Kohn) for a month, as a final adventure before she heads to India for her arranged marriage to Kuljit (Kinshuk Sen) the son of her father’s best friend. When she arrives at the station she finds that Cookie has invited her boyfriend Ben (Juice Mackins) and Rog to come with them.

While Cookie and Ben laugh at Simran’s packed vacation plan schedule, Rog is more than willing to go along, which is how they end up separated from their friends and their train. (I don’t care what her friends say, Simran plans amazing vacations)

Austin Colby and Shoba Narayan as Rog and Simran

The first act is a classic rom-com antagonist to lovers, as Simran and Rog find themselves having to navigate their way through Switzerland to catch up to their train. This travel portion also features a very funny hotel scene, with lightning-quick characters and costume changes that had the audience cheering by the end of it.

As their feelings grow, their time grows short before Simran has to go to India for her arranged marriage to Kuljit. The couple has to figure out how to potentially change these plans, and get Rog to win traditional Baldev’s approval.

As Simran, Narayan is feisty, smart, sympathetic, and has a lovely voice. Colby as Rog is charming, and funny, and shows growth from spoiled frat boy to loveable lead. As a couple, they have a delightful chemistry and banter and it’s easy to see how these characters fall for each other. Their comedic physicality during the hotel stay is very funny, and their duet”Like You That Way” is very cute.

Iqbal as Baldev is excellent as a traditional and loving father who wants the best for Simran, while also pining for the home he left behind to give her those opportunities. Pujara as Lajjo is soft-spoken but is a sympathetic match to her husband’s stubbornness, and has a lovely number in the second act reflecting on motherhood in ‘I Give You The World.

Other standouts include Loprest as the scene-stealing and sexy mom Minky, and Sen as Simran’s arranged fiance who finds himself besotted with Minky’s independent nature Kohn as Cookie and Mackins as Ben bring additional laughs as Simran and Rog’s college friends.

The real magic happens when the ensemble is all on stage singing and dancing together. The broadway style choreography by Rob Ashford is fun, and the dynamic Indian dancing by Shruti Merchant brought the audience to its feet. Book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, with music by Vishal Dadlani and Sheykhar Ravjiani (making their musical debut) with orchestrations and arrangements by David Holcenberg, and sound design by Jessica Paz.

The beloved 1995 film is directed by Aditya Chopra, and he is also at the helm of this stage adaption making sure that the pacing of the show is energetic while also allowing for the contemplation of what an act of love for someone is and what home and tradition can look like in this ever-changing world.

Chopra also ensures that iconic moments for fans of the movie are there, including the fields of mustard blossoms, the cowbell, and the mandolin love theme, along with a flock of pigeons!

Costumes by Linda Cho and scenic design by Derek Lane are gorgeous and are greatly supported by the beautiful projections by Akhila Krishnan.

The show could use some editing, especially in the beginning with Rog’s party song and some of the European travel scenes. While the rom-com aspects of the first act are fun, the promised color and complexity of the story hinted at in Baldev’s “So Far” at the start of the show don’t appear until the second act.

While in India Rog doesn’t seem to really learn about the culture, asking at one point “another one of your cultural things I don’t understand?” and it feels like the people of color have to do the work to educate him, which is aggravating.

The movie originally starts in London, and the play’s move to America and the change in ethnicity for Rog don’t feel necessary or that they add anything to the overall story.

If you are a fan of the movie or encountering this story for the first time, COME FALL IN LOVE – THE DDLJ MUSICAL is a high-energy, funny, and romantic musical with excellent performances throughout, it is easy to envision this show selling out a Broadway theatre in the future.

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