It has been the sad reality of the Gurgaon-ite’s life that Delhi has all the cool entertainment venues and Gurgaon has ugly office buildings. Well, that’s about to change. Kingdom of Dreams, in Sector 29, is coming up as a theatre and leisure destination. You will not only be able to watch home-grown, mega-scale productions of Bollywood musicals, but also visiting acts such as Mamma Mia! and Grease. The first production will be staged in July.
Built over 6 acres and run by the Great Indian Nautanki Company, a joint venture between Apra Group and Wizcraft, Kingdom of Dreams has two theatres, Nautanki Mahal and the Showshaa theatre, and a cultural area—Culture Galli. Nautanki Mahal is built like an Indian palace. Every bit of the outside wall is carved with designs—some Khajuraho-inspired, some geometric filigrees—and the windows are beautiful stained glass.
A step in is the holding area for guests, flanked on both sides by a red glass mosaic bar. Upstairs, there is a Maharaja lounge—with a circular bar. Past this area is the actual theatre, a 850-seater fitted with cutting-edge technology. The three frames of the proscenium are in the form of LED arches, and a big LED screen constitutes the stage’s back wall. The stage has two areas that can dip down to the basement and also rise up 2m. So elephants and trucks can magically appear on stage. “With two large screens on either sides and the stage at the centre, your visual stimulus will come from three directions,” says Jaideep Khanna, vice-president, sales and marketing, Kingdom of Dreams. “We can have 16 flying acts—people or objects. We can simulate a fire on the stage or a hailstorm. And with the pyrotechnics, the audience will even be able to smell the fire. It’s a four-dimensional viewing experience.”
The first production will be a Bollywood musical, which will be showcased at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Colombo in June. The show will be on every night (except Mondays) from 8.30-10.45pm. Tickets will cost Rs1,500-6,000. If you have an exceptionally large set of friends, you can book an entire show (on Mondays), or the Maharaja lounge and the balcony seats. Nautanki Mahal lives up to the mahal (palace) bit of its moniker—it’s plush and grand.
Showshaa theatre is a 250-seater where stand-up routines, interactive theatre and some take-offs from reality television will be performed. This is due to be ready in September.
Culture Galli is planned as a sophisticated, air-conditioned version of Dilli Haat. It showcases 14 states and will have street performances, artisans and handicraft stores. It also has six restaurants and six live kitchens.
The promenade has been done up magnificently. Sikkim has beautiful hand-painted thangka designs on the wall, the entrance to the Bengali restaurant is guarded by a giant Kali sculpture. The Assamese section has an art gallery and a tea room and the Goan shack has a massage and spa centre.
Entry to the Culture Galli is ticketed at Rs500, but this can be set off against anything you buy inside—food, drinks or products. “We will issue charge cards at the entrance, with topping-up points here. You can swipe as you go,” Khanna says.
On the first floor is the IIFA Lounge, a Bollywood-themed bar done up in red velvet and crystal curtains. “This place will host music releases, Bollywood press conferences, etc.,” Khanna says. On other days, you can kick back and enjoy the Bollywood memorabilia—the IIFA trophy, costumes from movies and the latest item song, if that’s your kind of thing.