Just before intermission Zangoora has a Salman Khan moment. The handsome man from the gypsy community, living on the outskirts of the kingdom Shakti Shila, discovers his love for a blue-blooded princess and in a split second yanks off his shiny vest, showing off a fetching body, complete with toned biceps and smouldering looks. But this is just one of the many Bollywood moments in Zangoora—The Gypsy Prince, the Broadway-style musical that serves a heady dose of aerial choreography, snazzy 3D effects and pyrotechnics, jazzy costumes, larger-than-life stage sets and much more. Viraf Sarkari, co-producer, executive creative producer and director of the show, promises that Zangoora—with the lead role essayed convincingly by seasoned television actor Hussain Kuwajerwala—will be a 3-hour spectacle no one has seen before. “You just sit back and watch this history in the making,” he says with a wink.
Watching history unfold while sinking into a La-Z-Boy in a theatre called Nautanki Mahal is definitely a good idea. Along with his partners, Sarkari had dreamt of a Bollywood musical “to be presented Broadway-style”. But, he adds, “the presentation had to be in a dreamland, a place we envisioned 13 years ago.”
In keeping with current Bollywood trends, the “place” is a throwback to the 1970s where everything is, well, bling. So you’ll find mirrored walls, water features complete with coloured lights, doors covered in thick velvet and dotted with shimmering crystals, pretty chandeliers, plush seats, and intricately carved walls.
For a generation queuing up to watch Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee, this Bollywood musical’s storyline by Javed Akhtar appears hackneyed. It begins with a king and queen getting killed by a bunch of villains and their child being raised by the banjaron ki toli, the gypsies. Yawn.
However, considering it’s a musical—served designer-style— the storyline incorporates ingredients to serve the perfect recipe on stage. There is romance, the dance-song routine, action and not surprisingly, the best names from Bollywood have been roped in to create the spectacle. Omung Kumar Bhandula has designed some of the most elaborate sets ever seen on Indian stage; Darshan Jariwala and Arvind Gaur are the drama directors; Neeta Lulla the costume designer; Shiamak Davar has choreographed some amazing moves for the lead actors and his 150-odd dancers; and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have remixed popular 1970s numbers as well as some recent hits to create a grand and spectacular experience.
So grand that you forgive the dull moments and the slapstick jokes. If all goes as planned, there will be 400 shows and it helps that the venue is connected by the new, Gurgaon-Delhi Metro line. So the next time you want to experience India’s own wonderland, go catch Zangoora at Kingdom of Dreams.