Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding Musical Wants to Put India on the Map This FIFA World Cup

With less than a week left for the opening in Doha, Qatar, of the Mira Nair-helmed musical, ‘Monsoon Wedding’, based on her iconic 2001 film, members of the cast and crew are taking to their Instagram handles to share pictures of themselves shot by Ishaan Nair (who also had a role in the film) and sharing their excitement to be a part of the FIFA World Cup fever.

The musical, its score written by acclaimed composer-director Vishal Bharadwaj, will open at the Abdul Aziz Nasser Theatre in Doha on November 15.

Namit Das, who was seen playing the shoe company executive Haresh Khanna in BBC television drama mini-series ‘The Suitable Boy’ (also directed by Mira Nair), shared the cast’s sense of anticipation when he wrote, “The countdown begins for this ‘Monsoon Wedding’ to shower Doha, Qatar with a dose of entertainment. Thrilled to play P.K.Dubey and work with Mira Nair and the entire team of talented professionals. Let’s put India on the map this World Cup.”

Das plays the eccentric, marigold (‘genda’)-chewing wedding planner, Parabatlal Kanhaiyalal ‘P.K.’ Dubey, essayed so memorably in the original by Vijay Raaz. The marigold, in fact, is the visual that binds the ‘Monsoon Wedding’ posters.

Another cast member to take to Instagram was theatre actress and singer Mansi Multani, who plays the bride, Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das did the honours in the film).

“Thrilled to be playing the part of Aditi Verma and working with this mad hatter bunch,” she gushed, and gave a shout out to the “exquisite” Ishaan Nair (who describes the musical as a “beloved classic movie reimagined for Broadway”) and also to her “friend in need friend very much indeed,” actress, copywriter and fashion designer Maya Sarao, who did her makeup.

A passion project for Mira Nair, she shared the musical’s back story on Instagram. “I began in the theatre and have returned to theatre,” Nair wrote, remembering the days when she was a regular in Badal Sarkar plays in Delhi, followed by her stage appearances during her days as a student at Harvard University.

“Tired of seeing goraas on stage,” continued the director who shuttles between New York and New Delhi, “I wanted to make our own ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. In 2006, five years after my film #monsoonwedding spun its way into millions of hearts, I was inspired to make it as a stage musical with a brilliant iconoclastic team … .”

She then went on to mention the musical’s book writers Sabrina Dhawan (who also wrote the film) and New York-based theatre director Arpita Mukherjee, music composer Vishal Bhardwaj, as well as Broadway lyricists Masi Amare and Susan Birkenhead.

Doha will get a foretaste of the musical, which will formally open at St Ann’s Warehouse on the Brooklyn Waterfront in New York City in May 2023.

For an Indian-led creative venture, it is a rare honour to be showcased at a global football event for which the national team did not even qualify. As Nair, who as a much younger man plays Aditi’s younger brother Varun in the 2001 film (and now returns on stage to play Mohan Rai, a part that went to Roshan Seth in the original), said it on Instagram: “Let’s put India on the map this World Cup.”

(With IANS inputs)

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