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Aditya Chopra speaks about his intent of ‘cultural unification in a fragmented world’ as Come Fall In Love’s opening nears

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Aditya Chopra’s Broadway-bound musical Come Fall In Love speaks about the need for cultural unification in a growingly divisive and toxic world. It is about the celebration of inclusivity and diversity in a world that’s getting polarised by the minute. It is about the celebration of love and how it can unify people, and cultures and break down all barriers. With Come Fall In Love set to open at The Old Globe, San Diego on September 14, Aditya Chopra speaks about his intent to ‘present a vision of diverse cultures coming together in a story that celebrates love’.

In a statement that reads like an invitation to the world to watch Come Fall In Love (CFIL), producer and director Aditya says, “I first conceived the story of DDLJ (even before it was called DDLJ) as a Hollywood love story of a white American man and an Indian woman. My main motivation at that time was to present Indian culture and values to a global audience. Years later, as I reimagine the story as a Broadway musical, my mainstay is still the same, showcasing Indian culture to a world audience. And the most powerful way to depict a country’s culture and values is to see it from the perspective of someone who does not belong to the same culture. That is the starting point of Come Fall In Love, the story of Indian Simran, her culture and heritage through the eyes of American Roger.”

He says CFIL focussed on Simran being the centre of the story and how she impacts Roger. He says, “Come Fall In Love is the story of Simran, an Indian American. She is at the centre of the musical's story, as she struggles to balance her love for Indian tradition and her family with her love for Roger. He is a white American man who falls madly in love with Simran and then falls in love with her culture and her country. He aspires towards India and finds a new version of himself in India’s energy, values and way of life.”

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Aditya is clear that he wasn’t going to direct the iconic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), also directed by him, on Broadway and what excited him the most was how it can be adapted to today’s time to send a deeper message to audiences. He says, “I’m not directing DDLJ for Broadway. I’m adapting it as Come Fall In Love to tell the story of how powerful love is in unifying cultures, especially today. In 2022, the notion that DDLJ could be adapted to present a vision of diverse cultures coming together in a story that celebrates love and the power it has to unify everyone moves me greatly.”

He adds, “For me, Austin Colby as Roger and Shoba Narayan as Simran are the perfect vehicles to drive home this message of cultural unification in a fragmented world. They are joined by a cast, crew and creative team that represents all the extraordinary talent Indian cinema and Broadway have to offer. The representation and artistry of India reverberate through every part of this production. Come Fall In Love is not only my heartfelt vision of ‘love in every colour’, as the musical's finale puts it, but a celebration of joy, togetherness and inclusivity in a divisive and growingly toxic world of intolerance. It is also my love letter to India and the Indian heritage we carry with us wherever we may be.”

He further adds, “In making a new DDLJ for a new moment and a new audience, I’ve departed from some aspects of the film that our fans revere. But I believe that the heart of Come Fall In Love beats with everything essential in DDLJ even as it speaks, sings and dances to this moment, in a different place and time, with hope, optimism and love.”

He knows that DDLJ has a special place in the hearts of all Indians and he hopes that every Indian is proud that an adaptation of the cult classic film is Broadway-bound.

Aditya says, “I look forward to sharing Come Fall In Love with those who cherish DDLJ and I’m also looking forward to introducing the story to audiences discovering it for the first time. I’m well aware that DDLJ has a special place for many Indians living across the world and, as its original producer and director, I’m well aware of the responsibility I have in representing India to the world. I’m grateful, humbled and excited by this opportunity. Hope I see you at the theatre and we can, together, celebrate the magnetic force of love that can shatter all barriers.”

Come Fall In Love has many firsts for India and Indians. For the first time, an Indian director, Aditya Chopra, debuts on Broadway. It is also the first Bollywood musical set to be on Broadway. It has Vishal and Sheykhar debuting too as composers. Shruti Merchant will do her first Broadway musical as Associate Choreographer. The show champions diversity and every department from cast to technicians is a beautiful confluence of East and West as Indian and South Asian representation is at the heart of this show.

The diverse cast and technicians speak about how Come Fall in Love champions cultural unification in today’s times. The musical also has 18 original English songs to treat audiences with and the makers reveal that they also have a beautiful song ‘Love In Every Colour’ that celebrates the theme of inclusivity through the show.

Aditya Chopra directs a cast of 30, which includes Shoba Narayan as Simran (Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin as Princess Jasmine), Austin Colby as Rog Mandel (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen the Musical as Hans, Off-Broadway’s Jersey Boys as Bob Gaudio), Irvine Iqbal as Baldev (West End’s Disney’s Aladdin as The Sultan), Rupal Pujara as Lajjo (Walnut Street Theatre’s In the Heights), Vishal Vaidya as Ajit (Encore’s Road Show), Siddharth Menon as Kuljt (India’s Disney’s Aladdin as Aladdin), ), Kate Loprest as Emily “Minky” Soulard (Broadway’s First Date, Hairspray), Juice Mackins as Ben (Broadway’s The Prom), Hannah Jewel Kohn as Cookie (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen The Musical), Jeremy Kushnier as Roger Mandel, Sr. (Broadway’s Footloose as Ren McCormack, Rent as Roger Davis), Amita Batra as Ensemble (Amit Patel & Ishika Seth’s Unearthed: Untold Stories of the Ramayana), Neha Dharmapuram as Ensemble (M.S. in Marketing Intelligence from Fordham University), Tiffany Engen as Ensemble (Broadway’s Legally Blonde), Rohit Gijare as Ensemble (Bollywood Blvd at Lincoln Center), Marc A. Heitzman as Ensemble (Broadway’s Bandstand), Usman Ali Ishaq as Ensemble (Signature Theatre’s RENT), Nika Lindsay as Ensemble (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen The Musical), Ilda Mason as Ensemble (West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg), Caleb Mathura as Ensemble (Jesus Christ Superstar at Timber Lake Playhouse), Meher Mistry as Ensemble (India’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Belle), Shannon Mullen as Ensemble (Broadway’s A Bronx Tale), Shahil Patel as Ensemble (Off-Broadway’s Fairycakes), Zain Patel as Ensemble (La Jolla Playhouse’s Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical), Becca Petersen as Ensemble (Broadway’s Mean Girls), Kinshuk Sen as Ensemble (Much Ado About Nothing at UCLA’s Shakespeare Theater Company), Jack Sippel as Ensemble (Broadway’s The Prom), Michael Starr as Ensemble (First National Tour of Bright Star), Geatali Tampy as Ensemble (Bollywood Blvd at Lincoln Center), and Sonya Venugopal as Ensemble (Musical Theatreworks’ Evita.

In addition to Aditya, Ashford, Benjamin, Dadlani & Ravjiani, the Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical creative team includes set design by Emmy and Tony Award winner Derek McLane (MJ The Musical, Moulin Rouge!, Hairspray Live!), costume design by Tony Award winner Linda Cho (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder), lighting design by five-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Wiedeman (Dear Evan Hansen, The Visit), sound design by Tony Award winner Jessica Paz (Hadestown), projection design by Akhila Krishhnan (National Theatre’s Our Generation), music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by David Holcenberg (MJ The Musical, Matilda The Musical), music direction by Ted Arthur (Broadway’s Diana), associate director, Stephen Sposito (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, Wicked), associate choreographer Shruti Merchant (Dhoom 1, 2 and 3), casting is by Duncan Stewart of Stewart/Whitley casting (Hadestown, Chicago The Musical) and Yash Raj Films casting head Shanoo Sharma (Ek Tha Tiger, Gunday, Fan), and production stage manager Anjee Nero (Almost Famous, The Heart of Rock & Roll).

For The Old Globe run, the musical begins performances on September 1 through October 16, 2022, with the official Opening on Wednesday, September 14.

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