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News |  24 Mar 2018 13:45 |  By Namrata Kale

Disney's musical to feature not one, but two Aladdin's

MUMBAI: Disney believes in creating magic, be it with their films or theatrical presentations. Thus, when the conglomerate decided on bringing the adaptation of their 1992 animated film Aladdin in the live-action format we knew it was going to a fantastic Arabian tale. And, Disney India is leaving no stone unturned to make this once in a lifetime experience for their Indian audience.

The love story of Agrabah thief Aladdin and Princess Jasmine is going to be re-imagined for the Indian stage with breath-taking sets, lavish costumes, and special effects.

The first season of the musical produced by BookMyShow would be held at Mumbai on 20 April at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA. The musical would witness two characters Sidharth Menon and Taaruk Raina who essay the role of ‘Aladdin’ as the shows would be divided between the two. While everybody is excited to watch Aladdin’s character, we get you to know a little more about them.

How did you get the opportunity to play Aladdin's character?

Siddharth Menon : One day, Tess Joseph, the casting director for Disney’s Aladdin, whom I have known for a while called me for an audition. At that time, I didn’t know the character I was being auditioned for. I just went along with the process. But it turned out to be one of the best audition experiences for me. When I found out that I had landed the role of Aladdin, my joy knew no bounds ‘coz as a kid I had always wanted to play this character. I am extremely thrilled to bring Aladdin to life for the Indian audience. 

Taaruk Raina : Tess Joseph, casting director of Disney’s Aladdin and I, go back a long way as we have worked together in the past. She reached out to me when she began auditioning for this Broadway-style musical. After a thorough audition process, I got the part and I am excited to be part of this grand spectacle. 

Since Aladdin is a Broadway-style musical, we want to know your connect with music?

Siddharth Menon : My connection with music actually traces back to Disney. All their films and its music have made an impact on me. Also, I have a multilingual background and enjoy listening to a lot of music across different languages, by various musicians, artists, both from India and abroad. I also started dancing at an early age that made the connection with music stronger. When I started doing theatre, I truly realized the power of music as an art.

Taaruk Raina: I’ve been deeply connected to music my whole life; I’m a musician and ‘performing on stage in front of people is something that I have always loved to do’. For me, music brings colour to the mundane things in life - something as simple as walking down the street could look like a music video if you just had some tunes on.

Do you think the Broadway ‘Aladdin’ would connect with Indians?

Siddharth Menon : Disney’s Aladdin has a universal appeal and most of us are familiar with the story. As a country, we are comfortable with singing and dancing being weaved into storytelling. So, we really hope that the audiences will love the way Aladdin has been re-imagined for the Indian stage. It’s filled with magic, comedy, drama to romance, song and dance. This show has something for everyone.

The musical, produced by BookMyShow, is being re-imagined locally with an all Indian talent and yet, it keeps the essence of the original Broadway-style musical intact. It will definitely be a must watch as everyone from the cast to crew is ensuring that the audiences are instantly transported to the world of Agrabah and have a magical experience when they watch it live on stage.

Taaruk Raina : Indian audiences are definitely inclined towards entertainment that has music at its core. Our films, the entertainment industry, and all its content revolve around music which people find comforting and get a sense of belonging – whether it’s on the stage or on screen.  Musicals are such magnificent experience and we have put in a lot of hard work and effort to ensure audiences are mesmerized with Disney’s Aladdin.

Are you a trained singer?

Siddharth Menon : My mother did try to get me to learn Carnatic music when I was young but at that time I couldn’t fully understand it. My prior experience with different forms of entertainment has also contributed to my training, giving me an opportunity to work with different musicians and music directors. Disney’s Aladdin is the first time that I will be singing live on stage. My training with Suzanne D’ Mello, our vocal coach, has been a life-changing experience. Live singing along with acting and dancing is definitely not easy as there’s no room for error, but it is the most exhilarating experience for an actor.

Taaruk Raina : My father has played a huge role in my love for music and he is the reason I started singing. The music of Disney’s Aladdin is grand, fantastic and magical. As Aladdin, I have the honour of performing classic songs such as A Whole New World.

Aladdin shows will also be shows in Delhi and Hyderabad.