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Message of unification...: Aditya Chopra defends Austin Colby's casting in DDLJ musical- Cinema express

Message of unification...: Aditya Chopra defends Austin Colby's casting in DDLJ musical

Come Fall In Love is set to open at The Old Globe, San Diego on September 14

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Published: 27th August 2022

Aditya Chopra has penned a long letter on his upcoming Broadway musical Come Fall In Love, adapted from his 1995 hit Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ).

The show, Aditya claims, speaks about the need for cultural unification in a growingly divisive and toxic world. He has also defended his decision to cast Austin Colby as Roger (based on Raj) in the musical. 

"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," Aditya writes. "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.”

Dwelling on the plot, he says, “Come Fall In Love is the story of Simran, an Indian American. She is at the center 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.”

Aditya wasn’t keen on directing Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on Broadway, but was excited by 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 represent all the extraordinary talent Indian cinema and Broadway have to offer. The representation and artistry of India reverberates through every part of this production. Come Fall In Love is not only my heartfelt vision of ‘love in every color’, as the musical's finale puts it, but a celebration of joy, togetherness and inclusivity in a divisive and a 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.”

“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 that is essential in DDLJ even as it speaks, sings and dances to this moment, in a different place and time, with hope, optimism and love.”

Come Fall In Love is set to open at The Old Globe, San Diego on September 14. 

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