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“We can be Broadway big!” Director of musical comedy Oye Balle Balle makes a case

With India’s first musical comedy based on the big fat Indian wedding, director Viraf Sarkari plans to make theatre the parallel to cinematic entertainment in the country

brunch Updated: Aug 25, 2018 23:05 IST
Samreen Tungekar
Samreen Tungekar
Hindustan Times
broadway,mama mia,musical
Oye Balle Balle is a musical comedy with actors and singers inspired by the loud and colourful Indian weddings

A crew of actors that sing, a bunch of singers that act…and a show that travels. Sounds ideal? A musical comedy based on the big fat Indian wedding, Oye Balle Balle is a story about how one arranged marriage gets deranged and how, through that, multiple stories come out.

But to show the loud Punjabi wedding on a stage couldn’t have been easy. Director of the musical and one of the directors of Wizcraft International Entertainment, Viraf Sarkari, agrees. “It was very difficult to show multiple weddings on stage. In movies, you can edit and redo, unlike the stage. But we tried to make it as cinematic as possible, as fast-paced as possible,” he says.

The inspiration, of course, comes from attending weddings! “Indian weddings are a lot of fun, and the kind of characters that you meet at weddings. In fact, films that are made on the Indian wedding will always be box office favourites because the audience loves to watch loud and colourful, family-friendly stuff,” he says.

This is Viraf’s fourth musical, and the successful Zangoora was his first hand at theatre. What also inspired me, he continues, was when I went to Paris and saw Moulin Rouge. Then, I was in Vegas where I watched more shows. I realised that we have so much culture and history, and our cinema has such great storytelling. So why not create something of that and take it around the world? That’s how Zangoora came about,” he says.

Talking about millennials and the theatre crowd, Viraf thinks millennials are the ones who go for the spectacular musicals and shows. “They choose to go for these spectacular shows other than the hardcore theatre,” he says.

But does he think we can be Broadway big someday? “Totally! I think we have potential. We’ve had Mughal-e-Azam, Aladdin, Beauty And The Beast… I think we are on the right path. What we are creating out here is an alternative medium for entertainment. There are only two mediums of entertainment – cinema and eating out. So people are looking for other mediums, like they’re now switching to web series and online entertainment. This is exactly what we’re doing to live entertainment,” he signs off.

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From HT Brunch, August 26, 2018

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First Published: Aug 25, 2018 21:43 IST