Director’s Cut: 10 Things I Didn’t Know About Making Jhumroo – India’s First Broadway Musical!

Director’s Cut: 10 Things I Didn’t Know About Making Jhumroo – India’s First Broadway Musical!

Vikranth Pawar

Vikranth Pawar works as a writer/director in films and theater in India, his work include musicals such as Jhumroo & Zangoora and comedies like Anything but Love and Conditions Apply. I of course remember Vikranth best from our jiving days :) and was thrilled to bits to see his incredible production at Kingdom of Dreams, to the moon my friend! xoxo

Vikranth Pawar
Vikranth Pawar
Jhumroo Poster
Jhumroo Poster

This is really a tough list, because I’d worked on Zangoora so I technically knew all things to do at KoD (Kingdom of Dreams), but here are some things that were Jhumroo specific that I really didn’t know!

1. I didn’t know I wanted to make Jhumroo!

While working on Zangoora I used to wonder what would look good next on this magnificent Kingdom of Dreams stage. I was going through a lot of concepts in my mind but nothing seemed to fit and then, just like that, one day the idea of a boy who loves singing but cannot sing popped into my head and that was it.

2. What songs to use…

Jhumroo
Jhumroo

While writing the synopsis (that I had to present to the producers) I had a tough time selecting the songs that would fit the situations the story demanded. There are just so many Kishoreda songs! He has sung a song for every mood, occasion and situation and not one but several of them are superhits. Obviously narrowing down that list was to just what the story needed was a difficult task. But finally I had all the songs in the order that they appear in the show and I think they make a great selection.

3. Where to find Bhola.

Jhumroo
Guarav Gera

Darshan Jariwala had finished writing a brilliant first draft and I was very happy with the way it turned out. The story was about a boy named Bhola who couldn’t sing but loved to sing. Darshan had very nicely coloured in the character and packed some really cool punchlines which required an actor with impeccable comic timing. I had no idea who would be able to
carry off this role. I needed an actor who had boy next door charm and could of course nail comedy. I auditioned over 800 actors and finally found our Bhola in Gaurav Gera. I am proud to say that he makes the best Bhola ever!

4. And what about Meena?

Bhola Meena
Bhola Meena

While we’re on casting, I didn’t know that casting for Meena (the heroine) would be so hard! Meena is instrumental since she is the love of Bhola’s life and he pretty much goes on this journey to get her to love him back. I needed a pretty girl with oodles of cuteness and the ability to hold her own (since the show is very Bhola centric). Again, I auditioned hundreds of girls, actors from television and stage, models, VJs, RJs (no not DJs!) and singers but just couldn’t find the right combination. Then one day Shweta Gulati auditioned and she was rehearsing in Gurgaon the following week!

5. And somehow make them fly?!

Jhumroo
Jhumroo

The show has a total of 13 aerial sequences and the one that people love is when Bhola and Meena go paragliding over the audience. When I wrote the sequence, I had no idea how the prop would work, I just knew I wanted it! I took a leap of faith and planned everything around it, assuming that we’d crack it when the time comes. I explained the whole sequence to the staff at KoD, they took a week and came up with a simple mechanism that worked perfectly. It amazed me how simple yet effective it turned out to be!

6. How Harold and Pawar would light up the Kingdom of Dreams…

Jhumroo
Harold Fernandes

Harold Fernandes (lighting designer Zangoora) and I lit Zangoora in seven days and throughout that period I drove Harold up the wall pointing my finger at different lights, asking to see how it looked in the scene. But during Jhumroo, Omung Kumar (Set – Graphic Designer on Jhumroo) introduced me to the world of laser pointers! Of course I knew they existed but had never used them for work. Working on shows for lighting with a laser pointer just saves a lot of time. I highly recommend it.

7. Kitne Admi The?

Sholay
Sholay

There is a sequence in the play where Thakkur and Gabbar from Sholay make an entry and have a scene with the characters on stage. The first draft of the script had Viru and Jai instead. I didn’t know that through plays evolution, Viru and Jai would be replaced by Thakkur & Gabbar. In retrospect I think it was meant to be, and now it just feels right!

8. Ki picture abhi baaki hai!

Jhumroo
Jhumroo

By the tail end of rehearsals, it was clear to me that I had to edit out about 10 minutes. The script was so brilliantly written that I didn’t know what to cut so I surgically removed small sections till the show lasted just as long as Zangoora. Jhumroo runs for two hours and seven minutes excluding the interval!

9. How time flies…

Jhumroo
Jhumroo

I started work on Jhumroo in January 2011, the show was supposed to open by the end of that year but it got pushed for various reasons and opened in April 2012. I didn’t know that Jhumroo would take one and a half years of my life! But all said and done it’s been the best time I’ve spent on any play by far. I had a lot of fun making Jhumroo and I hope people have even more fun watching it!

10. That Jhumroo would make magic.

Jhumroo
Jhumroo

I knew Jhumroo had to be at least as good as Zangoora. I have of course worked on both shows equally hard and both are close to my heart. But Zangoora being the first show at KoD mesmerized audiences like never before. No one had ever seen anything like it in India before! So this was clearly going to be a mammoth task. When I started, I didn’t know if this would be that show but Viraf Sarkari (Producer Zangoora & Jhumroo) believed in Jhumroo from the start and knew it would work well with the audience, I am so happy that he was right.

Come see Jhumroo – Celebrating the spirit of Kishore Kumar!

Facebook Like! JhumrooTheMusical
website/book tickets: www.kingdomofdreams.in

MissMalini Says, And I kid you not people, my sis and I took my mom to see this show as a Mother’s Day surprise and she loved it, we loved it, everybody loved it. Do yourself a favor the next time you’re in Delhi, visit The Kingdom of Dreams!

Vinay Pathak and Shweta Gulati
Vinay Pathak and Shweta Gulati