Theatre enthusiasts in Singapore are in for a dazzling treat, as Devdas – The Musical makes its world premiere on 21 April at the Esplanade Theatre. Inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novella of the same name, India’s leading live theatre producer AGP World, along with Arte Compass and Zee TV APAC, brings one of the most famous love sagas in Indian literature to life in Singapore.
Ashvin Gidwani’s Devdas – The Musical is 100-minute multi-starrer that explores the saga of star-crossed lovers Devdas and Paro, torn apart by unfortunate circumstances. This iconic tale of love in its purest form has been re-told time and again, the most notable on-screen adaptation being a Bollywood blockbuster movie starring Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan in 2002.
Now, watch this timeless tale come to life in an incredible Broadway-style production with elaborate set designs, vibrant colours, evocative lighting and special effects that recreate the opulence of India’s former capital, Calcutta, during the early 1900s, which acts as a spectacular backdrop for the musical, featuring unforgettable music, exhilarating choreography, and a heart-rending, universal story — all packaged together to create one of the most gorgeous theatre productions ever brought to life on stage.
There will be two shows in Hindi with English surtitles at 8pm on Friday, 21 April and Saturday, 22 April, and two shows in English with Mandarin surtitles on Saturday, 22 April at 3pm and on Sunday, 23 April at 5pm at the Esplanade Theatre.
This multifaceted production features prodigious performances from well-known Bollywood actors such as Sunil Kumar Palwal, Aanchal Chauhan, Bhavna Pani, Jayesh Thakkar and Smita Jaykar, who play key roles in the musical. Adding to the star-studded lineup is Arif Zakaria, who will play the role of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the writer of the classic tale. The musical is further enriched with songs from the original score of the Bollywood chartbuster movie Devdas, as well as mesmerising new melodies – such as Woh Zindagi Hi Kya, Shyam Tore Rang Me, Toota Re Manwa – that feature an entirely original soundtrack sung by some of the most prominent Bollywood singers including Shaan, Kailash Kher, Alka Yagnik, Suresh Wadkar, Shail Hada, Bhoomi Trivedi and Antara Mitra.
In addition to the songs, the musical boasts of an elaborate and larger-than-life stage design. The poignant music is brought to life by graceful choreography, featuring stunning performances and a fusion of Indian classic and contemporary dance styles artistically choreographed by passionate Choreographer Devendra Singh (Debu).
Eminent British theatre director, writer, actor, and teacher Toby Gough — who previously scripted The Merchants of Bollywood, Taj Express and is well-known for devising multi-cultural adaptations of Shakespeare plays — comes on board as the Creative Director for this grand musical, which is co-directed by renowned Indian director Ranga Godbole. Together with Technical Director & Production Designer Tom Kitney, Ashvin Gidwani’s Devdas – The Musical is sure to be a show that’s not to be missed.
Ashvin Gidwani, Producer & MD, AGP World says, “I am thoroughly excited to bring this classic on stage and showcase the first World Premiere in Singapore. Devdas has witnessed several renditions in the Indian cinema, yet there is something about the epic that connects with the audience. A saga of love presented by multiple onstage and offstage talents; Devdas promises to be a production never seen before on Indian Stage. We are very excited to be premiering this in front of an international audience for the first time, and Singapore’s diversity and thriving arts community makes it the perfect place to do so.”
Akila Iyengar, Managing Director, Arte Compass says, “The original work of Devdas has captivated Literature and Cinema lovers alike for over a hundred years. We are proud to bring the epic to the stage for the first time ever in Singapore, produced in two languages. The production is all set to thrill diverse audiences with a highly talented cast, extravagant sets, aerial dance choreography and the original classical as well as contemporary music scores.”
Sanmesh Thakur, EVP – APAC, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. express, “Zee in Singapore has been known to support and co-produce high quality productions. We are extremely proud and excited to be associated with Devdas, one of the most highly awaited shows of 2023!”