West End in London and Broadway in USA are two creative places where every dancer wants to be. To achieve ones ultimate dream a dancer goes through training in not just dance but even music, singing and acting for years and then a chance for audition is given to a dancer.
India for a very long time never had a mega budgeted show like what we see in USA or UK. But few years back Kingdom of Dreams opened in Gurgaon near Delhi bringing a never seen before musicals, be it ‘Zangoora’ which became an instant hit with the people or ‘Jhumroo’ which too got lots of accordance, both the gigantic musicals had Bollywood dance as their essence. But now Kingdom of Dreams is coming up with another new different kind of a musical. This one of its kind musical is called ‘Abhimanyu’ and no it is not Bollywood based musical show instead this show is a superb mix between Indian Classical and folk dances along with international forms.
‘Abhimanyu’ is the brain child of Kathak Maestro Pandit Sandeep Mahavir who recently received the prestigious Bismilla Khan Award Yuva by Sangeet Natak Akadami in the field of Kathak. It took Pt. Mahavir seven years to plan this entire show along with its storyline and enchanting music and another one year to get it on floor. This show is a path breaking musical that will showcase Indian dances especially classical dances in a Broadway style musical, something that is never been done before to promote Indian classical and folk dances.
Sandeep Mahavir and me go back a long way when we judged dance reality show Rum Jhum and Let’s Dance on Doordarshan together a few years back. When Mahavir ji was auditioning for ‘Abhimanyu’ he had requested me to help him select dancers for the show. We had thousands of dancers coming in to showcase their talent. That is when I spoke to him about ‘Abhimanyu’ and what he told me was something I can never forget, he said ‘When I would go to USA for my Kathak concerts I would take out time and see almost all the musicals playing on Broadway, sitting there in the audience I would wonder why can’t we Indian do this and as a Kathak dancer I always wanted to see Kathak on Broadway.’ His long cherished dream came about when he met Viraf Sarkari of Wizcraft who decided to partner him on this project along with Monty Shah and present it at Kingdom of Dreams.
Abhimanyu is the heart warming tale of the journey of an Indian classical dancer who is taken to United States of America by an international Broadway dancer. This grand spectacle on stage presents Abhimanyu’s dreams, ambitions, struggles, failures and final redemption. Set to original score of Deepak Pandit and Sandeep Mahavir and with songs sung by legendary singers like Shankar Mahadevan, Daler Mehendi, Padmashree Udit Narayan, Javed Ali, Anvesha Dutta and Dinesh Mahavir. This new show at kingdom of dreams is set to enthral and captivate with its superb dances, colourful drama and scintillating specials effects.
The musical has total of 140 dancers and is made in a budget of 10 cr. This kind of money going into an Indian classical and folk dance based show is completely unheard of but Sandeep Mahavir and his team has shown that it is not just Bollywood dance shows that can have big budgets but even the traditional dances of India can get the same platform if the thought and idea is brilliant. Pt Mahavir plays the title role of Abhimanyu and has two main female leads Mugdha Mane who is a trained Indian classical dancer and Emma Yearsely from United Kingdom who is trained in international dance forms. Kathak is the main essence of the musical Abhimanyu but it has lots of Indian folk dances like Chau, Lavni, Ghoomar and Legium too. Then there is Hip Hop, Contemporary, Krumping, B Boying and loads of lifts and tricks from the international dance side. The entire classical and folk dance choreography is done by Pt. Sandeep Mahavir and the international forms are set by Arvind Thankur.
‘Abhimanyu’ indeed has created history long before it is premiered, not only because of its mega budgets but also because the classical and folk dances of India will be for the first time seen on a Broadway style musical. Through this article today I would like to wish all the very best to the entire team of 230 people of ‘Abhimanyu’ who have worked day in and day out to make this happen. The premier show of Abhimanyu is on the 18th of November at Kingdom of Dreams, so if you want to see how Indian classical and folk dances along with international dance forms can mesmerise you then this musical is something that one cannot afford to miss at all.
Artscape By Sandip Soparrkar