Joined: 03 February 2009
New Delhi, September 27, 2010
It's party time at 92.7 BIG FM's Delhi station as it celebrates its 4th Anniversary amidst much fanfare. The station's Delhi office celebrated the occasion with pomp and grandeur as they threw a bash to mark the day.
Also present on the occasion were Zangoora (Hussain Kuwajerwalla), his gypsy dancing partner and princess Sonali (Kashmira Irani) who performed the cake-cutting ceremony along with the staff of BIG FM. Zangoora - The Gypsy Prince is a musical jamboree staged at the recently opened Kingdom of Dreams, which is touted as India's first, unique live entertainment destination. In a mood to rejoice the occasion, the staff and stars devoured the sumptuous and mouth watering chaat.
To celebrate the 4th milestone, in the coming full week (27september to 2nd October), the Delhi station will distribute lots of gratification to its listeners. These gratifications will be gift vouchers and will be applicable across Delhi NCR and will be for various categories.
92.7 BIG FM's Delhi Radio Operation Head, Mr. Gaurav Sahai said, "We are excited that the station has successfully completed 4 years. I think it's a huge achievement for us as 92.7 BIG FM is the first radio station to spread FM across the length & breadth of the country. We hope to continue achieving such milestones in the future too. We want the station to go places and that can happen only with continued audience support.
Joined: 16 September 2007
posted by Anuj at 12:34 PM
Joined: 03 February 2009
Joined: 03 February 2009
Flamboyant Bollywood kitsch now has a new address'Gurgaon. Crisscrossing laser beams reach out nearly a kilometre before you land at the giant gates of the Kingdom of Dreams, a sprawling, six-acre complex that styles itself as a desi Disneyland. Enter to find yourself in the midst of a dazzling mishmash of styles and symbols'Rajasthani haveli meets Khajuraho-style sculpture, sleeping Buddhas meet lotus ponds and Mughal domes'and proceed to Culture Gully, a boulevard with a false ceiling that turns night into day by making you walk under a cloud-strewn blue sky in the dead of night. From this five-star Dilli Haat (cuisine from 14 states is served here), you travel through Spiritual Gully, and finally reach Nautanki Mahal, venue for the centrepiece of this surreal, opulent experience'Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince, a musical that mimics Bollywood in live 4-D.
Inside the 850-seater theatre, Zangoora, the lanky lad, played by TV star Hussain Kuwajerwala, descends as if from the skies, mounted atop a giant eagle, suspended in the air with the support of wires that loop down from the ceiling. As you watch, transfixed, he slides down to the stage to break into an energetic jig to thumping music with eighty fellow gypsies, all moving rapidly to the melody of Baawre Baawre, a recent dance number. The taalis and wolf-whistles from the obviously well-heeled, expensively dressed crowd, with a sprinkling of foreigners, become louder as the dancers break into sassy renderings, remixed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, of Choli ke peeche kya hai and Beedi jalaile and the retro 'gypsy' hit, Mehbooba mehbooba, all choreographed by Shiamak Davar and Glen D'Mello.
Energy Surplus: The Nautanki Mahal, the venue for the musical
A show like this obviously doesn't rely too heavily on its actors; it's the nameless, faceless dancers that take the drama forward, literally in leaps and bounds. As for the story, Javed Akhtar's authorship of it notwithstanding, it's just another run-of-the-mill, textureless, good-wins-over-evil plot. What provides the sparkle in this Rs 25-crore production are the imaginative, extravagant costumes by Neeta Lulla and the breathtaking special effects. Defending the wafer-thin plot, Zangoora's director and co-producer Viraf Sarkari of Wizcraft Entertainment says, "It is the first production, and, therefore, we have consciously focused on a simple yet thrilling storyline. This has given us a platform to experiment with the technology of theatre."
|Laachi, the gypsy girl in Zangoora|
Bombay's cinema has inspired big stage shows before, for instance Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Bombay Dreams, which opened in London in 2002, fusing western melodies with Bollywood sound. In recent years, Neemrana Music Foundation's production of If I Were King also attempted a larger-than-life Bollywood imagery, fusing it with traditional opera. However, Kingdom of Dreams takes it all to a grander, more opulent level, and prefers to keep its offering exclusively Bollywood. Enthuses Sarkari, "Today, the world over there is a craze for Bollywood, people in the West are learning Bollywood dances to perform at their weddings. Zangoora is all about the unique Bollywood style of storytelling and popular dancing."
What's clearly on offer here is a new venue for the multiplex class, eager for varied forms of popular entertainment, with enough disposable income to snap up tickets priced at Rs 1,000-6,000, and some to spare for a drink or two at the well-stocked bar on the premises or the offerings at Culture Gully. It has won itself some fans. Says Random House editor-in-chief Chiki Sarkar, who was in the audience recently, "I haven't seen anything like this on stage in India. In terms of its slickness, ambition and scale, it's certainly comparable to an international musical production." The organisers, Wizcraft and the Apra group, claim many others are lapping up the experience. Says Sarkari: "Our customers are diverse, from foreign and domestic tourists to regular Delhi ncr residents and big corporates who want to host a fun evening." An old kind of fun in a glittering, opulent new bottle.http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?267305
Joined: 03 February 2009
Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince has all the makings of a kitschy soap opera.
A newborn prince is dumped among the banjaras, an evil sorcerer plots against the king and queen, a beautiful princess meets a feisty gypsy girl, good and evil clash amid treachery and counter-ploys and a few minutes before the curtain falls, the prince fulfills his destiny of wearing the royal crown. With all the makings of a kitschy soap opera, the play Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince, set in the fictitious kingdom of Shaktishila, recently opened at Nautanki Mahal, the new theatre at Kingdom of Dreams, a culture destination in Gurgaon.
Viraf Sarkari, who operates Kingdom of Dreams and has co-produced
Zangoora, resorts to superlatives while talking about both, the theatre
and the musical. "With aerial flying sequences, special effects, digital
Surround Sound, lights and 3D video projections on each side of the
stage, we have created something better than what Broadway and West-End
has on offer," he says.
The musical flirts with different genres of romance, action, drama and thriller, and boasts of several big names. Lyricist Javed Akhtar has written the story, Shiamak Davar is credited with the choreography and the cast includes 24 performers from TV and stage like Hussain Kuwajerwala, Isha Sharvani and Gauhar Khan. British artistic director David Freeman, a veteran of London's West-End productions, has come on board as co-director. Neeta Lulla of Devdas and Jodhaa Akbar fame is responsible for the garish costumes.
Fittingly, Shah Rukh Khan was recently announced its brand ambassador. Film numbers like Pehla nasha, Khuda jaane and Chand taaren tod laoon have been tweaked and woven by composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy into the narrative to make the two hours 15 minute musical look like a film on stage.
Joined: 03 February 2009
Live entertainment in India reaches a new scale with the Rs 25-cr production, Zangoora - a two-hour, larger-than-life experience full of opulence and drama.
A luxurious palatial
arena, complete with ornate carvings and pristine royal interiors'that
is Nautanki Mahal at the aspiring entertainment hub of NCR, Kingdom of
Dreams, in Gurgaon. This 'four-dimensional' performance theatre opened
with the Rs 25-crore production, Zangoora-The Gypsy Prince, with its
embellished posters declaring it to be 'the biggest Bollywood musical
ever'. Extravagant it surely is, with a larger-than-life feel and
expression, special effects that make the presentation quite
unbelievable, knock-out choreography and shimmering costumes straight
out of the most expensive of Bollywood fantasies. Watching it also comes
at a princely price of Rs 1,000-6,000. And as Zangoora progresses, it
treads on all territories by being unbelievable, predictable, opulent,
clichd, yet enjoyable at the same time.
If one scans through the list of
personalities associated with the production, unprecedented is the word.
Story by Javed Akhtar, music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, choreography
by Shiamak Davar and Glen D'Mello, costumes by Neeta Lulla, art
direction by Omung Kumar, and a cast that boasts of starlets Gauhar Khan
and Kashmira Irani, and TV actor and anchor Hussain Kuwajerwala in the
lead roles. And bringing all of them together, Wizcraft and Apra.
Talking of the 4-D theatre, it has layered projection screens not only
in the backdrop of the stage, but also on both side-walls of the
auditorium, in an attempt to make the audience a part of the scene. One
can't help but look up and wonder why the ceiling is so high above, with
stands, lights trolleys hanging, akin to a television or a movie set,
as things are supposed to happen on the stage, right? Wrong. Wait until
you witness the lead actors making their grand entry flying over an
eagle or through a boat that floats over the heads of the audiences, or
the streamers that are sprayed all over the place during the grandiose
sign-off. And often, the dancers and the performers would fill the
aisles between the supremely comfortable seats to dance with much gusto.
So this is what the whole 4-D fuss is all about, one wonders.
But as you are taken further through the two-hour musical, it becomes highly predictable, with just the acrobatics of the flying performers, energetic song and dance sequences and breathtaking sets providing some highs. The story in itself is quite insubstantial, with a clichd storyline. A popular king, his jealous general, a political conspiracy that results in the murder of the king and queen; their infant son, thereafter raised by a gypsy couple, grows up to be a magician and performer, a stereotypical banjara named Zangoora, played by Hussain.
And it doesn't end
there. In truly filmy ways, he falls in love with a princess, while his
childhood friend, who longs for him, nurses a broken heart, but still
hangs on to their precious friendship. Zangoora then stumbles upon the
fact that he is not a street performer gypsy, but a prince, and
eventually sets upon the task of overthrowing the evil general and
reclaiming his place on the throne of the fictional kingdom of
Shaktishila. The story unfolds with blockbuster Hindi film songs, mostly
glamourous dance numbers. And that perhaps is the only high point as
far as the the performance is concerned. Choreography wins hands down,
as extremely clichd dialogues, slapstick humour and story take their
toll. One just can't help but notice Gauhar's dancing prowess, as she
steals the thunder from those around her. Even Hussain, an acclaimed
dancer himself, is no match for her.
But maybe it was supposed to be like
that. More performance and less of content. Full of larger-than-life
sequences and less of a story. They had to be different to justify the
promise of novelty, the promise of grandeur, luxury and justify its
premium costs. Treading on pillars of a clichd yet successful Bollywood
formula and blockbuster Hindi songs also places the production in the
safe zone, to guarantee audience's acceptance. And talking of songs,
while there was everything in it from Beedi jalaile to Choli ke peeche,
and from Helen's Mehbooba number from Sholay, to Laila main laila, the
musical's title-track Zangoora zangoora was a fast-beat composition
catching one's attention, and in a good way. However, with music
directors of great calibre associated with the production, it was quite a
let down that all they ended up doing was just one new song, while only
rearranging music of the old hits.
Viraf Sarkari, director, Wizcraft, and also the executive creative director and producer of this production, wears Zangoora proudly on his sleeve. He compares it to nothing less than Broadway and West End, while David Frieman, supervising director, draws a close comparison to Mamma Mia, owing to the already famous music being used. Sarkari wants to develop Nautanki Mahal as the 'multiplex of live entertainment', and justifies the ticket costs, which most would believe place it beyond the reach of the common man. "This is an extremely expensive production and has cost more than a regular B movie. And then, we are offering a quality entertainment product that is right up there with the best in the world, if not better. Even if you go to watch Broadway, it would cost you 60 pounds per ticket," he says. He refrains from commenting on how long will this production continue, and says he will run it for as long as possible.
While comparisons to
Broadway and West End might be rushed, the production seems to be
targeting foreign tourists and the growing population of expats in
India's corporate circles, apart from the obvious and expanding class of
Indian elites. The cost, location, a story that is dripping with the
exotic' something that has been tagged to India's image abroad'and, of
course, the timing of the opening, just days before the Commonwealth
Games, are hard to miss. And whether Zangoora translates into the advent
of a 'popular theatre' culture and 4-D performance theatres in the
country will only be a derivative of time. If your purse allows, you may
drop in for the larger-than-life entertainment experience, which just
might not be limited to the stage, while content curls up playing second
fiddle to the extravagance, maybe sacrificed for the security and
comfort of popularity. Zangoora-The Gypsy Prince is still worth the
experience, though a little more experiment with the script and the
story could have done it a world of good.
Joined: 03 February 2009
by Jason Overdorf
From a distance, India's Kingdom of Dreams theme park outside New Delhi looks and sounds like one of the amber-colored, sandstone palaces of Rajasthan.
At the ticket booth, turban-clad musicians sit, horns blaring, beneath a life-sized stone elephant, and the middle-class patrons shuffle between great stone pillars before passing through a metal detector ' just like the ones omnipresent at Delhi's new, posh shopping malls ' that punctures the illusion.
Opened in August, the Kingdom of Dreams is arguably India's most ambitious entertainment complex yet. Combining a retail-and-restaurant complex called Culture Gully, an outdoor stage for productions of the Ramayana and wedding shows, and a palatial 800-seat theater, it's Disneyland meets Bollywood. And this month, it's pioneering the country's first live Broadway-style musical ' a fusion of the aesthetics of Hinduism's mythical epics and Bollywood's tearjerkers called Zangoora: the Gypsy Prince.
For the promoters ' which include the Apra Group and Wizcraft International Entertainment, the firm behind Bollywood's International Indian Film Academy awards ' it's a huge gamble.
Apart from productions of mythological plays associated with the Hindu holidays and a small, insular art scene in Delhi and Mumbai, India has no tradition of live theater. Tickets for Zangoora range from around $25 to $150 ' well out of range of the majority of local residents. And according to local press reports, the show will have to run eight times a week for two to three years for producers to recover their investment.
"Theater in India has never gone to the scale that Wizcraft and Apra have taken it," said Hussein Kuwajerwalla, the veteran television actor and Indian Idol host who plays the title role in Zangoora. "When I saw [the complex] in front of my eyes, I thought, these guys are going big. Big and how."
So far, the novelty of live action appears to be satisfying the crowd, thanks to the show's high production values ' three cinema screens complement the sets with 3-D animation, and in one underwater sequence aerial dancers hang from wires to twirl and somersault above the audience. The house was about half full for the midweek showing that I attended, and company officials say it's packed on weekends.
"What attracted me to this was the largeness of it," said television soap veteran Kashmira Irani, who plays opposite Kuwajerwalla. "When I came to this place, I was, like, Oh my God. This is the largest theater in India, the first, and to be part of something like this, I'm sure is going to create history."
The show is impressive. Kuwajerwalla, Irani and Bollywood debutante Gauhar Khan bring a healthy dose of glamour, and the costumes, sets and choreography are up to New York standards. But can it launch Indian theater?
"Sadly, in India, the only medium that people consider people to be actors is the film medium," said Khan, who recently starred opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Shimit Amin's Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. "But when [Bollywood] directors and producers actually see me onstage, and see what I do, they are actually taken by surprise."
Stylistically, Zangoora has more in common with the television variety show and India's increasingly elaborate mythological plays than with Broadway or Bollywood. None of the actors do their own singing, of course ' lip-syncing is the norm in Indian films. The actors' microphones are tuned loud enough that their echoing voices have no semblance of verisimilitude, and the "big speeches" are pronounced in the booming, stagy tones of televisions mythological epics.
In that respect, Zangoora fits in snugly with the rest of the theme park. Billed as "an incredible Indian experience," the Kingdom of Dreams sales pitch hinges on community and tradition, just as Zangoora's main touchstone is the neighborhood productions of the Ramayana ' called Ramlilas ' which take place on the holiday of Dussehra. This month, for instance, the park's outdoor stage will feature nightly performances of Gujarati dandiya dances for the nine nights of the Hindu Navratri festival, punctuated with its own lavish Ramlila.
But as the slogan suggests, conjuring memories of the selective photography of the Ministry of Tourism's "Incredible India" ad campaign, the community offered here is an ersatz India that has been cleaned up for the upper middle class. And by all accounts, it's better than the real thing. The consensus: It's beautiful.
beautiful place," said Neha, a 23-year-old Delhi resident who'd come to
celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend. "If you can say India has
been summed up in just one place, under one roof, I would say that would
Take the Kingdom's version of the Indian street. Culture Gully is an air-conditioned stage set with six themed restaurants, street food stalls, a massage center, an astrology complex, retail stores selling products from India's most iconic regions and ' yes, Mahatma ' three street bars. A false blue sky overhead ensures that it is always twilight, and there is no evidence of the real bazaar's thickets of dusty electrical wires and crumbling buildings.
Everything is clean and sparkling and colorful. At one end of the street, a houseboat from the backwaters of Kerala lies grounded on a playground's worth of white sand. Midway down, you can board a train bound for Mumbai's erstwhile Victoria Terminus (now called Chatrapati Shivaji), then step across the street for a Chennai filter coffee.
It's strangely unreal, and (actually) rather fun. But there's something disturbing, too, about the idea that an Indian street where everything works is such a popular fantasy ' and charges about double the daily minimum wage for entry.
Joined: 03 February 2009
New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) Stephen Wynn, who is credited with transforming Las Vegas into an entertainment resort, says he had a 'dream experience' upon visiting India's live entertainment destination Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon.
'Kingdom of Dreams is superb! It is a dream experience. The cost of coming here and having fun is just complete value for money,' said Wynn, whose companies refurbished and built popular Las Vegas resorts like Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore.
Wynn witnessed the Bollywood musical 'Zangoora' when he visited the destination Wednesday. Featuring Hussain Kuwajarewala, Gauahar Khan and Kashmira Irani, the musical is a perfect mix of drama, emotion, love, action and lots of dance.
'The energy, enthusiasm and gusto in 'Zangoora' was so powerful. The live musical is great value for entertainment for the audience,' he added.
He was given a golden key as a memento by Kingdom of Dreams promoters - Anumod Sharma, chairman of Apra Group of Companies, as well as Viraf Sarkari, Andre Timmins and Sabbas Josephs of Wizcraft International Entertainment.
'We are very proud to host Stephen Wynn, who has done more for luxury,
entertainment and convention resorts than any other business leader in
the world,' Sarkari said.
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|Juhiís musical side!||Malashetty||5||437||17 January 2007 at 8:06am
|*stop hussain do suchwrite to anu,hussain||rdeepti||12||2011||30 October 2006 at 1:22pm
|Did you know Hussainís got a musical side||Eksie||15||630||08 August 2006 at 1:41pm
|hussain.......n only hussain||KHJL||28||2943||25 November 2005 at 3:37pm