Saturday, 18 September 2010

Kingdom of Dreams takes tourism one notch higher

The Kingdom of Dreams, a cultural amusement park on the outskirts of New Delhi that attempts to fuse Broadway and Bollywood, gave reporters a weekend preview of its first production, “Zangoora, the Gypsy Prince,” which opens to the public Tuesday.

The musical started with extravagant dance sequences of popular Bollywood numbers, taking the audiences across Indian cultures starting from Kashmir to the western region of Maharashtra.

The story, written by scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar and set to music composed by well-known Bollywood music directors Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, was a fairly clich├ęd tale of a prince who is brought up by a childless gypsy couple after the murder of his parents by an evil general.

Fortunately, as the story became increasingly predictable, with each scene the staging, elaborate costumes and special effects became more and more unpredictable—in a good way.

At one point the dancers flooded the audience area, making heads turn with a surprise entrance from the back into the aisles. That was just the start.

Aerial acrobatics combined with animated stage sets and surround sound created an unusual immersion experience. In one scene, with “mermaids” kept aloft against a backdrop of moving ocean waters, the audience felt like it was underwater too.

The lead actor playing the part of Zangoora made one of his entries flying in over the audience while hanging from a realistic looking eagle.

“The thought behind this concept was a cinematic approach to a live show with virtual backgrounds and a feeling that the stars are walking out of the celluloid,” said Viraf Sarkari, director of Kingdom of Dreams.

But just as dreams in real life are out of reach or are for the rich so is it with the Kingdom of Dreams. The cost of tickets to the show starts at 1,000 rupees (USD $21.87) and goes up to 6,000 rupees (USD $131.28).

When asked about the affordability of the place for most Indians, Mr. Sarkari replied “One production costs us more than a good Bollywood film and if you go for a Broadway show the seats are pretty crammed. Here we are providing luxury with drinks, snacks, comfortable arm chairs,” he said.

The entire production of Zangoora that costs around 250 million rupees (USD$ 5.5 million) and three more productions like it are in the works. One of the upcoming productions focuses on the cultural extravaganza most visitors to India hope to attend.

“The production is called ‘Balle Balle My Big Fat Indian Wedding’ which will be a hardcore Punjabi wedding that will make the audiences feel like ‘Baraatis’ (wedding guests) by making them wear ‘pagdis’ (turbans), etcetera ,” he said.

For foreigners looking to have a Bollywood-style wedding themselves there is good news. The producers also plan a mock-marriage that will take place within an hour-and a-half for foreigners who would like to have an Indian wedding. (Many busy Indians might enjoy such a truncated “shaadi” as well.)

“We will have bookings for these people and we will film it and provide them with DVDs as souvenirs,” says Mr. Sarkari.

But perhaps the biggest production the Kingdom of Dreams is affiliated with is the Commonwealth Games. Composer A.R. Rahman unveiled this theme song here in August and Mr. Sarkari, the brains behind the kingdom, also happens to be the director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. He wouldn’t share any details.

Commenting on the expansion plans Mr. Sarkari said that he plans to set up a Kingdom of Dreams in Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, Bangkok, New York, London.

Mr. Sarkari eventually wants to replicate the over-the-top cultural hub, practically a mini-city that is also home to state cultural pavilions and scores of restaurants set against a backdrop of buildings modeled on old palaces, in another over-the-top city.

“My ultimate vision is to have a Kingdom of Dreams in Las Vegas,” he said.


Mohit from Nagpur said...

As the date of commonwealth games coming closer, i am getting more excited.... I hope all will go fine and we will show the best ever in hosting and in performance both.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails we are in

Sport Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory blogarama - the blog directory Sports blogs blog directory Blog Directory Golden - Links Web Directory Blog Collector Free Website Directory

Blog Directory Blog Directory

Follow this site

Link exchange | Internet Marketing