Gandhi, the superstar, in a musical
Danesh Khambata, director, Gandhi: The Musical is back with the third season of the play. He explains why Mahatma Gandhi is relevant even today
As we are about to celebrate 70 years of Independence, the makers of Gandhi: The Musical, will stage the third season of the play. It will run from August 4 to 15 at National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, Mumbai. Directed by Danesh Khambata, it follows the journey of Gandhiji from ‘Mohandas’ to ‘Mahatma’ and his ‘experiments with truth’.
When ST got in touch with Khambata, he said, “It’s a huge appreciation as we are back with the third season. I am grateful that the audience has appreciated it. I always wanted to do an original musical and this was my first step in that direction. With each season, we have improvised. What the audience didn’t like in the first season, wasn’t repeated in the second.”
The play is an NCPA Production in association with SiLLy PoiNt Productions. It stars Abhishek Krishnan, Nishi Doshi, Harssh Singh, Francois Castellino, Crystal Sequeira, and Uday Chandra. Actor Boman Irani has also lent his voice to the play. Nariman Khambata and Rahul Pais have composed the music, while Bertwin D’souza has choreographed the dance sequences. In the third season, Khambata himself will essay the role of the aged Gandhi.
The director said that the uniqueness of the play has worked with the audience. “Ours is the first musical based on Gandhi’s life because no one has ever attempted it. This makes it unique. All the 16 songs are original tracks. We have included different genres of music from Broadway classical to bhajan. We haven’t restricted ourselves to Indian music,” he added.
But was it a challenge putting together Mahatma Gandhi’s life into a two hour story considering that there are several aspects to his life? “You cannot imagine putting his life into a musical format because it’s so vast. But we have tried to put together some important anecdotes from his life. In fact, the whole focus is on showing the human side of Gandhi. We have showcased the father-son relationship,” he said.
Khambata admitted that it was a huge challenge presenting Gandhi as just Gandhi and not Mahatma. “He, himself didn’t want to be Mahatma but just Gandhi,” the director added.
And why does he feel that Gandhi is still relevant? To which, he replied, “Trust me, he is relevant even today and he’s always been relevant because of the world we live in. Some of his teachings make so much sense even today. Gandhi was the first superstar of the world. In fact, he is one of the most researched names on Google.”