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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Bombay Dreams: Your views
Bombay Dreams is the latest Andrew Lloyd-Webber venture
The colourful production has had a run of previews

Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Bombay Dreams has opened in the West End, taking its inspiration from Bollywood cinema.

The show has a reported budget of £4.5m and is based on a love story set against the backdrop of the famous Bombay film industry.

Goodness Gracious Me actress Meera Syal has written the script, with Lloyd Webber's long-time collaborator Don Black composing the lyrics.

So what did you think?

This debate is now closed. You can read a selection of your comments below.

We were invited by some friends to see a preview of the show, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It is fabulous, with excellent dancing and singing throughout. If you enjoy quality musicals, this show is a must and does have universal appeal.
Leslie Scott, UK

AR Rahman's music as always is uplifting, inspiring and brilliant. The tunes of Wedding Qawwali, Saalam Bombay, Ganesh, Love's Never Easy and The Journey Home bring out the true essence and beauty of Indian music. Chaiyya Chaiyya still remains a favourite although it¿s never quite the same without Shah Rukh Khan dancing to it.

The star of the Bombay Dreams musical, however, has to be Kuljit Bahmra, one of the percussionists who delivers AR Rahman's dynamic rhythms. What a performance!!! True to Bollywood style, his bursting enthusiasm, zest and passion for the music was captivating¿ infectious to the point of making you want to jump out of your seat and join the cast dancing!!
Selena & Shalene , Aust/UK

Shakalaka Baby was amazing, the dancing is generally very good, and the script was funny at times. The story is predictably poor, so don't go to see this if you really want a great story (but then again, if you want a great storyline, don't bother going to see a musical, just read a book!) A fun night all in all.
Dolan Basak, UK

Wonderful fusion of Indian and Western. The exerience was truly amazing. Well done ALW and the team. Nice to see Indian dreams coming alive in the UK with this production. A musical that will give you a chance to experience the popular street culture of Mumbai!
VJ, UK

The previews for the show drove me to the first Saturday show. I was impressed with the quality of shorts that were being used to advertise the show.

As it is with many productions these days, they only show you the best, which is sometimes all of what will fill a commercial.

The dancing, motions, and supporting cast were impressive. Outside of Preeya Kalidas, Dalip Tahil, and Ayesha Dharker, the remaining primaries left much to be desired. The melodrama was too much and the part of Kitty was not very original. It was something of a cross between Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers gone wrong.

The show had poor transitions between scenes.

Don't misunderstand me, there was wonderful use of the entire stage, great scenery, the musicial score was good, but perhaps lost something in the transition to a Western audience.

My recommendation is not to be lured into something because of a name attached. Creative license has gone too far to be accurate. I'm just glad that other musicals didn't go for the similar style, so that I might have something else to enjoy.

This is nothing against the culture, which I admire and appreciate. Simply a bad show.
Michael Jones, US

I just wanna say congratulations to Sir Lloyd Webber for this outstanding performance. Well done to you and the rest of the crew. I'm 12 and I am a great fan of A.R Raheman.
Neha Chandarana, London

I've listened to Bombay Dreams' music and seen some of the video clips, and am extremely impressed. Rahman's music is exciting. Even though, some of the songs are from his Hindi/Tamil hits, the re-composing to suit English flavour is done extremely well. I am sure this will take Rahman and Indian music to new heights! Wishing Andrew, Kapoor, Rahman, Farah and all those behind this creation, a great success!
Ganesh, UAE

Stunning! Music that transcends all regional barriers... Rahman the man who has the potential to take the world by storm. This piece of work has got me interested in more of his works. Webber sure found a great talent in him.
Mat, UK

This is really good for Bollywood. People will start to recognise Indian cinema and they will respect it. Shakalaka Baby is a great song and it will be a hit in the UK. I love Shahrukh Khan.
Melissa Seneviratne, Sri Lanka/ UK

Bombay Dreams provides an ideal backdrop for some of the most exciting raunchy dance routines and creative use of the stage that I have ever seen.

The Apollo Victoria is a fascinating venue, its art deco interior beautifully showcased by the awesome lighting throughout.

The energy commitment and enthusiasm of the cast and crew shines throughout the entire performance. The Shakalaka Baby routine was terrific, a real feast for the eyes and ears. Enjoy!
Annette Davies, England

Peter Thomas says that "Bombay Dreams is really let down by a predictable plot, witless humour and uninspired staging". So then Peter, you've obviously never watched a Bollywood film before?
Ali, UK

The famous author about his love of Empire had written that "East is East and West is West and two shall never meet" in his book called "Paradise Lost" when India became independent. Well he must be turning in his grave because they have met on a London Stage. It has to be success for the sake of understanding both the cultures.

Congratulations to Lord Webber, Rahman and Meera for the great work. I saw it on the third day of the preview. Will be seeing again soon with my children, both of whom are in their twenties.
Suresh Chandarana, Hertfordshire, England

I was wary of how mainstream critics would receive Bombay Dreams. I feared it would be judged through Western-lenses of what musicals and music should be like, or even worse, through Western ideas of what Asian music should be like!

And on reading one particularly brutal review today my fears came true. The reviewer totally missed the point and style of Bollywood, people should not go to Bombay Dreams expecting a Western musical, they should go expecting an Indian musical, which is exactly what Bombay Dreams is, and has been greatly appreciated as, by the people in the know, those who have been watching Hindi films for years and love them to bits. Excellent work Rehman and Webber!
Rania Kashi, London, UK

When I first heard about the collaboration between Lord Webber and AR Rahman, I thought it was a brave project, which probably will not work. However, I am glad I was wrong. The cast was fantastic, the songs were brilliantly performed and the costumes and choreography was amazing. Coming out of the theatre, I couldn't help noticing everyone (of all nationalities) were humming or singing Chaiya Chaiya.
Ayesha Rahman, London

Fantastic score with an intoxicating blend of Indian and Western pop music. And a great energy expressed through dance routines rather than in the quality of the performances - which ranged from accomplished (Priya) to downright poor (Akaash). But Bombay Dreams is really let down by a predictable plot, witless humour and uninspired staging. I mean - how many ways can the director contrive to soak the cast in the first half....
Peter Thomas, UK

Great music....Shakalaka is something that I have never heared before. And above all, it was something different.
John Gabeheart, UK

I saw the show in a preview approximagely two weeks ago and can only hope it has been improved. Reading some of the other e-mails it looks as if I saw a different show. Yes the music etc. was different but was it good?

Was probably one of the most boring nights in the theatre for a long time. Sets and costumes were OK but the majority of the leads were only just satisfactory and the book and songs passable. Show saved at times by the dancing. Just because Lloyd Webber is associated does not mean that it is good. I certainly did not feel that I had seen a new world class show. It seems that everything assiciated with Bollywood is fashionable but surely it has to be good as well.
Joe Castle, England

Absolutly brilliant, we saw it on preview and are going again this Saturday to see it again. I agree the reviewer totally missed the point - wonderful fun.
Margaret Walker, UK

I saw Bombay Dreams on the very first of the preview. Even after having followed all the build up during the past few months, I walked into the theatre not knowing what to expect from Rahman's music, which I was familiar with. The music was great ¿ not enough of it.

Choreography was brilliant and everything else was outstanding too; but story lets the whole musical down. Is it because: I am an Asian, who spent most of my adult life in England and was so used to similar story lines of Indian cinema or trying cater for mixed (Western and Asian) audiences? The writing completely lost the plot. The answers to these questions may come in time. Certainly, the American tourists who were sitting next me had a similar view. The dull moments of this musical need to be rectified to get a deserved standing ovation and not become Lloyd Webber¿s London Dream.
Lingesh Bhaskaran, UK

Bombay Dreams is one of the most brilliant takes on Bollywood that I have seen since living in England. I first thought it would be in the same genre as Goodness Gracious Me and after being forced to see it I was pleasantly suprised. I think that it did tackle some very delicate issues regarding the industry and managed to bring out the exaggerated aspects of Bollywood humour with a great sense of humour and brilliant choreography. A very exciting evening out indeed.
Shazmeen Hussain, India

Brilliant. Bombay Dreams is a long cherished dream fulfilled. At best, modernising the traditional Indian Art of Kathakali while breathing new and refreshing life into the Mecca of theatre, the West End.

Hopefully Bombay Dreams will spread the joy and also take big bad Broadway by storm.

Heartiest congratulations to the cast and crew, also thanks and sincere salutations to Lord. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mr Shehkar Kapur and the musical maestro Mr AR Rehman...and finally the fiery choreographer Farha Khan. With love, peace and respect. Imam.
Imam Siddique, India

I was eagerly waiting for reviews from critics after watching the show and I was not actually surprised to find mixed views about the show from critics. I agree with one earlier post that the critics need to view the show keeping in mind that the effort by Webber is to give it a Bollywood touch. This makes it essentially different from Western musicals and I am sure, that had this been done, many critics would have other opinions.
Mihir Kapoor, UK

Saw the show and had a great time, I am not a great lover of musicals or of Webber's work. Both the audience and the cast thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Patrick Fousset, UK

What a load of rubbish!
Jon James, UK

Saw it yesterday, and am glad to say I watched a brilliant visual and musical spectacle. The music and energetic dance sequences are enough to make me want to see it again. Congratulations to Lord Lloyd-Webber, A R Rahman, Shekar Kapur and a wonderful cast.
Andrew Lassiter, UK

I wanted to love the show, but was disappointed. The book and the script are a mess, with little plot structure, allowing little character development. The second half improves, mainly because of the large set pieces, with the whole cast on stage, giving you the spectacle the Western audience tends to associate with Bollywood movies.

The leads are attractive but lacking in the vocal department (many of the principals are over-miked) but Raj Ghatak as Sweetie is touching in a very unusual part, as a eunuch - even when a throat infection meant he had to mime to a singer off-stage!

Kitty, the fading gossip queen steals all the best lines, while the real star of the show is the set - the pool of water, the fountains and the tropical monsoon are spectacular. Shame the rest of the show doesn't live up to it.
Steve Bustin, UK

The soundtrack is amazing. I haven't been to the show yet but have bought the CD and the performance of Shakalaka on Ant & Dec's Saturday show last week was breath taking - it will be number one in that charts a week on Sunday without a doubt.
Ash, London, UK

As a British-Indian, I was most interested in seeing this show. I hadn't read or seen any of the promotional material in order to keep an open mind, and boy was I surprised!

BD is an excellent piece of theatrical work. The songs and costumes are perfect and the acting, apart from the rather quiet Preeya Kalidas, is superb.

This is a very clever mix of theatre and Bollywood. The story is simplistic, easy to follow and never takes its eyes off its roots in India.

Some will say that the story lacked depth and failed to deliver its message of love through the divide but I disagree.

This is an Indian story produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, not an Andrew Lloyd Webber story set in India, and it succeeds 100%. A must see.
Ketan Patel, UK

I went to see the show on its first Saturday night. The set and effects were spectacular. Although the story was a little slow moving in places the music and energy of the cast made up for this. The dancing was sensational. I recommend it for a thouroughly entertaining evening. The cast were very friendly after the show at the stage door, they stayed, chatted and signed autographs for the crowd of people awaiting their arrival. The all worked incredibly hard and deserve to be congratulated for a fabulous performance.
Sarah, Cambridge, England

Touche, touche, I say to the whole performance. It has all the style and rhythm that you would expect from Andy Boy Lloyd Weber. It is electric and I am going to go again and again with my parents.
Jeremy

I thought Bombay Dreams was a let down, by all standards. I've seen some amazing musicals in the past, but sadly this wasn't one of them. The singing was weak, and at times I was worried that Priya and Raza weren't going to reach the top notes; a feature I think is not up to West End quality.

I think it will be popular for a year or so, but never classed as a West End breakthrough, and won't be here like Les Miserables for example in years to come. The comedy was dry and witless, the set was sparse and very unlike a Bollywood movie, which it claims to be. Sorry folks, not my cup of tea!
Jason Kapoor, Cambridge, England

When I first heard about Bombay Dreams I was thrilled and really excited and wanted to know what it's all about. I went to see the musical and was very impressed, the way the Indian culture has been represented. It seems like it has been appreciated by the mass audience, and people from all over the world are coming to London to see this musical, which means a lot.

A R Rahman has once again done a terrific job with the music, dances have been choreographed amazingly well. I will definitely go and see this musical again and I would recommend it to everyone. The idea is very good and it has been successful. Keep up the good work.
Preeti, London

The show is absolutely spectacular! I loved it so much I would definitely go and see the musical again. The actors and actresses are truly talented and help bring the show into reality and enjoyable for a wide range of people to watch. The main actor Akaash played by Raz is extremely good looking which will attract younger girls.
Sueshyl, London

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