`Mahim Junction’ (popularly known as MJ), written and directed by Sohaila Kapur , tells the tale of India’s diverse people, with their differing religions, languages and cultural habits, and how, despite these differences, they are united and fight any attempt to divide or exploit them. Set in a period which flaunted larger than life heroes like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Indira Gandhi, Datta Samant and the godfather-like dons, Haji Mastaan and Karim Lala… the story harks back to a time when Bollywood heroes wore their hearts on their sleeves and the villains paved the mean streets of Mumbai with gold. Yes, it was the suave seventies.
Focusing on the love story between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl, the play spans a vast canvas in the joie de vivre style of Hindi cinema of the 70s, tackling contemporary issues through its traditional epic style. Replete with bell-bottomed slumdogs, shimmying heroines, kaleidoscopic dancers, corny comedians and horny villains, the musical draws a portrait of a city that was and still is, India’s commercial hub. . In fact, as a film unraveling on stage, it is perhaps the first attempt in India to marry Bollywood to the stage.
The musical comedy first opened at the Edinburgh fringe as `Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’, and won the Herald Devil Award. It was subsequently invited for a five city tour of the UK by the Arts Council of England. It then went on to perform in Singapore.
Indian Premiere & The Journey so far.....
it premiered in India as 'Mahim Junction' at the Ashok Hotel on 5th December 2008. Since then it has performed at many prestigious venues, theatre festivals and occasions.
in April 2009 it was one of the two musicals that performed on 18th & 19th April, at the 'Salaam Bollywood 09' festival organised by the Hungry Heart Festival at Epicentre, Gurgaon. it was also one of the 10 plays invited to perform at the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival, Hyderabad, on 29th 0ctober, 2009.
in 2010 it was selected for the XIIth Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Delhi, or The National School of Drama Festival which is today acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia. The performance was held on January 10, 2010.
It travelled to the U.A.E. for the Dubai International Arts Festival, or DUCTAC, performing three shows between 18-20 February 2010.
Subsequently, it was invited to perform in Muscat, Oman, at 'The Original Theatre Festival, on June 12, 2010.
It debuted in the city of Bollywood, Mumbai with a performance at the Tata theatre, NCPA, on 23rd July 2010.
In December 2010, the play travelled to Malaysia where it performed four shows at the prestigious KLPAC, Kuala Lumpur, between 9-12 December.
Immediately afterwards, it was invited to entertain the audience on the occasion of Indian Navy Day celebrations at Mumbai.
on 28th October a show was organised for the Chelmsford Club, Delhi
The play was sent on tour by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, or the 'ICCR', as part of the 'Year of India 2011' celebrations in Canada. The performances were at the Rose Theatre, Brampton, Toronto and the James Cowan Theatre, Burnaby, Vancouver, British Columbia on 2nd and 4th November, respectively. Subsequently, the play travelled to the U.K. and performances were held at the Gandhi Hall, Withington, Manchester (11th November), The Drum, Birmingham (12th & 13th November) and the Nehru Centre, London (14th Nov).
In the last leg of the tour, it travelled to the Middle East, where it performed at the India Social & Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi on 17th November and at the Indian Consulate auditorium, Dubai, on 19th November.
The most recent performance was on Feb 24, at the Epicentre, Gurgaon, India.
It is an affectionate spoof on Bollywood films of the 70s.The story is set in a slum that has encroached on a disused local train platform in suburban Mumbai. The motley crowd that inhabits the slum are Rahim, the local dada, a good Samaritan, in love with Radha, the local belle who dreams of becoming a film star. There is Ma, her harridan mother, who would rather sell her daughter to a lascivious old priest than allow her to marry the love of her life, who is poor. Greed is concealed under the garb of communal differences. There is Ramu, Radha’s physically challenged brother, who is ready to sacrifice his life for his sister. Adding colour is Johnny the drunk, Rahim’s friend, who nurses a bottle while dissipating his trials and tribulations in an alcoholic stupor. He eyes Ayesha, the sharp-witted cross dresser, who is a street walker with a golden heart.
Who can forget the feisty villain of the piece, the film producer, DDLJ Kaladhanda, who uses Randy Bhai, a relatively innocent Harvard graduate and an NRI raring to do his bit for the country, to further his diabolical schemes. The musical sings and dances its way through two stories, a love tale between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy and that of Kaladhanda, who provides the political sub text and brings the two together in true Bollywood fashion for a happy ending. A retro film-- stirred, mixed and spiced up with contemporary sensibility.
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