Ashvin Gidwani’s Devdas – the Musical is an adaptation of the epic Bengali novella written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, ‘Devdas’, more than 100 years ago. Devdas – The Musical depicts a chronicle of love through spectacular vibrant settings, music, and dance choreography all in a 100-minute multi-starrer stage performance.
Thanks to AGP World and supporting partners, this incredible Broadway-style theatre rendition of the timeless Indian love saga has made its World Premiere here in Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre over one of the weekends in April 2023. It is also the first-ever on-stage adaptation outside of India.
The scene started off with Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (role played by star Arif Zakaria) doing the introduction and began narrating the love story of Devdas and Paro.
The stage uses large digital screens and is able to change quickly from scene to scene. There were even subtitles being displayed on both sides of the stage which I find quite helpful to reference and the Chinese subtitles were pretty impressive.
As an opening dance sequence, Dance of Durga successfully caught the audience’s attention with the powerful yet fascinating entrance of Maa Durga, showing empowerment and strong forces.
Each sequence brings about different emotions and feelings through the characters’ facial expressions and dance movements. The dance of Radha and Krisna illustrates the beauty of first true love. The dance of Silsila (with very pretty costumes) illustrates hope and happiness. There were various celebratory dance performances including a customary wedding celebration which is an eye opener for non-Indian audiences like me.
Love the upbeat dance performance by the beautiful dancers right before the breaks.
The second half kicks off with an amazing dance performance as well with a group of guys playing on the hand drums. The energy was amazing! There were even segments with stunning aerial acrobatics and fire show as the story continue to unfold..
I’m really honored to have the chance to catch the show when they are here at Singapore Esplanade Theatre. A truly wonderful experience to watch this timeless tale come to life in an incredible Broadway-style production with elaborate set designs, vibrant colours, evocative lighting, and special effects that recreate the opulence of India’s former capital, Calcutta, during the early 1900s, which acts as a spectacular backdrop for the musical, featuring unforgettable music, exhilarating choreography, and a heart-rending, universal story of two star-crossed lovers — all packaged together to create one of the most gorgeous theatre productions ever brought to life on stage.
The original story tells the tale of Devdas and Paro, childhood sweethearts who harbour intense feelings for each other. They are torn apart when Devdas is sent away to Bombay by his father, a local zamindar (landlord), to study law. Decades later when Devdas returns to his hometown, now a handsome lad, the love between Devdas and Paro remains strong — and Paro asks him to marry her. Their dreams are short-lived as Devdas is forced to reject the proposal as Paro does not match the status of his family. Stunned by this ordeal, Paro agrees to marry an elderly widower. Devdas drowns himself in sorrow and seeks solace in the company of a glamorous courtesan, Chandramukhi. Is it now his destiny to hurtle relentlessly on the path of self-destruction? Or will the star-crossed lovers and soulmates find their way back to one another?
You can also learn more about Devdas – the Musical here at their official website.
Read More by Voice of The Ladies Cue, Meryl Loh