AR Rahman, Grammy-winning composer, and renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur have teamed up to create Why? The Musical. It will feature lead actors Jaaved Jaaferi and Shubshri Kandiah. The musical will be empowered with sound and design by Oscar winner Resul Pookutty of the Slumdog Millionaire fame.
Why? The Musical is about a curious girl who goes on a journey with her grandfather to search for the true meaning of existence. During their quest, the girl gets attracted to a different world and discovers that the power lies within her to be the change she wants to be.
Kapur, the acclaimed director of Elizabeth and the Bandit Queen, told Variety that the first question a child asks is “Why?” “And when the child gets older and becomes wise, they are still asking why. And that’s the other thing – we are very conscious of what’s happening to our planet. We related the two things – why are we doing what we do to the planet? Why do we believe that we are separate from the planet, why we do not believe that we’ve come from the same Earth?”
The two acclaimed artists, Kapur and Rahman have previously come together for the musical Bombay Dreams, and the 2007 movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Rahman believes the good thing about this whole thing nobody is telling is that they have to cater to the audience. “It’s like we’re creating a whole genre of entertainment for a multicultural place like Dubai, which believes in unity, working together, going to the future together, sharing intelligence resources and nurturing talent,” he said. “So I said, why don’t we adopt that as a theme, or thought for the songs, and embracing all the cultures, embracing all the belief systems and find the anchor point to the songs and bring in things which would probably in the Western perspective would be ignored.”
AR Rahman says it should be made inclusive – like a celebration of the world. The 45-minute musical, performed in English, features Rahman’s original compositions. The lyrics are by Sohaila Kapur, Dana Dajani and Shivang Vaishnav. There is also a cast of 100 dancers, musicians and performers. The costume design reflects the diversity of the world.
Kapur is in awe of Rahman’s compositions. He says it speaks to the idea of forever and present an infinite quality to audiences via compositions and storytelling. Rahman says Kapur looks at everything, and with a lot of wisdom and forethought, adds up ideas which have a legendary quality.
Why? The Musical commences on January 20, 2022 at Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza and will continue through February 27.