Shakespeare Goes Bollywood

 |Sep 16, 2016
Raghuman reciting poems to Jyothi to capture her heart during the play
Chachaji narrating the ill-fated love story of Jyoti-Raghuman while Gunguna the manipulative sister of Jyothi is dishearten by her father’s love towards Jyothi

The much awaited play by literature lovers, Shakespeare Goes Bollywood, kicked off on Thursday with a full house theatre.

Directed and produced by Matthew Koh and Fa Abdul, the two-hour play portrayed a combination of Shakespeare’s works such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and his famous poems as well.

Presented by The Actors Studio (TAS) and produced by Big Nose Productions, the play had great coordination and synchronization whilst evidently delivered Shakespeare’s rhythmic poem peppered with some comedies throughout the play.

Actor Chacko Vadaketh, who plays narrator Chachaji, delivered his storytelling perfectly understandable which kept the audience entertained throughout the play besides the classic Bollywood dance and extravaganza music.

one of the play
Raghuman reciting love poem to Jyothi with a splash of Bollywood musical dance on the background.

Choreographed by Afham Zainal, 27, the Bollywood ancient dance steps amidst the play blended well with the mesmerizing music throughout the play.

The plot of the play which featured Shakespeare’s classic plotlines, portrayed an ill-fated love affair to the “revenge-driven saga of an orphaned son” besides the revenge plan of two unattractive sisters to manipulate their father.

The play begins with thirteen year old Savitri, meeting Chachaji (Chacko), a wandering storyteller who trades stories for rupees.

Chachaji narrated an interreligious love story between Jyothi, daughter of a money lender and Raghuman, the son of a goat herder which will eventually lead to a several revengeful plots by Jyothi’s sisters and her son.

Producer Fa Abdul said Matthew (director) and herself are always “fond of trying new things”.

The musical Bollywood dance in between the story narrated by Chachaji of Jyoti and Raghuman.
The musical Bollywood dance in between the story narrated by Chachaji of Jyoti and Raghuman.

“When we found out that there were many plays being made to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400 anniversary, we thought it would be interesting to produce something different.

“Hence, we came up with Shakespeare goes Bollywood,”she told the Malaysia Outlook.

Fa Abdul said her team is working on a future play similar to Shakespeare goes Bollywood which will be produced soon.

“Just like Shakespeare Goes Bollywood, Matthew and I plan to get together to write a full length version of Nasi Kandaq Gulai Tempoyak, The Musical.

“It is a laugh-out-loud comedy, a love story between a Malay girl from a conservative malay family with a Mamak boy.

“Two years ago, we produced a 10 minute musical piece in Short+Sweet Festival (Nasi Kandaq Gulai Tempoyak) and won several awards from that musical play

“We will now work on a full length version of the musical play,” she said.

Meanwhile, the other cast members in Shakespeare goes Bollywood were Mithran Balakrishnan, Sangheetaa Phary, Lavinya Kalai Chelvan, Narinder Kaur, Bob Morshidi and many others.

Shakespeare Goes Bollywood will run for four days starting from  Sept 15  up to 18 at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac).

The show starts at 8.30pm every night except for Sept 18, which is scheduled at 3pm.

Due to high demand and overwhelming support, KLPAC will be airing an additional show on Sept 17 at 3pm and tickets will be priced at RM35, a standard rate due to Malaysia Day.

However, normal days tickets were priced at RM45 each, with a special rate of RM35 for senior citizens and the disabled, as well as TAS cardmembers and students.


Priya Pubalan has been a journalist for the past three years and counting. She believes in human equality, law and justice. She thinks capitalism should be abolished and mankind should give importance to education.