"It's just truly horrible from every aspect"
Fans of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) have criticised the decision to remake it as a musical where the main character is reimagined as a white man.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj in the 1995 classic is as iconic as the film itself.
That is why Bollywood fans were disappointed when they found out that the film is being redone as a musical where Raj has been reimagined as a white man named Rog.
Rog, short for Roger Mandel, will be played by Austin Colby in the upcoming Broadway-aimed production Come Fall in Love — The DDLJ Musical.
In the film, Kajol played love interest Simran.
The production will see Simran keep the same name and be played by US-Indian actress Shoba Narayan.
Lovers of the film said they are shocked that the whitewashing of characters is still happening in 2022.
One person tweeted: “This is beyond HORRIFYING. So Broadway is adapting the iconic Bollywood movie, DDLJ into a musical and guess who they cast to play Raj… YES A WHITE MAN.”
Another said: “It’s just truly horrible from every aspect, whitewashing the role of Raj.”
Others said Asian roles continue to be taken away, especially since representation is so slim.
“I am sick and tired of white people taking away representation from South Asians, we hardly get any.”
Renowned chef Vikas Khanna was initially excited about the stage adaptation but after finding out about the casting, stated that he might not see it.
I got super excited when I my friends informed that DDLJ (my fav film)was coming on Broadway.We decided to fly.
Then I read that ICONIC Raj is played by Austin Colby as Rog Mandel.I might never see THIS. ?
Cast Of DDLJ- Broadway Musical By Aditya Chopra https://t.co/P2nyGasEUD
— Vikas Khanna (@TheVikasKhanna) July 30, 2022
Following the news of his casting, Austin admitted he was not familiar with the original production.
In an Instagram post, he wrote: “A few months ago, I had never heard of the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) or known of it’s global impact.
“I am in awe of this beautiful love story, celebrating Bollywood film at it’s finest.”
In response to the comparisons, Austin stated that he is not going to pretend to play Raj, the way SRK did.
He said: “I’m aware what my involvement in this production means to many people and I completely understand its impact.
“I’m not the Raj that Shah Rukh Khan made us fall in love with, nor will I ever pretend to be.”
Austin went on to say that he is excited to be part of the story and hopes that people love it as much as they do.
The musical is set to open in San Diego on September 14, 2022 with the aim of debuting on Broadway in the 2022-2023 season.
It’s helmed by Aditya Chopra, who directed the original production.