Siddharth Roy Kapur
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We are thrilled with the response: Siddharth Roy Kapur

By HT

Mumbai, April 8 -- When Disney's Beauty And The Beast (BATB), supported by Hindustan Times, went live last year, little did the makers know that the audience's reaction would surpass their expectations.

With sold out shows in both Mumbai and Delhi, the makers are now ready for round two. Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney India, is investing all his energy into making the once-in-a-lifetime show bigger and better. With tickets selling fast, the producer is certain that the audience will love the experience once again.

The first set of shows of BATB was very well-received. Does that increase the pressure on you as a producer?

Since BATB was a never-seen-before Broadway-style musical introduced in the country, the pressure was definitely high then. With the success of the shows, the musical has set the stage for what could be a great future not just for Disney, but for the live entertainment industry in India. It is the biggest production of the musical anywhere in the world. While we are thrilled with the response that the first season received, we are now focused on recreating the same magic, grandeur and quality entertainment for season two.

Many assumed your company would get The Lion King to India. Why did you choose BATB?

We decided to go ahead with BATB for multiple reasons. The musical has been our first show, the first entry, in the live entertainment market in most countries. In the US, we made our Broadway debut with this show, and subsequently, in over 28 countries too. So, it's like a good luck charm for us now. More importantly, it is a simple and beautiful love story with the core themes of love and redemption, which resonates across all cultures. The success of the film, the popular characters and songs, and the familiarity of the story among Indian audiences also played a crucial role in making this our first choice.

After the first few shows of Beauty And The Beast (BATB), what did you realise about the Indian audience?

Our experiment of bringing a new genre of entertainment to the audience worked well last year, with sold-out shows in Mumbai and Delhi. Today, Indians are willing to spend on entertainment, provided the experience is unique. BATB's simple story and relatable characters will [continue to] draw in audiences.

The investment in these shows is huge. What led you to take such a big risk?

Our core philosophy is to serve audiences with unique, high-quality entertainment experiences that create unforgettable memories. Live stage musicals emerged as the ideal platform to bring this to life for Indian families. Our research showed that there was a void of quality family entertainment options. Other than eating out, watching a movie and shopping don't provide much [entertainment]. We thought that it is the right time to introduce Indian audiences to a Broadway-style musical.

When do you plan to take the show to other metros?

We will be happy to take the show to other cities in India, as we truly believe there is a demand for unique family experiences beyond Mumbai and Delhi. However, it will eventually depend on whether we are able to find the right venues to mount a show of this scale. The current theatrical venues in India offer little scope for a production of this size. Therefore, we reimagined the show to fit an arena/ stadium set-up, and went for unconventional venues like the ones in Mumbai and Delhi. Both those mini-arenas gave us the freedom to mount the show in a format that has never been done before anywhere in the world.

What more can we expect from your end?

Currently, all our energies are focused on making the second season of BATB a memorable experience for our audiences.