[Review] Devdas - The Musicial, India's Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore - Alvinology

[Review] Devdas – The Musicial, India’s Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore

Devdas – The Musical is an exquisite Broadway-style production that brings to life one of India’s most beloved Bengali love stories first published in 1917. Based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novella of the same name, this 100-minute musical is a visual and aural delight that features elaborate set designs, vibrant colours, evocative lighting, and special effects that recreate the opulence of Calcutta during the early 1900s.

I caught the world premiere of the musical at the Esplanade Theatre on the opening night on Friday evening with my son, Asher, and even though both of us do not understand Bengali, we still enjoyed the musical tremendously, mesmerised by the colourful and vibrant songs and dances, strung together with a soulful storyline.

Here are five reasons why you should catch this musical masterpiece:

The timeless love story of Devdas and Paro

Often touted as India’s version of Romeo & Juliet, this heart-rending, universal tale of star-crossed lovers torn apart by unfortunate circumstances has been retold many times, but will always tug at your heartstrings and leave you feeling deeply moved. It is only because you know there won’t be a happy ending that the love story is all the more beautiful.

[Review] Devdas - The Musicial, India's Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore - Alvinology
Devda with his mum

Stunning performances by Bollywood actors

This multifaceted production features prodigious performances from established Bollywood actors such as Sunil Kumar Palwal, Aanchal Chauhan, Bhavna Pani, Jayesh Thakkar, and Smita Jaykar, who play key roles in the musical.

[Review] Devdas - The Musicial, India's Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore - Alvinology

Adding to the star-studded lineup is Arif Zakaria, who will play the role of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the writer of the classic tale.

Mesmerising music

[Review] Devdas - The Musicial, India's Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore - Alvinology

The musical is further enriched with songs from the original score of the Bollywood chartbuster movie Devdas, as well as mesmerising new melodies that feature an entirely original soundtrack sung by some of the most prominent Bollywood singers.

Elaborate and larger-than-life stage design

[Review] Devdas - The Musicial, India's Romeo & Juliet, Premieres in Singapore - Alvinology

In addition to the songs, the musical boasts of an elaborate and larger-than-life stage design.

The poignant music is brought to life by graceful choreography, featuring stunning performances and a fusion of Indian classic and contemporary dance styles artistically choreographed by passionate choreographer Devendra Singh (Debu).

World-class creative talent

Eminent British theatre director, writer, actor, and teacher Toby Gough, who previously scripted The Merchants of Bollywood, Taj Express, and is well-known for devising multi-cultural adaptations of Shakespeare plays, comes on board as the Creative Director for this grand musical, which is co-directed by renowned Indian director Ranga Godbole. Together with Technical Director & Production Designer Tom Kitney, Ashvin Gidwani’s Devdas – The Musical is carefully crafted to appeal to a wide audience with a high quality production value that seeks to rival that of Broadway musicals.


With its stunning performances, mesmerising music, elaborate stage design, and world-class creative talent, this musical masterpiece is a must-see for all theatre enthusiasts in Singapore. For non-native Bengali audience, it can be an interesting cultural experience to check out a world-class musical that is outside of the usual Broadway themes.

The only minor complaints we have were with regard to the subtitling. The speed of the screen display was inconsistent with the dialogue on stage, but this should get better in subsequent performances. The experience would also be better for non-Bengali conversant audience to have the subtitle for the song lyrics as well.

1 comment
  1. One of the worst musicals ever staged in singapore, the choreography was unlikeable, the actors forgot dialogues multiple times, there were dance sequences which had no relevance (the aerial ribbons dance, the shiva dance) in story or otherwise, there were efforts to put in soem humor by referring to business men and phone numbers which ended up making a mockery of the story, the number of dancers were sparse, devdas moved on stage after being stated as dead.. absolute waste of money and time, the director is better off not staging it.

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