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DDLJ Musical faces flak for casting white actor Austin Colby for the role of Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj; fans express disappointment

Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is facing flak for casting a white American actor for the role of Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj.

Ever since it was announced that producer Aditya Chopra is set to direct Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge again and it will mark his debut as a director on Broadway, fans have been eagerly waiting to see who the cast members are. Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is being produced by Yash Raj Films. Based on an original story by Chopra, the musical will feature lyrics by Laurence Oliver Award-winner Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde, Mean Girls), and Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani will serve as composers. Now, they have found their Raj and Simran but also facing flak for casting a white actor for the role of Raj.

Come Fall in Love – DDLJ Musical has a western twist to it with Raj becoming Rog (Roger Mandel). It will be played by American actor Austin Colby who will step into the shoes of Shah Rukh Khan. However, Kajol’s Simran will be played by Indian-American actress Shoba Narayan. Austin shared the news on his Instagram and wrote,  “A few months ago, I had never heard of the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) or known of its global impact. I am in awe of this beautiful love story, celebrating Bollywood film at it’s finest. And now, to have workshopped Come Fall In Love – The DDLJ Musical under the original director, Aditya Chopra, and trusted with the role of Raj (now Rog) to bring Bollywood to Broadway as a reimagined, inclusive cultural experience will undoubtedly be the greatest honor of my career. I hope I make you proud, @iamsrk.”

But, as the news was announced, it didn’t sit well with the fans as many called out the makers for casting a white actor for the role of Shah Rukh Khan. Chef Vikas Khanna was amongst few who expressed his disappointment.

Tony and Emmy winner Rob Ashford (Frozen, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Boys from Syracuse) will choreograph with associate choreographer Shruti Merchant. The design team will also include set design by Emmy and Tony Award winner Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge!, Hairspray Live!, 33 Variations) and music supervision by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning Bill Sherman (In The Heights, Sesame Street, Hamilton). Adam Zotovich is the Executive Producer for the project.

Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is set to be on stage in the Broadway season of 2022-2023, with a World Premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in September 2022. A global casting search begins shortly headed by Duncan Stewart of Stewart/Whitley casting and Yash Raj Films casting head Shanoo Sharma.

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