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On December 12, 2023, three members of the Bollywood musical “Mumbai ☆ Star” – producer Devika Punjabi, female lead Arushi Nigam and male lead Avenav Mukherjee – were interviewed for a Min-On Concert Association periodical. The musical is an original production of Min-On’s that features 15 performers and an eclectic selection of traditional Indian music and dance with modern pop and choreography. “Mumbai ☆ Star” toured Japan from Nov. 16 to Dec. 19, holding 23 shows in 20 cities across Japan.

Ms. Punjab explained that musicals are a relatively new phenomenon in India, coming on strong over the last ten years; she began producing musicals before its boom, from 2010. Her careers in acting and voice training had been progressing, yet she ultimately found them wanting. “While I love acting in front of a camera or performing onstage, I just felt I wanted something more, like a platform to provide greater artistic expression,” she said.

Although she had produced only two other shows when Min-On asked her create a Bollywood musical for Japanese audiences in 2018, the producer knew why she would take the job: “I wanted to bring modern India to Japan, not some old concept of what India once was. And I hoped to validate Min-On’s core belief that artists can really make a difference in the world.”

As to the theme of “Mumbai ☆ Star,” Ms. Punjab was equally unequivocal: “The biggest struggle for an artist is fighting the ego that resides within… In the show there’s no external villain; the villain lies within the protagonist himself.”

For the two lead dancers, Japan proved scintillating. “It was priceless,” gushed Ms. Nigam. “We do not speak the same language and yet, we do speak the same language [of music].” Mr. Mukherjee added that he was a bit skeptical at first to perform in a language that is foreign to the audience, “But sometimes you don’t even need a translation because they get what we’re trying to do on stage—that’s the power of art and emotion.”

The interviewer shared that she was struck by the musical’s pageantry and choreographic diversity. Ms. Punjab agreed, saying that “it’s a marriage of styles; we have different dance forms dancing to the same music—Arushi is more semi-classical and ballet, while Avenav is more Kathak [a traditional dance in India], but the two look beautiful together.”