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December 3, 2001

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'My Bombay Dreams have come true'

Vivek Fernandes

"My Bombay Dreams have come true," says Bombay-based actor Dalip Tahil, who has just landed himself a principal part in Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's forthcoming musical Bombay Dreams.

Dalip Tahil -- Bombay Dreams Tahil, a well-known theatre and film personality, has a number of local musicals, from Lord Webber's own Evita to A Street Car Named Desire and The Man of La Mancha, under his belt. "I heard the musical was in the making about a year ago. Director Shekhar Kapur had told me about it, too, when Lord Webber was here for talks with A R Rahman.

"I kept tabs on Bombay Dreams. I was so keen for a role that I located an agent for myself in London," says Tahil, currently shooting for Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, which stars newcomer Sohail Khan.

"I flew to London this September to audition for Aude Powell, director of Brunskill Management, my agent. She spoke with casting director David Grindrod, whom I auditioned for in November. Now the part is all mine," says Tahil, who plays Madan, father of the lead protagonist Priya (to be played by 21-year-old Preeya Kalidas).

"I sang Dulcinea, a song from The Man Of La Mancha, at the audition and they loved it," he goes on. "But I did push a lot. I'm glad I went after the role -- it paid off. I did all the spadework. I even trained for the part with my music teacher Hetty Fernandes," says Tahil.

"I met Lord Webber when rehearsing a song from the musical with the music supervisor, Chris Nightingale. I'm looking forward to working with him. West End is in for a right royal dose of Bombay," he laughs.

Bombay Dreams tells the story of Priya, an assistant film director, who wants to make it to the big league just like her famous director father Madan. Scripted by Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me and East is East), Bombay Dreams has Don Black penning the song lyrics. Leading Hindi film choreographer Farah Khan is also in the project.

"The script is marvelous and A R Rahman has done a quite wonderful job with his compositions. I'm not the villain but my character does have negative undertones," admits Tahil. Rehearsals begin from April 2002. Bombay Dreams opens in June 2002 at The Appollo Theatre, Victoria.

"We're still negotiating on the agreement. The musical means a year's commitment -- I will have to turn down many film and television offers. But I'm very optimistic. I want them; they want me. I'm sure we can come to an agreement."

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