The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dreams goldmine for Mittal

London, Oct. 14: Lakshmi Mittal, the steel tycoon well known for his entrepreneurial flair, seems well set to make money from Bombay Dreams, it was disclosed today.

The latest figures issued by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group show that the musical, with music by A.R. Rahman, has raked in £6 million since it staged its world premiere on June 19.

The budget for the musical, which has lavish dance and song and choreography by Farah Khan — she was imported from Bollywood — was £4.5 million. To date, the musical, which has been a sell out, has been seen by 250,000 people. It is now set to open in Broadway, making this Lloyd Webber’s first hit for over a decade.

Although Lloyd Webber complained that Indians were unwilling to invest in his venture, it does seem a number have, notable among them being Mittal.

On the night of the premiere, Mittal was seen arriving late, his boyish hair flopping over his head. He and his wife were eased into their expensive seats right at the front.

He told a friend: “I am seeing it for the second time — and I am not bored.” He had flown in from abroad and kept his personal jet waiting, while he took in the show, and immediately left after the premiere.

Today, although he declined to reveal how much he had invested — it is believed to be a six figure sum — he told The Telegraph: “I felt from the start it would be a success.”

The show is not yet in profit though it seems well on the way to being so.

Peter Thompson, whose PR agency promotes many West End shows, explained: “The daily running costs are very high.”

Sarah MacDonald, a spokeswoman for Lloyd Webber, said: “We have just returned another 15 per cent to investors. With earlier payments, this brings total payment so far to 35 per cent, which is very good for a West End musical. We have only been going four months.”

He said: “It has been thrilling to watch London theatregoers embrace Bombay Dreams with such fervour and we have been delighted with the response to the show. When we first started the project we carried out national auditions to find a cast that we felt would do justice to the story, music and lyrics. We have done that, and now we feel it is time to offer this amazing opportunities to others, too.”

Bombay Dreams is now preparing to audition for new cast to replace some actors in the current production who have either six-month or 12-month contracts or want to move on to other things.

Lloyd Webber seems delighted with the success of his Indian venture.

Many Indians have come to London from India specifically to see Bombay Dreams. Others visiting London on business or holiday make it a point of going to the Victoria Apollo.

Among them on Saturday was Nirupama Rao, external affairs spokeswoman.

While Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his delegation went to Chequers to see Tony Blair, Rao cut school, took a group and saw almost all of Bombay Dreams before rushing back to chair Yashwant Sinha’s press conference. “I had not expected to like it but it was lovely,” she said.

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