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17 April 2024

Rahman, Chadha team up on Hanuman film

From left: Paul Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Stephen Schwartz, AR Rahman (SUPPLIED)

By Keith J Fernandez

Grammy-winning composer A R Rahman and British Indian director Gurinder Chadha will collaborate on a Bollywood-style animated musical, Dreamworks Animation SKG announced on Wednesday.

The company said in a statement that it was fast-tracking "Monkeys of Bollywood," which has been inspired by the epic Hindu poem “The Ramayana”. Told from the point of view of two monkey, one of which is thought to be the Hindu deity Hanuman, it is the story of how a demon king attempted to conquer the world, but it is set in modern-day Mumbai.

Broadway lyricist Stephen Schwartz and Chadha’s husband, producer Paul Berges are also on board. The quartet are currently holed up at DreamWorks Animation's headquarters in Glendale, California to continue work on the feature project.

"To reunite with Stephen Schwartz and work with such a celebrated team of artists on DreamWorks Animation's first-ever CG animated feature musical project is incredibly exciting," said DreamWorks Animation's Chief Creative Officer, Bill Damaschke. "Together we will create a movie that is full of magic, fantasy, adventure, comedy and emotion in which inspiring songs and dances will delight audiences everywhere."

Schwartz was quoted by the trade paper variety as saying he was excited by the idea of working on a Bollywood production. "As soon as I heard that DreamWorks Animation envisioned making an animated Bollywood movie, I knew I wanted to be a part of it," he said. "The fact that AR Rahman got involved made it an even more exciting project."

Chadha is best known for films such as “Bride and Prejudice” and “Bend It Like Beckham”, while A R Rahman shot to international fame with the soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire”.

DreamWorks Animation has theatrically released a total of 21 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of “Shrek”, “Madagascar”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon”.

All its feature films are now being produced in 3D.