Mumbai, 05 June, 2023: Teach For India’s new Sufi and Hamilton-inspired musical took the stage for the first time on Saturday evening, at St. Andrew’s Auditorium, in Mumbai. With thought-provoking lyrics set to an enchanting hip-hop soundtrack, the musical enthralled audiences that included distinguished guests like AR Rahman, Boman Irani, Rahul Bose, Hrishikesh Kannan, Rajit Kapoor, Milind Deora, Anahita Uberoi, Tara Sharma Saluja, and was received with an overwhelming positive response.
Adapted from a Sufi text by Farid Ud-din Attar, The Conference of the Birds took the audience on a journey exploring the Constitutional Values of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity, alongside a flock of birds who were in search of the true meaning of “India”. Through its original soundtrack, performed by Teach For India students, the musical compelled audiences to question, laugh, cry, and come together for a larger purpose – bringing out the “I and I”, the “we” in India.
With unique hip-hop songs composed and produced by Anuraj Bhagat in collaboration with Nimo Patel, elaborate sets designed by the creative genius Fali Unwala, and breath-taking costumes designed by Simi Nallaseth, the musical was a visual treat that also delivered a strong message.
Award-winning artist AR Rahman, who attended the premiere, said, “It was an ambitious, courageous move – taking something as important as the Sufi text, the Conference of the Birds, of which I am a big fan”, and went on to share, “It was super encouraging to see everyone come together for an important message.” This musical touched upon very relevant themes and was the culmination of an 18-month long journey that began with the exploration of Teach For India’s newly developed “India & I Studies”, a set of lesson plans that help break down India’s constitutional ideals in the classroom. The India & I Studies, which have been successfully piloted across diverse schools, were offered to any educator or attendee at the musical that believes that our nation is built in our classrooms.
Boman Irani, a renowned actor and strong believer in the power of the performing arts, shared, “If it’s truthful, it’s the best story in the world. And tonight was a very truthful story, it was very beautifully told. I am very moved, and I am so glad I came.” Having attended Teach For India’s first musical, Maya, 10 years ago, he went on to say, “18 months ago, these kids did not know how to speak in English, and today they put up this show in English. And everything that they have learnt has emanated from the vision of Teach For India. This show really is a manifestation of what Shaheen and her team have been doing for so many years.”
As the curtains closed, all three shows of the musical were brought to an emotional end with a standing ovation from audiences that ranged from artists, to corporate CEOs, businesspersons, philanthropists, educators, parents, and children. As audience members left the auditorium moved by the memorable performances of the children, they enthusiastically exclaimed that the musical must be seen by as many people as possible.
The Conference of the Birds, after its maiden flight in Mumbai, is heading to Bengaluru (July 29th & 30th), and Delhi (August 12th and 13th). Tickets for the next shows are available now on BookMyShow.
The Conference of the Birds is made possible with the help of the title supporter, JSW Foundation, and the show supporters, BookASmile, Godrej, HSBC India, BNP Paribas Foundation and Max India Foundation.