Ben Frumin, an American journalist in India, has a piece in the current issue of New York's Jewish Daily Forward about a Hindi version of "Fiddler on the Roof." From "From Raj to Riches, Tevye Hits Delhi":
Despite the fact that almost all her knowledge of Jews and Jewish culture comes from a couple of books and the film “Schindler’s List,” Renu Chopra, a slight Hindu woman raised in the north Indian state of Punjab, plays a surprisingly convincing Yente, the nosy shtetl matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“I’ve never met a Jew, never,” Chopra said while wrapping a black shawl around a sparkling gold-and-red kurta during a recent rehearsal. “People [in India] don’t know about Jews. They have no idea about Jews.”
That’s not surprising, considering that there are only about 5,000 Jews in this country of 1.1 billion people, and only about 40 Jews in the capital city of New Delhi. But that didn’t stop an amateur theater company here from staging a Hindi “Fiddler” that’s played five times since this past December, with four more shows scheduled for April. The play, a recent performance of which drew an audience of about 1,000, has enjoyed considerable success in a city where Bollywood blockbusters are a far bigger draw than the slim theatrical pickings.
The production — put on by Dramatech, a 23-year-old amateur theater company run by alumni of a prestigious technical institute — is a lean version of the original musical. Sagar spent months carefully translating several songs to Hindi, including “Tradition” (“Parampara”), “Matchmaker” (“War De Mujhe”), “If I Were a Rich Man” (“Jo Main Hota Malamaal”) and “To Life” (“Zindagi”). But others were cut, including “Miracle of Miracles,” “Tevye’s Dream” and “Now I Have Everything.”
Read his full piece here (the word "shtetl," which shows up a couple of times in the copy, refers to a small Jewish village or town, as seen in throughout 19th Century Europe - a word that doesn't need translation in The Forward).
See several grainy video clips from this play below. Post your comments, please.