I love my stage, my work and performing every day: Siddharth Menon

Disney’s Aladdin has made a mark and won a ton of appreciation in Mumbai. Ace actor Siddharth Menon, who plays the significant titular role in this musical, shares his thoughts on this journey.

I love my stage, my work and performing every day: Siddharth Menon

The word ‘Aladdin’ brings back many memories and emotions for many of us. It is one such presentation which has seen many forms in the world; be it a cartoon, film or a musical. What ‘Aladdin’ as a character brought to all of us is very special. He taught many to love, gave an example of a true friend, and a strong man, who fought for his beloved against all odds.

Disney’s Aladdin in association BookMyShow did the same to me. The musical was one of the best I have seen for a long time. In a candid conversation with Mumbai Live, Siddharth Menon (who plays Aladdin in the musical) shares the journey of how his dream became a reality.

He walks in with a cute, boyish charmed and a bright brought smile on his face, all set for the interview. On being asked regarding his first fond memory of Aladdin, he quickly said, “For me, it’s the film. I was hooked on to it, and obsessed with the characters. I saw it much later on TV which released in 1992, and I loved it!”

Disney Aladdin is a popular brand and has won accolades globally. This is the first time it is being performed in India, where two talented men from the theatres have been chosen to play the titular role. Talking about the selection and the preparation, Siddharth said “I’m really glad and blessed to get this opportunity. As a theatre artist, I was craving for this uncomfortable feeling somewhere, which is feeling of being constantly watched by someone. We started our preparation few months before going LIVE, and over those 3 months, every day was tough for us. Despite that, we felt protected for and by each other. Our chemistry and teamwork is outstanding, as we understand what everyone can bring to the table. Even today, when we perform, we don’t feel alone. There is a sense of fear which vanished, and we started enjoying and that has grown with time.”

Siddharth’s character as Aladdin had to be transformed physically, as he had to perform continuously for more than 2 hours – singing, dancing and communicating with the audience with all his energy. Despite the experience, he had to undergo a training constantly with the crew’s fitness expert Nupur Shikare, fondly known as Popeye. Sharing his excitement about this transformation, he said, “All thanks to our Popeye, who introduced and got us addicted to calisthenics. All of us has different workouts and each has a different goal. Eventually, after some days, it became a habit to train and before I knew it all happened. Popeye has worked on building our stamina which was needed because we need to perform continuously. This physical training also helped us mentally. Practice made us perfect. But the challenge was to make muscle memory natural, which eventually became possible.”

Siddharth shares the role with Taaruk Raina. Both the talented lads who play Aladdin are more friends than competitors. They have their own schedule for the show, but they ensure they are in touch with each other, irrespective of their performance and wish each other the best. “Whenever Taaruk or I, are not performing, we make sure we send messages every day, at least once in a day, to wish each other the best. Break days are the more difficult, as I miss the stage. It’s my second home. I love my work and performing every day. We are so well tuned and used to with this schedule now that watching everyone performing on stage, makes me join them.”

To bring our interesting conversation on an end, I asked him about a character he’d love to play besides Aladdin, to which he quipped, “I would love to play Genie. He is the best part of the show.” But on being given a chance to ask just one wish (if he had a genie), the kind lad said, “If given a chance to ask for would be a superhero. I wish I had a mix of all superpowers, a bit of everything. Otherwise, I wish to be the power to heal, anything.”

Siddharth’s titular role has been performed with utmost dedication and has impressed the audience in Mumbai. Broadway-style musicals are new to the country, and such productions only make the belief concrete that this new form of entertainment is heading in the right direction. Experiencing and encouraging such efforts is key. Disney’s Aladdin is a show not to be missed.