Going West

The billboard on the theater in New York City reads: A R RAHMAN'S BOMBAY DREAMS. The locals may scoff. A R Who? He's a Broadway composer? He is now, and musical theater has rarely been so lucky. The most geriatric genre of American culture is getting a transfusion of world music. And when Rahman makes that music, it's truly world-class.

Fans of Indian movies need no introduction to Rahman. Like Gershwin, Puccini or Lennon-McCartney, the name stands for melody, quality, energy, instant hummability—a sound both personal and universal, devouring older forms and transforming them into something gorgeously...

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