Heartthrobs 2002: Faud Omar's Review

Published On: 2012-05-31

Author: unknown

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Heartthrobs 2002 London

By: Fuad Omar

When it comes to live stage shows, there are events and there are experiences. Heartthrobs 2002 was definitely a major event that had to be seen to be believed, creating an experience for every member of the audience they will not forget for years to come. The show has been years in the making and longer in anticipation. What began as an eagerly awaited Hrithik Roshan show that sold on his name alone had snowballed into a live event that promised to be the first of its kind. There's only one first time and the entourage of talented young performers who came and gave their all, conquering the UK stage and imagination of their audience, many of them gave performances that reflected a professionalism and perfection that belied a debut. 

The show's compere Raageshwari kicked off the masti by pumping blood through to everyone's hearts, getting them racing with enough adrenaline to start a fire. Singing some of her hits including the immensely popular Duniya and Oye Shava, the young, but-now veteran stage princess gave a long-overdue and resoundingly popular UK debut, and having said this before I still believe her place is on the international stage, with no less than the best. The wonderful singer and bubbly Rags needs only a moment to charm her audience and then for life, they're hers! 

She humorously introduced a man appearing in rags, after stating Aftab had been in an accident on the way to the arena, allowing him to slowly peel off the mummified bandages and turn to the audience causing hysteria among the young fans who had waited so long for their favourite to come this side of the country. In a sincere performance that was trademark Aftab-to-the-core he ploughed through a medley of his hits such as Deewana Mujhe Kehta Hai, Deewana Mera Hai and Mast, in which he got all corners of the arena to join him in screaming at the top of their lungs, cheering him on further. A visibly moved Aftab dashed off stage to soak in the warm welcome he had just been given. He has been waiting a lifetime to address his fans like this, and he realised tonight he has many more than he ever could imagine. 

The lights dimmed and an ocean of beacons began dancing across the back wall of the stage as familiar notes played and an angel in white descended from above. Karisma Kapoor entered to the tune of Fiza and received a rapturous applause that ensured a smile never left her face thereafter. After teasing the audience with this small segment, Arjun Rampal exploded onto the stage to screams and cries as he launched into his hot favourite track Jaan Le Va from the international success Moksha. His first deadly look towards the crowd caused a ripple of arms to wave and try to reach out to the man who has in so-little time become a part of so many's lives as a dream come true. The tall, lean and muscular framed Rampal gave an energetic performance that left many breathless even after he had left the stage. No one was expecting him to move the way he did, poised with grace, an earthy ruggedness and yet still dancing like a pro. When Arjun jumped, his feet stamped the stage while landing in such a way that coincided with the thunderous roar of the now-manic audience. As girls clamoured to the front trying to get closer to their idol, security began pushing the crowd back, all while Arjun coolly smiled and told the audience how happy he was to be there. Realising the magic of the moment, Arjun grabbed a camcorder and told the audience he wanted to savour this forever as he filmed the audience that cheered him on. If he had any doubt of how much of a cult star he has become, it was wiped from his mind instantaneously.

The darling of British Asians everywhere made her first appearance on the show clad exactly how the fans remember her, in the guise of the lovable and fashionable, Oxford-New Bond St-hopping Poo from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Earning many catcalls and whistles, Kareena Kapoor made an impact from the moment she walked on stage, the same way she has done so in every frame of her celluloid ventures. Echoes of It's Raining Men caused almost all the female members of the audience to jump up and down and show solidarity in sisterhood with the fashion-conscious and ultra-high brow Poo, and some even mimicked the 'Oooooooh' that complements her on-screen antics. Kareena showed she is here to stay, proving her ability to not only capture hearts on-screen but to also steal them on-stage.

The man who had made miracles happen in the past two years was next. To give him tags and names would never do him justice, just like all phenomenons the only way to know the atmosphere that filled the air when people knew he was next, is simply indescribable. Hrithik Roshan made his London entry in style, dressed in cool black and showing he is the king of stage as well as screen, causing what can only be called beyond mass hysteria as he danced to Ae Mere Dil from his debut superhit film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. His body flowed with every beat as he executed the most intricate of dance moves, leaving many gaping in awe and realising the magic they had expected to see had been surpassed the minute his feet touched the stage. The crowd roared further as he danced with two toddlers teaching them his infamous jump from the song, giving them a kiss each before they exited stage left. He took the mic to thank everyone and say how he had been looking forward to finally performing in the UK, and introduced a surprise guest of the evening, Salman Khan, who entered waving to his fans who reciprocated with screams untamed. After a few words he introduced his brother Sohail Khan's new movie trailer, before bringing out Sohail himself and requesting the movie-goers give him as much support as they had given him.

A slightly restless audience began feeling the withdrawal symptoms of the live experience but rose to their feet once more as Kareena took centre stage, her body hovering to the music of San Sanana San from Asoka before being surrounded by bandits who were after the warrior princess. Her hero emerged yielding a whip and in a moment generated more screams and mesmerised all as he walked calmly to his princess and stole her heart. Arjun, appearing in a see-through black top and black baggy pants, sporting a tilak on his forehead, gazed deeply into Kareena's eyes causing the audience to melt to the tune of Roshni Se in what must be one of the most romantic and sensual live performances I have ever seen on stage. The manner in which the two artistes carried themselves and co-ordinated perfectly a romantic's dream left many breathless and did justice to the wonderful picturisation of the on-screen version of the song. A beat later they were surrounded and the audience began shaking their shoulders and dancing away along with their favourite twosome to the popular O Re Kaanchi song from Asoka. This was without a doubt one of the many highlights of the show and left a resonating presence with many. Kareena is a joy to watch and the best thing is there's so much more in her and far better things to come, she always succeeds in taking your last breath away. Arjun has proved in these two performances alone that he had stolen the show, the dude who won the Best newcomer award earlier this year, proved once more why exactly he is one of the most exciting things to happen to the silver screen in a long time.

After stealing your hearts and exiting stage right, Arjun paved the way for the jovial Aftab who tickled it with a hilarious performance from Biwi No.1 with Karisma and another dancer. Teasing each one and delivering his usual comic mannerisms, the youngest of the Heartthrobs went from Ruki Ruki to Mirchi in no time, ending his stint by paying homage to the world cup and hurling footballs into an already ecstatic audience. By now it was clear the fans were on a pleasure overload and had gotten much more than they had expected, but the magic was far from over. 

After a few more songs and a heartstring-tugging performance by Raageshwari, the back lit up with stars setting the stage for Hrithik and Kareena to saunter on to the voice of Jab Dil Mile Mile, which got those who had any remaining energy in their bodies to dash forward and try to get a closer look at their favourite heartthrob and sensation dancing alongside the girl who has brought a new angle on Indian cinema. The song was extremely well choreographed and melted into Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai's Iss Pyar Ko Mein Kya Naam Doon as everyone's lips mouthed 'ruppa pa ruppapa pa' and the feet began tapping. Those who paused to regain their breath, did so wisely as Hrithik emerged from the front of the crowds to Rind Poshmal with every drumbeat seeing a fan leap forward trying to touch his hand as he reached out to the audience full of smiles and love for those who have put him where he is and helped ensure no amount of bad press can knock him. Every time he appeared on stage, not only was the shrilling response evident, but also the magic he brings with him. People's faces lit up and they began laughing and crying unable to contain the happiness of seeing the young boy who has grown through so many different roles in no time and found a place in the hearts and minds of everyone, deservedly so as he gives back just as much affection he receives. As if this gesture was not enough, the beats of Bhumro began and he emerged after Kareena dancing with ease like a man with an endless well of energy, before disappearing into the dark to claps and screaming compliments, as well as 'I LOVE YOUs' and 'DON'T GOs'.

Light entertainment followed as Raageshwari called a Punjabi sardar from the audience to dance on stage. The slightly overweight and thrilled taxi driver revealed his desire to dance with Karisma and answered all of the compere's questions incorrectly and hilariously, his nervousness of being on stage clear, yet also his impeccable comic timing. After convincing the young host to call someone to dance with him on stage a girl was called from the audience who seemed shy of the burly man at first, until he slipped into something more comfortable to dance in. Peeling off the layers, the audience gasped as from underneath the turban, thick black beard and pregnant belly came a lean, mean Adonis in the form of Arjun Rampal, who had successfully fooled everyone, leaving the girl on stage covering her mouth as she shook her head in disbelief before attempting to mutter 'I can't believe this' into the mic. 

The dashing dude took her hand and launched into a Punjabi song and dance, where she moved with him accurately, yet still had plastered on her face a look that defied the logic of what was happening. A hug later, a huge white teddy bear gifted and probably a heart pounding like never before she walked composed off stage, before widening her eyes and screaming as she reached her seat, sharing her thrilling experience with the friends she sat with. Calling more on stage and requesting the overly tight and less-understanding-than-any-sane-person security to relax, Arjun brought two youngsters together and even got them to propose, fall in love and shot his cupid arrow right through their hearts, giving them phones to make sure they'd keep in touch for more than the five minutes following their moments of glory. He then caused a security nightmare by inviting any and every girl to join him on stage for Pyar Ishq aur Mohabbat and this was the moment many of the event security realised: you can't hold back affection, so move out of the way or get trampled on! The bevy of girls who made it to the stage hugged him as he lifted them, touched his hair and danced with him until the lights went out and each one was safely returned to their seat.

It is ironic that in a show called Heartthrobs, Arjun ensured his name, charisma and presence was clearly etched into the hearts of everyone who came to see him. With an energetic aura hovering around him that oozed a magnetism never-before-seen, the young man of steel evoked screams and sighs, stealing not only every young girl's heart, but also their heartbeat. Karisma and Hrithik appeared together on stage as the excitement continued with them rendering the romantic Chand Sitare from KNPH and causing the women to swoon and the men to hold their partners close, for what turned the auditorium to the liking of a college prom. Lovers swayed to the scintillating music with their gaze fixed on Hrithik and Karisma, both who exuded a chemistry none-expected, sweeping each other off their feet and causing many hearts to return to normal level in a soothing lullaby.

Announcing the next number was dedicated to the man who made everything for him possible , Hrithik paid respects to his father with an unrestrained and heart-warming smile as his eyes scoured the arena welling up slightly not only from joy of the moment he basked in what he had achieved and the many who had come to see him, but also for being his father's son, a man who has inspired him throughout and taught him to be the person he is today. Sitaron Ki Mehfil was probably the most anticipated song of the evening, having already been performed on stage in his debut film the crowd went wild on seeing it before their very eyes. Hrithik moved like lightning, doing every choreographer he has worked with proud and making certain that wherever his father was, he knew he was dancing for him and so he danced straight from his heart to the beat of his soul. Cheers and cries, slogans and screaming reminded everyone in the arena that magic was being made this very moment as heartbeats got faster and a huge round of applause followed his once-in-a-lifetime performance. Visibly emotional, Hrithik caught his breath before saying a silent prayer thanking God for all he has been blessed with, something he does often taking each high as a humble gift. Backstage he was greeted with pats on the back and hugs, returning victorious from a difficult and physically demanding routine that he carried off in a way that seemed effortless.

The show ended with Karisma's lively and entertaining rendition of Hum To Mohabbat Karega which had everyone singing alone, followed by Aftab's huge favourite Dil Pe Chaane Laga from Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai and Arjun's clad-in-black Aankhen. Returning to the stage for one last adieu, Hrithik evoked hysteria once more with You Are My Soniya, where he and Kareena literally recreated the magic of Farah Khan's choreography and Karan Johar's film to the hilt, in what had everyone's heads bopping to the beat. The grand finale followed with the entire Heartthrob cast being reunited for Bole Churiyan where everyone looked amazing sporting similar outfits and danced like a dream, gaining the audience's final remaining drops of sweat and tears, as they sent them off in the warmest possible way, London-style and full of smiles. As with any show, it had its minus points, most of which were due to bad organisation from the UK promoters side, and seating arrangement and pricing meant anyone who paid under £60 for a ticket had a poor view of the event, but these are all covered in my column this week, here I want to just review the show.

Overall the show exceeded expectations, and proved true that you can't set out to make magic, it just gets created when the sparks are there. The six sparks that joined together, catalytically fuelling the other ensured the night was one never to be repeated and committed to be one of those magical evenings you remember with a smile and warmth, feeling content you were a part of it. Hrithik dazzled, Arjun evoked awe, Aftab endeared, Karisma crackled, Kareena mesmerised and Rags refused to let the audience be bored for even a second. In what must have been one of the best live shows to date, the long-awaited Heartthrobs certainly came, saw, entertained and conquered. Disappearing into the night, the sky glowed brighter as returned to it were those it had lent us for one evening only. When it comes to live stage shows, there are events and there are experiences. This one blew them both away: it was sheer unadulterated magic.