Spectacular Bollywood show in S. Africa

Published On: 2012-06-05

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Spectacular Bollywood show in S. Africa, but little originality


DURBAN: It was a spectacle of colour, light, costume and pyrotechnics using state-of-the-art technology, but there was very little original in a Bollywood show here.

That, however, did not stop the almost 50,000 fans from enjoying the "Now Or Never" event at the ABSA stadium here Saturday night.

They joined Deputy President Jacob Zuma and Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi in cheering on Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, the Kapoor sisters Karisma and Kareena, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Sanjay Dutt, Sushmita Sen and Shilpa Shetty as they appeared on stage together.

The show was co-produced by Bachchan and his long-time friend, award-winning South African filmmaker Anant Singh. The choreography was byGanesh Hegde.

Most of the stars just danced to medleys of songs from their films as their items, interspersed with songs by singers Sadhna Sargam,
Sunidhi Chauhan, Chetan Rana and Sapna Mukherjee, built up to a crescendo for Bachchan.

The legendary Indian actor raised the crowd to its feet to sing "Shava shava" with him as he danced to the song from the hit film "'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham".

But even his other items were basically the same as those in his world tour show in 1991.

The exceptions were Shah Rukh with his brave fire-eating act, Sushmita in a stunning dance act simulating the sea and waves of the
coastal host city, and Shilpa arriving on stage in a colourful traditional Zulu rickshaw.

Among the singers, Chauhan stole the show, especially with her renditions of the Whitney Houston song "I will always love you" and the husky "Ishqan ishqan".

Sargam did an excellent classical song, in an obvious attempt to let the audience know that Indian music was not only about popular Bollywood music, but also about its classical roots.

Most of the songs selected for the show were, however, not ones that have achieved great popularity in South Africa, leading to some disappointment with the audience.

Compere Rageshwari irritated the audience with her persistent exhorting of the audience to "make a noise".

"Perhaps she should have rather done a couple more of her pop items like the one with which she opened her appearance in the show," commented avid Bollywood music fan Prem Vohra.

"As for Sapna Mukherjee, she should just retire gracefully and not bore South Africans with the same three songs every time she appears in South Africa. No wonder she hardly gets any playback offers any more!"

Shah Rukh was a hit as he had the most fun on stage of all the stars when he pulled local fans onto stage, involving them with his wit and humour.

Accountant Asha Anesh danced with him on a number from "Josh".

Pallavi Singh, who had seen Shah Rukh's film "Pardes" 14 times, challenged him to dance with her, to which he responded in Zulu: "Mina thanda wena", or "I love You". Shah Rukh even convinced a local doctor to put on a dupatta, dance with him like an actress, and turn somersaults with him on stage.

Hrithik Roshan drew huge applause as he performed frenetic dance steps despite repeated earlier statements that he was "very nervous" about dancing on stage.

Sanjay was disappointing, as he appeared to be keen to just get off the stage as soon as possible.

The finale featuring all the stars was nowhere near as spectacular as the opening of the show, involving African traditional drummers as well as 75 Indian, African, Irish, Spanish and ballet dancers from nine South African dance companies on the largest stage ever erected in South Africa, using equipment worth 100 million rands.

Singh told IANS afterwards: "This six-hour marathon show has been a great New Year party for the city and the people of Durban."