Saturday sizzler: Song, dance, AAP cola and a blockbuster show
Delite Cinema, one of central Delhi’s oldest movie theatres, is usually a packed house every weekend. But this was not a usual Saturday.delhi Updated: Feb 15, 2015 01:53 IST
Delite Cinema, one of central Delhi’s oldest movie theatres, is usually a packed house every weekend. But this was not a usual Saturday.
People passed by the hall in ones and twos — and some in groups — with barely a second glance at the large cut-outs of Ranbir Kapoor’s romantic thriller Roy and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s genre-defying MSG: The Messenger.
For, barely a few hundred metres away, curtains were about to go up for the biggest show of the day at the Ramlila Maidan: The Return of the Aam Aadmi.
It had all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster — a likeable protagonist, a dash of Valentine’s Day romance, some soul-stirring dialogue, the inescapable song-and-dance routine as well as a guaranteed happy ending.
Thousands of enthusiastic and slogan-shouting people, most of them Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters, walked nearly a mile under an unusually hot February sun and through several security checks to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Delhi’s new chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his team.
A bunch of supporters also took the event as an opportunity to launch their beverage, “AAP cola”, as the drink was distributed for free to many braving the heat.
“We do not have a television at home. Our neighbour has one but the entire neighbourhood is glued to it. We chose not to work today and came to listen to Kejriwal because we supported him right from the start,” said Dheeraj, a rickshaw-puller from Seelampur, who arrived at the ground the previous night.
Many of Delhi’s young couples, too, chose to spend Valentine’s Day by keeping a date with Kejriwal.
“We decided that we will be a part of this historic event and make our day even more special,” said 26-year-old banker Viren Ahuja, standing next to his significant other.
Expecting a large gathering, Delhi police blocked vehicular traffic on all roads leading to the venue.
Though there are no official figures, senior police officers pegged the number of people who attended the start of Kejriwal’s second innings at between 50,000 and 60,000. However, the ground, which has a capacity of 100,000 seemed packed, and there were a few thousand spilling out.
Many who could not make it to the site caught the action on LCD screens put up along the roads near the venue. Business-savvy vendors set up radios and TVs to lure the floating crowd.
People were seen clicking selfies, perhaps for status updates later, amid the fluttering tricolour and full-throated slogans.
Down with fever, the new chief minister who appeared on stage without his trademark muffler told the gathering he had taken a Crocin pill before the event.
“Kejriwal and Crocin” immediately started spreading like wildfire on social media. When the AAP chief sang one of Manna Dey’s old hits from the 1959 movie Paigham, the audience joined in and set another trend on Twitter.
Every sentence of Kejriwal’s nearly 20-minute speech was lustily cheered as the people showed their affection for the Aam Aadmi who had become their chief minister, again.