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When Bollywood comes calling

The post-holi season here marks the advent of the season of shining stars, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 22:42 IST

One of the things that ignites desi imagination everywhere and in fact unites the community as one is its love of movies and the concomitant showbiz magic.

This can be seen in the almost ubiquitous presence of the 'dish' beaming not just Indian television programmes but also movies etc. in the typical Indian American household.

Furthermore, the demand for various Bollywood award shows on DVD/Video is perpetually on a rise.

Neighbourhood community stores all across metro Atlanta are typically laced with not just Hindi and vernacular movies but the razzmatazz that goes along it. Award ceremonies and song compilations are only a symptomatic thrust in that direction.

Imagine the hoopla then that surrounds a live star-spangled event hosted by the community.

Even if you are not among the vast majority that awaits a Bollywood star show, there is practically no way you can ignore the buzz that beams in at you at every nook and corner.

Turn to an Indian store; you are greeted with astronomical posters plastered all over the walls: go to a restaurant, you are nudged by flyers and nuances.

If you happen to catch up within your coterie, all you end up doing is either make assiduous plans on how to purchase the best tickets, when to arrive, what to wear and the post show rendezvous, or (less successfully) devise ways to avoid getting caught up in the hay fever.

Not surprisingly, Atlanta happens to be quite the epicentre of activities that cater to this particular Indian fetish.

Even though the reasons for the pizzazz vary by far - ranging from cause-based fundraisers to just plain good old live entertainment for wads of cash - the PR machinery that carries the whole affair through is both aggressive and all-pervasive.

The post-holi season here marks more than the advent of spring. It wouldn't be a misnomer to call it the season of shining stars.

Beginning April 14 with an event called 'Heat'; this year's bolly-drama will be set into motion.

'Heat' will see stars like Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Sushmita Sen, Rimi Sen and Celina Jaitley descend on Gwinnett Arena, a very popular Atlanta venue for a dance and music extravaganza. The event priced at $55 to $250 is a fundraiser for a project for underprivileged children in India.

Following that, India's unrivalled ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh will be seen live in concert at downtown Atlanta's GWCC's Sidney Marcus Auditorium. Tickets for this event range from $35 to $100, which incidentally is comparatively reasonable for an event of this magnitude.

Gurdas Mann, the torchbearer of Bhangra and Punjabi folk music will be seen in Atlanta for the first time to celebrate Baisakhi on May 2.

Audiences expected at this event are not limited to Indian Punjabis but Punjabis at heart and Punjabis in part - such as counterparts from Pakistan.

Similarly, patronage at the May 12 gala 'Rock Stars' featuring Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, John Abraham and the piquant Mallika Sherawat among others is likely to be a crowd puller.

Needless to say organisers, who by the way are handful entrepreneurs tapping the potential and pull of such an event remain more than delightful with the proceeds. The very fact that they manage to rope in stars again and again and organize shows on a big scale bears testimonial to this.

Also, the dicta 'the bigger the stars the better the show' can be bent and broken a few times knowing as they do that as long as they have one major performer and entertaining peripherals, the audience will continue to cheer.

Entertainment aside, star dos come with their own baggage. Some of us find it appalling that while tickets for a Robert Plant concert are easily within reach, Salman Khan's 'showing' seems astronomically priced.

More, in this hazy rattle tattle of snazzy showbiz bonanzas what sometimes gets overlooked sadly is the effort made by smaller organisers to raise money for significant causes.

After all, it may take a very 'big' star to show for a smaller shindig and a bigger cause.