Pravasi Bollywood show had no real Bollywood stars this year
It was billed as a show that would also reflect the spirit of Bollywood to around 2,000 Indian expatriates who had gathered in New Delhi on late Friday.india Updated: Jan 10, 2004 16:20 IST
It was billed as a show that would also reflect the spirit of Bollywood to around 2,000 Indian expatriates who had gathered here late Friday.
But the closest that the show came to featuring the film stars of Bollywood was the presence of former actor and now Minister of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna; and a sizzling dance by starlet Isha Koppikar.
The show at the Talkatora Stadium, the first of two nights of entertainment as part of the second annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, fell far short of the spectacle of light, colour, sound and pyrotechnics that delegates to the first such event last year were treated to.
Last time round, film stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai and others had participated.
This year, delegates from the 60 countries participating who had never had the opportunity to see singers such as Sonu Nigam, Hariharan and Sunidhi Chauhan live on stage might have enjoyed the treat.
But for the bulk of the audience, from the US, Britain, South Africa and other places where these stars often perform live, there was nothing new to see.
Small wonder then that half the audience had walked out by the time the real star of the show, Sonu Nigam, took to the stage close to midnight.
The strong audience participation came only when Sonu Nigam, a master at reinventing himself to retain his position as the top showman in the Indian entertainment industry right now, set out to disprove effectively the claim that old songs are better than those composed today.
"Old music has soul and life, argue the detractors of today's music, but I'd like to show you in just five minutes how wrong they are," Nigam said, going on to sing a few lines each from several old and new songs and showing how they were essentially the same basic tunes that had been adapted slightly.
Now if only music director Anu Malik had decided to stay off the stage to give people short bits of some of his own songs and given Nigam more time instead!
Earlier, Sunidhi Chauhan did very well, especially with some steps choreographed into her items with her backing dancers while Hariharan was lauded for a range of songs, including a popular Tamil one which went down well with the audience.
Overall, the show probably provided an opportunity for many expatriates to get a taste of Bollywood and its music, but it was definitely not an accurate reflection of the huge diversity within both Bollywood and the diaspora.
The few expatriate performances were restricted to troupes from Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji and Mauritius.
Admittedly, only a limited number of artistes from the diaspora can be featured each year, but, with the largest number of delegates each year coming from countries like the US, Britain and Malaysia, why have there not been proportional representation for participants in the show from these countries?
Perhaps this may be because in these countries, the Indian art forms have stayed closer to the original, while in the Caribbean, Fiji and other places, there has been greater assimilation of some local elements.