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Sunday, October 07, 2001

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Pop goes the show -- and how!

By Lakshmi Balakrishnan

NEW DELHI, OCT. 6. It is a dream that has always gone ``pop'' for Delhiites, and not without reason. Mumbai may get to sway to the beats of the ``King of Pop'', Bangalore may rock to the changing tunes and colours of Deep Purple, but Delhi beats them all in the game by clinging on to the bhangra boys and making audiences not just hear but also see the ``blues'' every time a music show is held here.

For those who always wondered why Delhi never managed to get a ``BA'' in music the Bryan Adams way, the answer is straight and simple: Life in the Capital may come with a package of many benefits, but when it comes to music, it also comes with the additional baggage of over-enthusiastic VIPs, policemen and civic authorities who insist on getting entertained free of charge.

The best place to hold stage shows of Bollywood and Indi-Pop stars is how event management groups describe Delhi. But mention international pop stars and the smiles suddenly disappear. ``Delhi does not have an audience with that kind of taste in music'' is the argument that all organisers offer, but scratch the surface a little and the seriousness of the situation comes through.

The last big show the city saw was the Roshan Show. Hrithik Roshan's presence was enough to draw huge crowds; only, there were many music freaks that the organisers had completely forgotten to include.

``It was definitely a hit show. But one that was completely taken over by the police. Almost every policeman had some of his kith and kin stationed at the gate. Even as those with tickets were barred from entering, the policemen on duty ensured seats for their families,'' recalls an executive of the PR firm which handled the show for the Roshans.

With almost all the policemen on duty entering the stadium to catch a glimpse of Hrithik, there were obviously not many to take care of law and order outside. Add to it the number of government officials who will do anything to ensure a pass and things get truly out of hand.

Move from the Roshan Show in February to the Vengaboys Show in April, and the fact that Delhi has a different segregation of music lovers becomes doubly clear.

``It is not as if Mumbai or Bangalore don't pose similar problems. But considering the number of VIPs who have to be appeased for organising one big show in Delhi, the other two cities always win'' is how a senior official of Pepsi, which sponsored both the Vengaboys and Bryan Adams shows, puts it.

The number of pop stars who have visited Bangalore this year is enough to realise how much Delhiites missed. King of rap H.C.Hammer performed live in February, and then it was Bryan Adams, followed by Deep Purple.

And all this while Delhi was dancing to the tunes of Indi- Pop stars. Event management companies say Delhi has a big market for Indian music. The coming week will have Adnan Sami and Shankar Mahadevan enthrall music lovers in Delhi while subsequent weeks will have Daler Mehendi and the evergreen Asha Bhosle perform live. Sadly for lovers of international music, the much promised Bryan Adams show in Delhi this winter seems on the verge of cancellation.

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