Kareena thrills S. Africans, but singers steal limelight
Actress Kareena Kapoor thrilled audiences here with deft dance steps and colourful costumes, but singers Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik stole the show.
By Fakir Hassen, IANS
Kareena was the only actress of note featuring in the first Bollywood show at this internationally renowned resort, which is a favourite with Bollywood filmmakers, the only other actor being Chunkey Panday, who seemed to be here more for a holiday than a serious show.
Kareena whizzed through dance items from her various films, attracting whistles and applause from the younger people in the audience, one even making off with a scarf she flung away during a dance.
But the loudest applause was reserved for Sanu and Yagnik, arguably the most prolific Hindi film playback singers of the past decade.
The duo belted out hit after hit to quench the insatiable thirst for more from the crowd, which was much smaller than expected but very appreciative.
After a lively and colourful dance medley by the eight-member Pappu and Malu Dance Troupe from India and an equally good instrumental medley by the seven-man orchestra from Mumbai, Poonam Bhatia screeched her way very badly through the first song before improving tremendously in her second and only other item in the show.
Sanu wasted no time in taking to the stage immediately, accompanied by dancers carrying flaming torches. The singer oozed far more confidence and stage charisma than during his previous four visits to South Africa in the past decade as he performed solo for almost an hour, shortening his hit songs to get in as many as possible of the requests from his local fans.
The more staid and conservative Yagnik also went through a long set of her hit songs before she and Sanu really brought the house down with their duets.
Compere Sajid Khan proved to be a bit of a damp squid, using jokes and audience tactics used repeatedly in other live shows from India.
The same applied to Chunkey who did a silly and obviously poorly rehearsed comedy dialogue with Khan before some equally silly dances.
Promoter Hazel Feldman of Showtime International had promised fans a Bollywood show with standards matching those held in the US and Britain.
The Mumbai-based coordinator of the show, Abhijit Chowdhary, ensured that the promise was kept in terms of a colour, sound, dance, song and light spectacle.
The show filled only about a third of the 6,000-seater venue. Organisers attributed this to the inclement weather. The region is currently experiencing the severest winter in many years.
Feldman said she was not entirely disappointed with the turnout. "The show was an excellent one and has been an excellent learning curve for our plans with Bollywood shows," Feldman told IANS.
Feldman is the first white South African woman to have promoted a Bollywood show, an area dominated by local Indian males. She also plans to take artistes from here to India.