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Rockstars 06: Atlanta Rocks with the Stars


The best thing about the Rockstars 06 concert is that it entertains even those who are not Bollywood crazy. The effort of the Morani brothers and Sohail Khan Entertainment who scripted and directed the concert shows in the dazzling laser imagery, the pyrotechnics, the impressive introduction (with video clips) of the Rockstars on the giant screen, the amazing talent of the dancers of Bollywood’s Bosco Caesar troupe, the glittery costumes and backdrops, and more importantly, in the fast pace of the concert. So no matter whether you are a Salman fan or not, whether the other six Rockstars John, Shahid, Kareena, Mallika, Esha and  Zayed make your heart throb or not, you can’t deny that Rockstars 06 is a fun show.

Currently on the US leg of its world tour, Rockstars 06 was held at the Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta on May 12th. Rockstars 06 followed a publicity blitzkrieg in the local media that was supportive of local promoters Klub Klassic, after the show ran into negative word of mouth buzz. First floated rumors that Salman’s visa had been rejected following his sentencing in the black buck case. Then came news of John Abraham’s injury in a motorbike accident. Fortunately for the Atlanta public, the show took off smoothly, and largely lived up to its hype.

All photos copyright © Photography by Vinod.

The show opened with a medley by Esha Deol who was surprisingly engaging, considering that this is her first world tour. Her grooming in classical dance showed in her performance, her constant eye contact with the audience and in her stage presence. She danced solo to a medley from her films including the hit number from Dhoom. She later paired with Zayed Khan to dance to songs from Main Hoon Na, and also interacted with the audience with charm. She asked a member of the audience to sing for her, and laughed from the heart when the fan sang her dad Dharmendra’s “Main Jat yamla pagla deewana” (Pratiggya) for her.

Zayed Khan came on stage with a sword in hand, making deft moves to a martial arts based dance that reminded this reporter of his dad Sanjay Khan as Tipu Sultan in the television series ‘The Sword of Tipu’. It is hard to create an impact when you are sharing stage space with more seasoned stars, but Zayed did a pretty good job at keeping the audience engaged. He vibed well with the audience. He serenaded a girl from the audience with the title number from “Main Hoon Na”. Maybe he should try making better eye contact with the audience in his future concerts. 

Shahid Khan solo, and Shahid Khan with Kareena Kapoor, were arguably the best part of the show. Why? Because Shahid is a terrific dancer, the only star to match steps with the dancers of the troupe (He even leaped down from the high second level of the stage to thunderous applause and shrieks). Because, he has a great stage presence and it was obvious that he was enjoying every moment of his time on stage. Because he has great chemistry with Kareena (they are a pair in real life too). If there is an upcoming star who has potential to carry a show like this on his shoulders in future, it is Shahid. 

Kareena Kapoor looked great. She didn’t just dance, but emoted and entertained like a natural. She danced to her hits numbers, the most memorable being the rain soaked Behta hai man kahin from her film Chameli, under a dazzling umbrella. She had great chemistry with boyfriend Shahid, and together the couple set the stage on fire.

Mallika Sherawat came on stage after the large screen played steamy scenes from her movies that have made her a star with a considerable male following. But her male following among the crowds must have certainly dwindled after the show. Mallika disappointed. First, because she was barely there. Second, she didn’t seem very involved when on stage. Third she did not interact with the audience. Fourth, and most importantly, she didn’t sizzle, even when she enacted her sensual movie numbers from ‘Murder’! Get your act together girl, or your world following might just shrink drastically.

Macho man John Abraham had a macho man entry on a mobike! Boy, John certainly is popular, going by the deafening applause his entry got! John is no great shakes as a dancer, so he made up by interacting with the audience. He picked a giddy headed young girl from the audience who came on stage with several placards, one that read, ‘My husband just can’t stop loving you, and I don’t blame him’. He danced a sensual Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai from his first film Jism with her, and probably made her wildest dreams come true. 

The star of the show, Salman Khan, the man in the middle of all controversies came in last to wild shrieks from his die-hard fans. As a prelude to his appearance, was a ‘compassion for Salman Khan’ exercise, with the colossal screens showing video clips of his school, his college, of his support from fans in India after his release (on bail) from prison. One placard read, Salman Khan vs Justice. The show rested on Salman’s broad shoulders, and he took on the responsibility with sincerity. 

Salman evokes strong reactions from the community here. There are die-hard fans who support him and believe his sentencing was unjust. There are others who have a soft corner for the ‘spoilt brat’ in spite of his misadventures. And then there are those who dislike him with passion and “would not pay to see Salman Khan, and would not go even if they are paid to see him” as one piqued community member put it.

But at the Arena on May 12th, Salman really didn’t have to try hard. Most people who had paid exorbitant amounts to see the show were his fans. Although Salman lacks the on stage charisma of a Shah Rukh Khan, he did give it his best shot. He danced, sang and interacted with the audience. There was even a Q&A session, where he took ‘personal’ questions from the audience. It takes a lot of confidence, wit and quick thinking to face thousands on the stage and answer questions live. But luckily for the star, he was let off easily in Atlanta. Almost all questions were from young girls who wanted to be hugged by the star on stage, or wanted to know when he would get married, or wanted him to take his shirt off. One girl aspired for more. “Will you marry me?” she asked the hunky star. Salman gave quick-witted answers to most of the frivolous questions thrown at him. And yes, he did keep his promise to come back on stage to take his shirt off. 

The amazing dancers from the BoscoCaesar troupe had their moment under the spotlight as each dancer got the chance to show case his/her skills. Choreographers Bosco and Caesar came on stage at the end of this segment. The duo certainly has a large hand in bringing the show alive.

The finale had all the stars come on stage together throwing keepsake t-shirts into the eager hands of fans in the auditorium. 

Emcee Shweta did a commendable job in the second half of the show. 

Mark Premji, Sam Banjee and Sal Ajani of Klassic Promotions came onstage to thank the Atlanta crowd. Premji announced his next concert- Shaan Live at the Earthlink Live on June 25th.

Rockstars 06 was certainly one the best Bollywood shows that Atlanta has seen in a long time. And from the stars’ and dancers’ perspective, the Atlanta audience could well have been one of the best. The crowds cheered, clapped and helped keep the Rockstars motivated to give their best. 

Sahara One Television has bagged television rights for Rockstar 06. The show spans a total of 45 days across the US, Canada and the UK. The television special promises to include behind the scene footage from rehearsals, interviews, glimpses of the green room etc. 

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