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The changing face of concerts

August 28, 2006
Say Nassau Coliseum, New York, and you think of Amitabh Bachchan thrilling 10,000 rapturous fans with his dialogue delivery and songs from old and new hit movies. Or you think Lata Mangeshkar belting out vintage hits and ending the show with her trademark Jiya Jale from the film Dil Se.

But, imagine Fame 2006 being presented at the same massive venue, with the lead singer of the night being Debojit, the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 winner. Even with tickets priced at $29 (as against the $100 and above for the star-studded show), the organizers, some say, took a big risk. The final verdict on the show -- which also featured up-and-coming singers Qazi Tauqeer and Rex D'Souza -- hangs in the balance.

This is 2006 though, a very different year from the ones where movie stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, and not to forget Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan, filled huge theatres in major American and Canadian cities.

This year, even as Bollywood movies have done remarkable and record-breaking business (grosses of films Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Omkara, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti and Parineeta could exceed a record setting $10 million), the concerts are not dominated by the stars. Given the rather discouraging performances of two star-studded concerts -- one with Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta and Sushmita Sen, the other with Salman Khan, Kareena and Shahid Kapoor -- some are wondering if the days of star-driven mega shows are over.

Text: Arthur J Pais | Photographs: Paresh Gandhi | Design: Reuben

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