x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Khan's hot-air balloon entrance steals show

Dropping onto the stage in cranes and hot-air balloons, Bollywood stars sent crowds wild in a grand entrance at a concert in Dubai.

Shahrukh Khan performing during the 'Temptation Reloaded 2008' concert at Dubai Festival City Arena.
Shahrukh Khan performing during the 'Temptation Reloaded 2008' concert at Dubai Festival City Arena.

DUBAI // Dropping onto the stage in cranes and hot-air balloons, Bollywood stars sent crowds wild in a grand entrance at a concert in Dubai. Thousands of fans screamed for more as Shah Rukh Khan and fellow stars appeared at the Temptation Reloaded 2008 at Dubai Festival City Arena on Saturday. Many in the audience said it was the most dramatic entry they had witnessed at a concert.

"I will dance with all 20,000 of you who have come here," Khan said as he thanked his fans. He says live concerts are his way of giving back to his fans around the world, and true to his word, he invited people from the crowd on to the stage and danced along with them. Starting with his latest hit Dard E Disco, he moved on through other popular numbers from his movies. The crowd exceeded the expected turnout of 15,000, organisers said, and many fans struggled to get to their seats. "I have VVIP tickets and I was waiting in a queue for two hours," said a man who had brought his family to see the four-hour show.

Many who came late could not get seats. "We were very surprised by the last-minute ticket sales and the turnout was around 20,000," said Faranak Mahmoudi, managing director of Oasis Promotions. Responding to complaints from spectators who could not get to their seats, she said: "It was just a few people who kept arguing with the security and delaying others who had VIP tickets. With so many crazy fans, some trouble is always expected."

Queuing for the 9pm show began as early as 3pm. Men carrying children on their shoulders pushed through the security to try and get in. The show started an hour late with performances by such Bollywood stars as Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Anusha Dandekar, Hard Kaur and Ganesh Hegde. As the excitement reached fever-pitch, the audience of mainly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Arabs watched in awe as Rampal made his entrance from an overhead crane. Strumming an electric guitar and dancing to his latest film music Rock On, Rampal leapt onto the stage from the crane's orange-painted bucket as sparks came out of his guitar.

Kapoor and Kaif danced to Bollywood hits. Singers Hard Kaur and Hegde thrilled the audience by dancing and singing some of the latest hit Bollywood songs. In a moving moment that was possibly the highlight of the evening, Rampal walked on to the stage with Khan's wife Gauri to give Khan a surprise on his wedding anniversary. The couple cut a cake on the stage as their two young children watched from the audience.

Khan spoke about his new role as a developer and urged his fans to look forward to Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard, a waterfront development in Dana Islands, Ras al Khaimah. He announced earlier this month in Dubai that he has partnered with the local developer TSA Group to build it. pmenon@thenational.ae