Planet Bollywood
Heartthrobs Concert: No Gasps For Breath Here
- Rakesh Budhu           Let us know what you think about this feature article

This year’s annual May star filled concert touring the United States per chances held the most hope for being one of the more special concerts. After all, “Heartthrobs: Breathless” paired up for the first time the enviable high priced duo of Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood’s Hollywood contender, and Hrithik Roshan, Bollywood’s one and only answer to Sylvester Stallone. While a high price was once touted as the reason why they haven’t featured in a film yet, this concert seemed to ring true that high price is all one cares about, after all, despite having immensely lackluster (if not for the simple fact that the rest of those featured in the star cast were newcomers, and Fardeen Khan, who might as well be) supporting actors, the concert, was naturally sold out. I can’t speak for those concerts touring anywhere else, but here at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island New York, the May 15th concert had an outcome which left one with the feel that they’ve just watched a bad Subhash Ghai film.

Unlike Hrithik Roshan’s first appearance in New York in May of 2002, this one was not action packed, did not have us on the edge of our seats, and even reminded us that Hrithik’s career was really resurrected with Koi Mil Gaya. (Why he dared not dance to a tune from any of other of his romantic lullaboos, which were plentiful as we all know, is anyone’s guess). In fact, the concert started off on a bad note. Unlike all of the preceding concerts held in New York, this one started a half an hour late.

But with that tardiness, there was an excuse. No one was too thrilled to see Celina open up the show, about as thrilled as they were to see Salim Khan attempt to invigorate an already irate crowd, or Shaan croon away to a crowd who wasn’t screaming for him, despite him being included as a main attraction. It was surprising that Celina was already dancing her main attraction from her biggest hit (and that is a joke), Jaanasheen, almost immediately. It was even more shocking that Lara Dutta too was prancing to her two most popular item numbers within the first two minutes of her appearance (“Saaiyan” from Mumbai Se Aaya Meraa Dost and “Aisa Jaado Dala Re” from Khakee). Little did we know that was all we’d be seeing from them!

Despite the fact that the audience was getting warmed up and ready for the show’s main features, they couldn’t help but notice the stars changing very visibly close to the stage for everyone to see (even those in the cheap seats). That’s something you don’t see during every concert, now is it.

What followed was probably the biggest give away that the concert was going to be a dud. With no suspense, no thrills and plenty of frills, Aishwarya Rai comes to the stage. Again, jumping into her Devdas numbers, leaving nothing to the imagination and wonder already. Usually, a star’s biggest hit is left for the ending or at the very least a more intriguing presentation. Nevertheless, the dance was mesmerizing, as was her introduction with “Silsila Hai Chahat Ka” from Devdas, and the glow in the dark specials included. Ironically, Aishwarya didn’t get to jig to her popular tune “Daya Daya Re”, which was featured in promotions for the concert. Weird, huh?

So as we quickly got the feel that the show was going to be over in no time, the host comes to announce that the “cancelled” performance was going to happen in another form. Prior, Aishwarya was humble enough to spend a good five minutes talking, praising her fans for their undying support and the many internet sites they have made for her, and then had to try her best to make Fardeen Khan seem like the next Shah Rukh Khan. Nope, that this one. Apparently Fardeen had sprained his ankle practicing for the show early and was not going to be performing during this one. Gasp! Was this a set up, a skit, or the real thing? Fans had to find out the hard way and put up with his griping conversations and a 20 minute Q&A to actually realize that it wasn’t a joke or part of the show.

By the time Hrithik came on people were fighting away the yawns, or wiping off the crisp edges on their eyes. And even then, Hrithik couldn’t do much but repeat his “Ek Pal Ke Jeena” moves and shake a leg at “It’s Magic”. As if that hasn’t gotten old—four years later.

Before we could be entertained with what many people actually paid for, the Hrithik and Aishwarya pairing, which was also introduced in the most lackluster of manners, Fardeen came up once again to bore us with chit chat. Ironically, his chat chat dominated the “concert” more than the actual performances.

Aishwarya and Hrithik were great together. Their chemistry seems like there is untapped potential for a real good film. Like Preity and Hrithik, their chemistry doesn’t lie in the fact that they look great together or share some magnificent lust like culture together, but that there is a combination of good acting talent. But even still, you can’t judge much from their very brief ensemble. Swinging to “Acchi Lagti Ho” (Kuch Naa Kaho), “Idhar Chala” (Koi Mil Gaya), Koi Mil Gaya (Koi Mil Gaya) was nice, but their introduction intermingling Hrithik’s immense ability to dance and swing to any beat possible and Aishwarya excellent ability to dance classical dance (using music from Koi Mil Gaya and Mohabbattein), was arguably the best part of the concert.

By this time and post a great amount of boring speeches and failed attempts at appealing to the audience, the big thud had already been felt. As the concert had already begun 30 minutes late, one honestly got the feeling that they were trying to pass the time. Couldn’t they have just done it with a good Hrithik-Aishwarya performance? Especially since Fardeen wasn’t going to be tapping his feet at anything? In any case, our grand finale, or what it should have been, showed signs of hope. It promised something different. In what was already a poorly scripted Bharat Jotwani affair (broken legs and all), the end would be a tribute to romance in Bollywood through the years. Celina would dance to tunes like “Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua”, Lara would attempt to jingle to Rajesh Khanna’s greatest jigs and Hrithik and Aishwarya would dance under the rain. It was nice, but not nice enough.

In the end, it was pretty evident that this concert “Heartthrobs: Breathless” would not be leaving the large fan followings of Hrithik or Aishwarya gasping for breath. Perhaps it was Fardeen’s unfortunate accident which ruined the concert for New Yorkers, or the inability of the very popular concert organizers to rebound from it. But for a show which brought together two of Bollywood’s high ticket talents, it is disappointing to say that a thirty five dollar ticket was definitely too much for this one.


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