Thousands throng to Salman Khan concert in Washington

Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha recreate the magic of 'Tere mast mast do nain' at their concert in Washington, DC .
Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha recreate the magic of ‘Tere mast mast do nain’ at their concert in Washington, DC .

Khan, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sonakshi Sinha, Daisy Shah, Prabhu Deva, Guru Randhawa rock the stage at the Capital One Arena.

WASHINGTON, DC – Thousands of South Asian Americans thronged to the cavernous Capital One Arena, Friday night, to behold Indian superstar Salman Khan perform live in concert in the nation’s capital after a hiatus of twelve years.

The event billed as the ‘Dabangg Reloaded Tour’ featured the exceedingly popular actor performing alongside his female co-stars Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sonakshi Sinha and Daisy Shah. Together with dancer and choreographer Prabhu Deva, Punjabi singer Guru Randhawa, television anchor and actor Maniesh Paul, the artistes are on a two-week tour which takes them to nine cities in the US and Canada.

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The Washington concert organized by ace promoter Vijay Taneja of Elite Bollywood Entertainment followed six sold-out shows in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose and Vancouver. The Dabangg squad will cap off their successful tour this weekend with concerts in New Jersey and Toronto following DC.

Friday night, they set the stage ablaze with energetic dance performances, musical and comic acts, all following in quick succession. These coupled with all the special effects and props created a heady effect on a cheering crowd. Such events — a cultural melting pot for people who trace their origins to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka — have sure come a long way!

At a press conference held on the eve of the Washington concert, we asked Khan what has changed from his ‘Rockstars’ show in 2006 to ‘Dabangg Reloaded’.

At first he replied, “I don’t think anything has changed”. Then, thoughtfully, he added there are noticeable differences in production and performances.

Before, the attitude was “theek hai chalta hai” (it’s fine, anything will work), he said. “Now, we are focused on every detail from costumes to songs, choreography, lights, selection of the dances. Everything is about giving our best so that the people who are buying expensive tickets” should enjoy the show and believe their money was well spent.

Khan, who was on stage in three acts of Debangg Reloaded, took the audience down memory lane performing on his superhit songs right from his debut in 1989 with the blockbuster film ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, followed by favorites from ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’, ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, and many more movies. He twirled on the floor in ‘Jag ghoomeya’ (Sultan) declaring there is no one in the whole wide world like his fans, the audience. In another endearing piece, he was joined by dozens of kids who swayed in sync with him to ‘Jai Jai Bajrangbali’ (Bajrangi Bhaijaan).

Kaif, known to work hard, excelled in her acts, making a riveting aerial debut halfway through the Arena. Her stunning good looks, well rehearsed dance moves easily made her a crowd favorite. The on-stage chemistry between Kaif and Khan in ‘Dil diyan gallan’ (Tiger) was among the highlights of the show.

And it was enchanting to watch Khan and Sinha recreate the magic of ‘Tere mast mast do nain’ (Dabangg). Fernandez and Shah, pretty as a picture, grooved to their popular songs including those from the recently released film, ‘Race 3′. Deva gave glimpses of his legendary dancing prowess, Paul provided comic relief while interacting with members of the audience, and Randhawa had a dance-happy crowd on its feet as he belted out popular Punjabi numbers that have catapulted him to fame.

In the finale, the entire ensemble of artistes came on stage for a ‘Jumme ki raat’ (Kick) sequence complete with confetti, streamers, pyrotechnics and other dazzling special effects.

At the press conference, we queried the female artistes about the rapport they share off-stage. Khan quipped, “They hate each other”, to peals of laughter.

The bonhomie between the actresses was in full view. Fernandez professed, “One of the most amazing things to come out of this tour is that all of us have been able to bond so well”. She mentioned it is the first time she is working and traveling with Kaif whereas she has co-starred with Shah in ‘Race 3′, and last year she performed with Sinha in two concerts held in England at which the duo “had an amazing time”.

Kaif indicated that “since Jackie said such lovely things” she was going to voice a complaint about her fellow actresses and, in good humor, cribbed, “I keep making gym plans every day and they keep running away from me”. Sinha, the last to arrive at the press event, joked, “You know why I was late today because I couldn’t move”. Debunking some media reports, she added, “Nobody is having cat fights”.

Shah informed us that her longest association is with Kaif dating back to the time when she served as an assistant choreographer in ‘Race 1′. She described Fernandez as “full of positive attitude” and recalled having “a lot of fun times” with Sinha.

“I have to say this entire tour, this entire journey has been so amazing”, Fernandez enthused. “It’s just new friendships and it’s been a lot of fun”.

The shows are coordinated, directed, scripted by Sohail Khan Entertainment and JA Events. Chicago-based Bhavesh Patel, reportedly a long-time close friend of Khan, is the international promoter for the North American tour.

At the Washington area press conference, Kaif gushed, “JA Events has put on such an amazing show and given us so much support – everything we wanted in our acts from our entries to other technical support. They have done a fantastic job”.

Warmly thanking the audience for all their support, Khan said in Hindi: “Aap sab apne hai aur aap log hamari picturey dekhte hai. Toh yeh sab hum apne liye hi kar rahe hai.” (“You all are ours and you watch our films. So, everything we are doing is for you.”)

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