It was quite a show at Imperial Gardens this evening, but for all the wrong reasons. It was Falguni Pathak, the dandiya queen, who was supposed to sing, and for whom people had come paying Rs. 500 and Rs. 200 per head. Only, she didn't turn up - and missing along with her were the event managers, too. Left at the venue: a few hundred members of the audience with tickets in their hands and blood on their mind. What followed would make an interesting study in mob psychology as the situation went from bad to worse and ended up with a taste of the copper's stick.
Initially all was dandy and fine as complimentary packets of chips were distributed, and the crowd waited out the first couple of hours with remarkable patience - few pop shows actually start without at least an hour of delay. Meanwhile, some kids were hoisted onto the stage and they did their best to entertain the crowd as they danced to the latest pop numbers being played, including some popular Telugu film numbers like Maisamma and Gaajuvaaka Pilla.
But one can watch kids dancing for only so long. Some of the audience took the sound pit hostage and started demanding that one Mr. Rakesh from Event Makers, the event organizers, appear on stage and explain the delay. But not a single person from Event Makers seemed to be anywhere around. This revelation was quite disquieting as the fact that Falguni may not come sank in. Then came the realization that amounts on the tune of Rs. 500 and Rs. 200 had been paid just to see some kids dance to Maisamma. Oh oh!
The representatives of the sponsors, primarily Bajaj, were surrounded, and things soon got ugly. The cops arrived rather promptly, but this was with an announcement that the time for the event was over and the people should leave now. This got the crowd even wilder. They started grabbing chairs and flinging them around, but then good sense reigned, and some of them actually started carrying the chairs away. A few members of the crowd even tried to wheel away the Bajaj Spirit scooters on display, while others attacked a soft drink dispenser.
The constables who had arrived initially just stood by and watched the fun. But then higher police officials arrived, presumably called in by the sponsors. They tried to stop the chair and bike pillagers, and got some rough treatment from the crowd. Everyone wanted their money back, even those who got in with complimentary passes!
Finally the cops gave up on trying to talk the guys out of moving out all the furniture, and let their sticks do the talking. There was a mad scramble for safer ground and a few of the audience caught a few juicy ones. Talk about adding injury to insult!
This is where even we made a hasty but dignified exit. Like they say, one who runs away lives to review another show. So why didn't the show happen? Falguni may have given the show a skip 'cos she was thinking up another song inspired by rain or the monsoons, or there may have been some hassle about the payment, or she may not even have known that she was supposed to sing here. We can only wonder.