Monday, November 21, 2016
| Natalia Ningthoujam and Arundhuti Banerjee
As many as 80,000 young 'global citizens' here witnessed the British band Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin singing Vande Mataram with India's music maestro A.R. Rahman at the Global Citizen Festival India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi also encouraged youngsters to fight poverty.
The fest took place on Saturday, November 19 at the MMRDA ground at Bandra-Kurla complex, which was filled by people who are committed to the cause to fight poverty, promote education, and more.
Opened by Bollywood's singing sensation Arijit Singh, the fest also saw some electrifying performances by international singers like Demi Lovato and The Vamps.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan hit the stage to introduce key performers, including Rahman.
SRK called out his "friend" Rahman by singing a few lines of their popular tracks Chaiyya chaiyya and Jiya jale from the 1998 film Dil Se.
Rahman started off with an instrumental set and went on to sing his renowned tracks Tu hi re and Humma humma. He said that poverty is our "common enemy", and urged everyone to contribute to end it.
Shah Rukh also introduced Grammy Award winner American rapper and producer Jay Z. He entertained one and all with his numbers mostly with an Indian touch like The Bounce (Chaiyya chaiyya) and Beware of the boys remix.
The Bollywood star power continued to be seen on the stage with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar singing Atrangi yaari from their film Wazir.
Amidst the foot-tapping music, Modi made a brief appearance via video conferencing. He said, "You bring an energy and idealism that is unparalleled."
"I am convinced that we can and we will build a Swachh Bharat free of all forms of filth within one generation," he added.
There were other Bollywood names including Shraddha Kappor, Vidya Balan and Vivek Oberoi who lent their support to various causes.
About 80 per cent of attendance for the fest was given to fans who earned it for free by taking social good actions in support of health and sanitation, education and gender equality campaigns by way of 'Action Journeys'. The rest of the tickets had gone on sale on BookMyShow, with some even priced at Rs 20,000. Limited early bird tickets were priced at Rs 5,000 each.
As much as the attendees showed enthusiasm to support social causes, they also eagerly waited for Coldplay, fronted by Martin, the curator of the gala, to entertain them with the band's rock numbers.
The long wait and excitement amplified when Shah Rukh along with the cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and actress Freida Pinto invited Coldplay on stage.
Sporting casuals, Martin enthralled the crowds by singing the band's hit songs like A head full of dreams, The scientist, Paradise, A sky full of stars and Fix you, which got everyone singing too.
The instruments had a touch of Indian elements like their band name was written in Hindi on them.
The India connect didn't end with that. Martin strummed the guitar as he sang a few lines like Maa tujhe salaam from Vande Mataram with Rahman.
The British rocker also sang a few lines of Arijit's popular song Channa mereya.
While concluding their performance with Up and up, Martin said, "We would like to come back to India as soon as we can."
The fest in India secured investment commitments worth $3.37 billion (Rs. 22,940 crores) which would benefit around 50 crore people.