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 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 perfomers, 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”.
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 who lent their support to various causes.
After a seven-minute high energetic performance, actress Shraddha Kapoor said: “I am more concerned about hungry people who do not have the basic food to survive. An initiative like this will hopefully be fruitful and a solution to that.”
Referring to his Project Devi, actor Vivek Oberoi said: “We rescue girls from the street, child prostitution, child labour, and give them a better life with food, clothes, lodging, and education. It is great to be part of this show.”
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.
Actress Vidya Balan, who is the national brand ambassador of sanitation, spoke highly of the festival.
“It is fantastic to see how not only we celebrities are standing for the cause of basic human rights to live a good life and fight extreme poverty, but 80,000 people here in Mumbai are doing their best to change the world,” she said.
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.”
Talking about the response and the Global Citizen Movement, the CEO of the movement Huge Evans said: “It is amazing to see how youngsters are cleaning the beaches of Mumbai as a part of Swachh Bharat campaign. We are going to work on this for the next 15 years.”
The fest in India secured investment commitments worth $3.37 billion (Rs. 22,940 crores) which would benefit around 50 crore people.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Natalia Ningthoujam and Arundhuti Banerjee