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Cauvery cloud on Elton show

Bangalore, Oct. 25: The Cauvery issue seems to have landed Elton John’s “once in a lifetime” concert in troubled waters.

The show, scheduled to take place at the Bangalore Palace Grounds on November 2, has come under a cloud following unrest in several parts of Karnataka in reaction to the Supreme Court’s stringent comments against the state government on the Cauvery issue.

Venkat Vardhan, managing director of DNA Networks, the prime organiser of the event, said: “We have to constantly monitor all these things, including the political situation. Even a small mishap could upset large plans.”

The response from the Karnataka government in the past two days has not helped lessen the organisers’ anxiety.

The state home department has deployed 10 Rapid Action Force teams and Reserve Police platoons in the two sensitive districts of Mandya and Mysore. In Bangalore, 20 new teams have been deployed. This move clearly indicates the law enforcement agencies do not rule out trouble.

But Vardhan has a thumb rule to face a situation like this. According to him, good event management is basically about comprehending all objective factors and using the good ones to your benefit and circumventing the bad ones.

Vardhan is a past master in this “ discretionary practice”, given his experience in organising mammoth live entertainment shows with big stars from both India and abroad.

DNA Networks have to their credit shows of stars like Samantha Fox (1990), Bryan Adams (1994 and 2001), Yanni (1997), Ricky Martin (1998), MC Hammer (2001), Pink Floyd and Roger Waters (2002). The company has also produced live shows of bands like Deep Purple, Vengaboys, Junoon and Scorpions.

Vardhan hopes things will become stable in the next couple of days, whatever the verdict of the Supreme Court. Grandson of former chief minister Kengal Hanumanthayya, Vardhan said he keeps a “safe distance from political practice”.

The response to the show so far, Vardhan said, has been very enthusiastic. DNA Networks hopes to have a full house at the palace grounds, which has the capacity to seat 30,000 people. Vardhan claimed the response to the show has been overwhelming, not only from Bangalore but all over the country. “We have a lot of bookings from Calcutta as well,” he said.

Unlike some of Elton’s recent concerts that have espoused social causes like AIDS awareness and relief for cancer victims, the Indian trip is a purely commercial venture.

The concert, however, will also become a platform for propagating the “Science and Spiritual Quest” programme — an international symposium of scientists, spiritual heads and musicians. The programme seeks to open a dialogue for partnership between religion, science and art for world peace.

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