The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stones won’t roll to city for want of chief sponsor

A giant, pre-fabricated, self-standing stage, spread over 7,500 sq ft. A sound system belting out 240,000 watts of pulsating music, complimented by mesmerising stage lighting and sky tracers. Digital plasma screens to display the various configurations of video outputs, including spellbinding special effects. Giant cannons to blast confetti.

On stage, Forty Great Licks, featuring over two hours of non-stop performance by the world’s most successful and enduring rock ’n’ roll act of all time, featuring the band’s greatest hits and four unrecorded tracks.

But it looks like Calcutta Stones fans will be left rocking to the Rolling Stones in the wake of the quakes in Bangalore and Mumbai, with just the aftershocks. ’Cause Calcutta, the voluntary core group trying to get the Stones rolling towards the Salt Lake stadium next month, with the help of former Test star Dilip Doshi, has fallen short of a title sponsor for the concert.

“In 14 working days, we have been able to get more corporate sponsors than we thought, but it was not enough time to garner a main sponsor,” says Abeer Chakravarty, spokesperson for ’Cause Calcutta.

Writer Amit Chaudhuri, actors Dhritiman Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, lecturer Ananda Lal, drummer Nondon Bagchi and some senior government officials are among the “proud Calcuttans” who were involved with the bring-the-Stones-to-Calcutta initiative.

To make Mick Jagger and Keith Richards set the city on fire, the band and the promoter, Doshi, needed to be given an up-front sponsorship commitment of Rs 2.5 crore. “We were almost there, but time has run out,” Chakravarty says.

Six core sponsors, instead of the required four, didn’t prove enough. “A week more would have clinched the deal,” Chakravarty adds. “But all the hard work we put in was not for nothing. Maybe now, promoters will see Calcutta as a viable venue for future events.”

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