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Hindi sets Stones rolling
The Rolling Stones in Bangalore on Tuesday. (AFP)

Bangalore, April 1: Almost 48 hours behind schedule and barely three hours after touchdown here, the Rolling Stones was ready to roll.

The much travelled “old men” — Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood — showed no fatigue when they interacted with the media here, about three hours after flying in at 3.30 pm from Singapore.

The Air-India special flight that picked them up in Singapore had run into problems typical of the airline: first, a technical snag; then, an air-conditioning collapse and later, failure to get sanction for a scheduled take-off from Changi airport.

Mick’s studied Hindi intro —“Hum pehli baar apne sangeet India mein layi hai aur is par hamey bahut khushi hai (We are happy to perform in India for the first time)” — set the tone for a pleasant 20 minutes of interaction with the media, which included local and international reporters.

All the time Mick and company used their much vaunted charm on the gathering to field questions on “the four-decade-old musical journey of the Stones and why it arrived so late in India”, “their opinion on the war against Iraq”, cricket and even Keith Richards’ favourite drinks.

“Better late than never,” said the Stones, predictably, about the late entry in India.

The war query, however, drew a dramatic response. Keith, who appeared to be practising an undulating dance movement on the stage for most of the press conference, suddenly turned around and showed his back. His jacket read: “Make Love, Not War.”

From peace to drinks, Keith switched to rooting for vodka, which he said was his all-time favourite over Jack Daniels.

The cricket World Cup found mention when Mick said all of them had rooted for England at first, but they were sad India failed to get the Cup.

The Rolling Stones will truly rock on April 4, when they perform here, before which they plan to look around town during the three-day interval. They will do a repeat in Mumbai before the performance on April 7.

Former cricketer Dilip Doshi, considered the main motivator behind the band’s India tour, warned that India would get “dangerously addicted” once the Stones perform.

Electronic gizmos, including a 240,000-watt sound system, 800 moving lights and skytracers, have already landed along with 7,500 square feet of prefabricated stage.

The equipment was shipped separately to Bangalore and Mumbai in eight sea containers.

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