| Mick Jagger (left), Ronnie Wood and and Keith Richards at one of the concerts.
Calcutta, March 5: Rolling Stones fans in the East needn’t feel Shattered after all. The Forty Licks world tour of rock ‘n’ roll’s most enduring act, which kicked off in Boston on September 3 last year, could well touch base in town if an earnest initiative by a group of “like-minded lovers of Calcutta and rock music” strikes a chord.
After 40 sold-out stops in North America and numerous high-voltage gigs in Europe, Australia and Asia, the Jaggernaut seems set to roll into the Salt Lake stadium on April 17 or 18 after rocking Bangalore and Mumbai.
The Emotional Rescue push to salvage the city’s pride and squeeze it into the Stones’ India itinerary is being provided by a core group of Calcuttans, including writers, actors, critics, and “just lovers of good music”. Providing the vital spin to the Stones surge is Dilip Doshi, an unabashed “fan of Mick (Jagger) and Keith (Richards)”.
Says Abeer Chakraborty, spokesperson for the bring-the-Stones-to-Cal brigade: “We have been at it ever since we learnt Delhi has fizzled out as the third venue, but the ball really started rolling after we got in touch with Dilip last Thursday. He is a good friend of the band, and was instantly hooked to the idea of Calcutta as the third stop.”
Doshi, speaking to The Telegraph from his London residence on Wednesday, confirmed that efforts to get the supergroup down have gathered steam. “I’m trying my best to make it happen, and the band is most keen to perform in Calcutta, which is a very special city to me. We just need the support of sponsors and the authorities to get the gig going. So, just keep your fingers crossed,” the ex-India left-arm spinner said.
Corporate and government support is what the forum, informally called ’Cause Calcutta, is banking on. “Sadly, the global perception of Calcutta is very dim, and it isn’t a happening city to most westerners. The Stones concert could go a long way in changing that notion by putting the city on the world entertainment map. It would also provide an easier alternative than Mumbai or Bangalore for the thousands of Stones fans in the huge catchment basin in the Northeast,” says Chakraborty.
The initiative, which has on board the likes of writer Amit Chaudhuri, actors Dhritiman Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, filmmaker Ashok Viswanathan and lecturer Ananda Lal, is also backed by a clutch of senior officials in the government keen to make the magic evening a reality. The Salt Lake Stadium is the obvious venue should Calcutta get to Spend The Night Together with the rock icons.
Corporate captains have gone out full steam to establish Bangalore as the concert capital of the country, attracting in-sync knowledge professionals to their backyard in the process. The Maharashtra chief minister recently stepped in to salvage Mumbai as a Stones stop, after things had started to look bleak for the entertainment hub.
The ball is now in the court of Calcuttans to make the city rock ‘n’ roll to a different tune and ensure that the much-maligned Gateway to the East does Not Fade Away in the concert clash.