Sorry, what do you mean?

Justin Bieber

Pop sensation Justin Bieber’s gig at Mumbai ended in an anti-climax. An audience awaiting to be swept off by a spectacular performance had a crashlanding. Celebrities ranging from Anurag Basu, Sonali Bendre to Sona Mohapatra were furious after the gig.

Those who hailed the singer as the ‘golden boy’ of pop, were not left with much choice but to keep mum after a lip-syncing Bieber misfired. Right from his exorbitant demands to his shirtless exit from India, Bieber’s India visit simply did not live up to expectations and failed to win many hearts.

Hit Machine
Born in 1994, the Canadian singer and song writer Justin Bieber shot to fame with his song ‘Baby’ – which is the 19th most viewed video of all time on YouTube as well as the most disliked. With the chartbuster, Bieber not only garnered a lot of fame but also managed to ruffle quite a few feathers.

However, the pop star went on to produce hit after hit, which gave birth to the new term ‘Beliebers’ – the obsessive fans of Justin Bieber. His magic did spread across the globe and Indians weren’t far behind when it came to Beliebing. Cashing in on the wide Indian fan base, White Fox, the organisers of Bieber’s concert in DY Patil stadium in Mumbai on May 10, roped in the pop sensation to perform in India as part of his ‘Purpose World Tour’.

Bieber had some exorbitant demands, which left many thinking that the singer was going overboard. On the other hand, he found support in several Indians, with singer Sonu Nigam leading the pack.

Extending support to the pop sensation’s demands, which were otherwise deemed “ridiculous”, Sonu said: “Why are we acting so ignorant and why are we so amazed at what Bieber has apparently asked for? Every singer who comes to India asks for these things. Purple curtains, satin beds… they have their quirks, it’s their system. Even a Madonna or Beyonce would ask for it.”

Difficult Demands
From making an entry to the stadium in a chopper to being chauffeured from the airport in a Rolls Royce, Justin Bieber sure had a long list of demands, including:

  • Draping his dressing room with white curtains, a glass door fridge, eight power outlets and 12 white handkerchiefs.
  • 24 still bottles, 24 alkaline water bottles, 4 energy drinks, 6 vitamin drinks, 6 cream sodas and 4 natural juices.
  • Vegetables seasoned with ranch sauce, diced fruit, bananas, seedless grapes.
  • 2 packages of plain white crew neck t-shirts, in sizes XS and L, 2 packages of white tank tops in sizes L and XL and 3 packages of white low-rise socks were also demanded by him.
  • Visiting tan salons, sushi bars, night clubs, casinos among other things, including Kerala massage by a masseuse flown in from God’s own Country.

India went all out to please the singer and he was showered with expensive gifts. Celebrity designer Rohit Bal got him biker jackets and Riddhima Kapoor Sahni designed swanky jewellery for his mother Pattie Mallette. Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan gifted an autographed sarod, curated and embellished by designer Varun Bahl, to the Grammy winner on his arrival.

Passes and Popcorn
Bieber’s demands, though publicised early, didn’t seem to dent his image and the fight for the passes was on! The sale for the concert passes went live on, a good two months before the event with a starting price of Rs 5,040 and up to Rs 15,400. Those willing to shell out Rs 38,000 got a special grand entry in a chopper, just like Bieber.

According to reports, fans did not mind spending a whopping over Rs 75,000 for a single pass to get a glimpse of their favourite superstar. If that wasn’t enough, those selling refreshments also made hay, with even a bottle of water costing as high as Rs 200 at the venue of the concert.

White Fox went all out splurging close to $4 million on arrangements, making the concert the most expensive in India ever. While the Sultan of Bollywood, Salman Khan, sent out his trusted aide Shera to take care of the Canadian singer’s security in Mumbai, several other Bollywood stars made sure they marked their presence among Beliebers.

Much Ado About Nothing
But his performance or rather the lack of it left many disappointed, with Jacqueline Fernandez leading the pack. The actor, who flew down all the way from London to host an after-gig party for Bieber, was left stranded as the singer simply left after the show.

Even his biggest fans, some waiting for their favourite icon from 3 pm onwards, were crestfallen when the big show was overtaken by ‘lip syncing’. Bieber almost lip-synced throughout his close to 90-minute gig, crooning only four of the 21 songs that were played.

The big letdown resulted in a severe backlash. The ‘sorry’ star left India shirtless, cutting short his plans to sightsee Agra and Jaipur. But Indian Beliebers, who at the most are willing to concede that Bieber was just too tired, have a counter question to all the questions on the ‘lip sync’ act. And that is ‘What do you mean?’

Sorry, what do you mean?
Illustration by Chaitanya Krishna