With the world celebrating legendary pop star Michael Jackson’s 61st birth anniversary on Thursday, we take a trip down memory lane to his first concert in India.
In 1996, when the ‘King of Pop’ wanted to do his maiden concert in Mumbai, he faxed Viraf Sarkari, the founder of Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd, in 1988. The fax read that Michael Jackson wanted to perform in India and he would like Wizcraft to organise the tour. Gradually, it led to a chain of events that India will remember the singer, famous for his songs such as Beat It, Billie Jean and Black or White, forever.
Michael Jackson during his visit to India in 1996
Jackson arrived at Mumbai Airport on October 30, 1996, where he was greeted by over 5,000 crazy fans screaming and hoping to get a glimpse of him. He was given a traditional Indian welcome by Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre after which he walked in straight to join an impromptu dance party, which the fans waiting for him had started.
After having fun with his fans at the airport, the pop star left for his hotel in a 30-car motorcade. On his way, he frequently kept popping out of his car to greet his fans who were waiting for him on the roadside all along the 15-km stretch to his hotel.
The concert, which was held at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai, was attended by many prominent figures in India. Jackson made an entry that India still remembers today, emerging from a rocket-like capsule in a gold and black suit. The pop star, famous for his dance moves like ‘moon walk’, ‘pelvic thrust’ and the ‘sideway glide’, rocked with the crowd with his greatest hits.
For the people who could not enter the complex, they rather made a show of their own outside, where they danced to the live music being played inside. The music could be heard miles away from the complex which entertained the citizens of the surrounding area who could not get inside the venue.
The concert made a lot of memories for his fans across the country but the kind deeds that he did while he was in India for the concert is still talked about by many. The pop icon hosted a tea party for the orphaned kids at the Oberoi hotel. He also invited the hotel staff to join him on his tour bus. He also scribbled a heart-melting note on his pillow at the hotel that is still remembered by his fans in India.