Michael Jackson performed at a packed concert in MUMBAI on October 30th in 1996. . The event was organised by Shiv Udyog Sena, an outfit floated by then Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray with the objective of providing jobs to 27 lakh youth in maharashtra. During his short stay here, life in Mumbai centred around MJ and his “stories”.
“King of Pop” played a breathtaking two-hour set and also invited children from local orphanages to his luxury hotel for a poolside party.
The King of Pop, arrived in Mumbai on October 30th,1996 at Mumbai’s Sahar airport in his private jet. Lakhs of people had thronged the airport to catch a glimpse of him.
Jackson was greeted by Sonali Bendre clad in a nine-yard sari and a Maharashtrian nathni (nose ring), standing with an aarti thali to welcome MJ, along with Raj Thackeray, Sharmila Thackeray and innumerable politicians who were there to receive Jackson. Actress Sonali Bendre welcomed Jackson by performing ‘aarti’ and applying ’tilak’ on his forehead, at the Mumbai airport,Raj had organised a performance by a troupe of lezhim dancers with dholaks, and they wore traditional Maharashtrian clothes. The popstar, when being driven in a 20-car motorcade from the air port, stopped his Toyota to meet the urchins lined up along the highway to catch a glimpse of him. He picked up several children and hugged and kissed them. He then spent a few minutes with them before he proceeded to the Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray’s residence, Matushree, in Bandra East. Here he was presented with a silver tabla and tanpura, which are musical instruments from INDIA.
MJ In Oberoi Hotel.
During his stay at The Oberoi Hotel, Jackson surprised the entire staff by mingling freely among his fans, who thronged at the hotel to catch a glimpse of the ‘King of Pop’. “He greeted his fans with smiles and by blowing kisses and shook hands with as many of them as possible,” hotel sources recount. According to Butler Manager, Sandeep Walia, who was attending to him with a team of three butlers, Michael loves sweet white wine. That is probably the only kind of alcohol that he consumed during his stay at the Oberoi. Apart from that, he loves orange drinks, Fanta being his favorite and a special German orange drink, Gatorade, which he carries with him. Michael drinks a lot of Diet Coke as well, prefers his drinks at room temperature. Jackson has a penchant for chocolates too, so The Oberoi made sure there were chocolates, of all shapes, sizes and flavours kept in every reachable corner of his room. Michael Jackson likes a lot of festivity around him. The Kohinoor Suite at the Oberoi was decorated with flowers, balloons, confetti and bowls of sweets and chocolates to give it a spirit of celebration. While in his room, Jackson does not like to use the air-conditioner. He also likes his space. His body-guards have been instructed not to come close to him to give him enough space to move around.
The ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson had a tryst with this celluloid city 13 years ago, when he mesmerised thousands of Mumbaikars with his performance at a concert. In this photo Jackson is seen with Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray.
Jackson performed at a packed concert in Mumbai in 1996. The event was organised by Shiv Udyog Sena, an outfit floated by then Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray with the objective of providing jobs to 27 lakh youth in Maharashtra. Jackson seen here with Bollywood actor Anupam Kher.
The popstar, when being driven in a 20-car motorcade from the air port, stopped his Toyota to meet the urchins lined up along the highway to catch a glimpse of him.
During his stay at The Oberoi Hotel, Jackson surprised the entire Oberoi hotel staff by mingling freely among his fans, who thronged at the hotel to catch a glimpse of the ‘King of Pop’.
He greeted his fans with smiles and by blowing kisses and shook hands with as many of them as possible, hotel sources recount.
During his stay in Mumbai, Jackson relished several Indian cuisine, including south india and Mughlai. Jackson was given a traditional welcome during his visit. Children from orphanages were invited to meet and play with him at a high tea organised at the hotel pool side. He gave them gifts and chocolates that he had brought with him.
The over two-hour long performance on November 1 at the Andheri Sports Complex was a spectacular event, with fans lapping up every moment. For the show, Jackson flew in equipment in three Russian cargo planes. Jackson’s Mumbai tour had also triggered controversy with critics questioning Sena’s notions of culture.
Bal Thackeray responded the critics saying ”Jackson is a great artist, and we must accept him as an artist. His movements are terrific. Not many people can dance that way. You will end up breaking your bones. And, well what is culture? He represents certain values in America, which India should not have any qualms in accepting. We would like to accept that part of America that is represented by Jackson,” he had said.
Michael makes a promise to come Back INDIA…
After Michael Jackson had gone, when the hotel was preparing his suite for the next VVIP guest, they found Jackson’s gift to them: rather mischievously the great singer had scribbled on the pillow he had slept on:
“India, all my life I have longed to see your face. I met you and your people and fell in love with you. Now my heart is filled with sorrow and despair for I have to leave, but I promise I shall return to love you and caress you again. Your kindness has overwhelmed me, your spiritual awareness has moved me, and your children have truly touched my heart. They are the face of God. I truly love and adore you India. Forever, continue to love, heal and educate the children, the future shines on them. You are my special love, India. Forever, may God always bless you”
Bharat Shah, jeweller and film-financier, bought the pillow for a fabulous amount in an auction held for charity.
We Indians will never forget your kind gesture to perform in India for charity and as we all know legends don’t die…Rest In Peace…King!