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Orissa makes Daler dance to a nonexistent tune

All pepped to sing, but no one to sing to -- that's how Daler Mehendi found himself the other day.

The bhangra-pop singer was just readying to take Bhubaneshwar by storm when the state administration played dirty. It upped, went and got his show cancelled just four hours before the start. Leaving the singer, and his sponsors McDowell and Company, high, dry and very, very angry.

The administration's claim is that the show was not quite 'moral', that the manner and cause for which it was being staged violated public 'decency and taste'. The trouble, it would appear, is the liquor company pushed its product a bit too much -- it was providing entry passes against the purchase of a particular brand of whisky!

The Janata Dal politicians were the first on the warpath. They said the show was promoting apasanskriti (decadent culture), and threatened demonstrations against it. The local media went a step further.

"The government is promoting a drunken orgy," they howled.

In the face of such stiff opposition, the administrators had no option but act. And thus was how Mehendi and his 14-member troupe found themselves all dressed up and nowhere to go.

The McDowell-ites, naturally, are seething. "We had clearance for the show," marketing general manager Hemchandra Jhaveri says, "They should have informed us earlier."

Jhaveri, however, admits the company had not informed the government about its sales pitch. "In that case we should also have informed them about the songs Mehendi would sing!" he argues, "No one in their right minds would expect the government to cancel a show merely because some people protested!"


Bale, bale!

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