This is one experience that will be etched in Raveena Tandon Thadani's mind for long. The actor had gone for her second jatra performance to Malda on Thursday but when she boarded the Mumbai flight on Friday, there were bitter-sweet memories of the day gone by.
Blame it on a humongous crowd of nearly 40,000, the producer of the show was left with destroyed equipment, a torn-down stage and a few "injured" unit members.
An unit member recounted, "From Behrampore, where there was a show on Wednesday, the journey to Malda on Thursday took a good six hours by car. The jatra location was 70-75 kms further in a remote village. The show sarted at around 9.30 pm. Surprisingly, there was a huge turnout of nearly 40,000 people, much beyond the capacity of 15,000."
Said an eyewitness, "There were scenes ahead of Raveena's but the crowd started chanting her name. At one point, they even started pelting stuff on stage. The scenes eventually had to be cut short and Raveena made her entry. When she started her "Mast mast" number, the crowd at the back started forcing their way forward." By the time she was through with it, the first barricade gave away. Raveena requested and pleaded with the crowd. "She requested with 'Apnara boshun, please" and then urged them in Hindi telling them that she had come all the way from Mumbai to perform. In fact, the jatra had to be stopped mid-way and lights were switched on. But her words fell on deaf ears. By this time, the second barricade too came apart. She was advised to go to the greenroom but soon after, the crowd barged in there too," added the unit member.
The ordeal did not end there. "Seeing the crowd go beserk, I ran for cover and barged into a house. Thankfully, Raveena had parked her car nearby and got inside it asking her driver to speed away. She had to lie low in the car till the time she left the village behind. I shudder to think what might have happened had she stayed back for things to be brought under control," recounted the unit member adding that police had to resort to tear gas and fire a few rounds in the air to control the crowd.
When CT got in touch with the actor she said that "it was quite an experience!" and added on a lighter note, "In fact, the seriousness of it all set in only the day after. The first thing I did was call up my husband and he asked me, 'You are coming back in one piece, right?'" So, will she be interested in more jatra outings? "Honestly, I would because I loved my stage experience. But this time around, I will make sure that the security arrangements are foolproof," she signs off