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Bollywood five prove simply magnificent.

The rising stars of Bollywood sent Birmingham's Asian community wild last night during an all singing, all dancing showbiz spectacular at the NEC.

The event - the Magnificent Five - featured former Miss World Aishwariya Rai, "teenage sensation" Akshaye Khanna, Twinkle Khanna, and actress Rani Mukerjee, the Bengal Tigress, who performed hit songs from their latest films.

Virtually unknown to mainstream cinema goers in this country they are huge stars in India and equally popular with Britain's Asian population.

Last night, around 7,000 people, some paying as much as pounds 50 a ticket, packed the NEC to see their heroes in the flesh.

The three-and-a-half hour show was a mixture of acting, dancing and singing with a good measure of pyrotechnics and stage smoke thrown in.

Programmes for the event boasted of a showbiz spectacular which would unveil "a new class of Indian superstar" who are stylish, beautiful and extremely energetic.

One of the performers Aamir Khan is credited to be the "most intelligent actor" described as a "powerhouse performer who has graduated to being a matured award winning performer".

A spokesman for the show said the performers, all under 30, were massive stars in the eyes of the Asian community.

Organiser Mr Mambo Sharma said: "The audience gets very excited, they are real fans and the show is no different from a Janet Jackson show. They react in the same way, they go absolutely mad.

"Indian cinema is becoming very popular in this country and most of the people in the audience would know who the stars are. They are the up and coming start of Bollywood cinema and are the equivalent of the Leonardo di Caprios of the world."

Last night's performers have already starred in around eight films each and are on their way to becoming millionaires in India.

As top performers they expect to earn between pounds 5 million and pounds 10 million a year.

Bollywood films regularly see cinemas packed in India where around 12,000 films a year - twice that of Hollywood - are made each year.

Last night, members of the audience were only equivocal in their admiration.

Mr Shaharyar Ali Khan, aged 25, from Derby, said it was a dream come true for him to watch the Magnificent Five. He said: "It was excellent. I'm a big fan of Bollywood cinema and it's great to see so many stars who I have seen in the films actually live on stage."

Another fan, Mr Chirag Thanki, aged 24, from Leicester, said: "I went to one last year and they are always very exciting. It's a great chance to see the start."

The show moves to Manchester today before heading for a month long tour of the USA and Canada incorporating 15 shows.
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Title Annotation:National
Author:Keely, Alistair
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 30, 1999
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