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Triland Fusion- an electrifying night

BANGLADESH-China Friendship Conference Centre wore a very different look on the night of May 7th. The air inside was electrifying and the whole place was literally pulsating with energy and a sense of wonderment about the things that were yet to come.

The Sufi Concert, organized by Momentum Events, the event management wing of Unitrend Ltd, was the most anticipated show in recent years, or so it seemed. Dhaka has literally been thirsty for 'International' Entertainment for a really long time now and it showed in the large numbers that showed up.

Though procrastination led to the writer missing out on the opening, there was still the consolation that 'Junoon' were still performing. However, the absence of Ali Azmat, the lead vocalist, stole the energy that Junoon are noted for having, they still managed to entertain the masses with their renditions of 'Pappu Yaar', 'Garaj Baras' and 'Sayooni', the last one which got the crowd roaring. Thus, Junoon concluded their performance and the crowd sat waiting for local star James.

James entered the stage to an ear-deafening roar by the audience who were more charged than before. James acknowledged the crowd and urged them to sing along as he swept the crowd with his collection of hit songs such as 'Lace fita Lace', the classic 'Ma', the engaging 'Dushtu Cheler Dol', 'Meerabhai' and the ever-popular 'Bheegi Bheegi'. Every minute kept proving the popularity that James has accumulated over the years. Along with James, everyone present never failed to miss a beat and kept mouthing the words. Some, overcome by a sudden burst of enthusiasm, began dancing their hearts out. It was indeed a sight to behold.

James concluded his performance to a huge round of applause. People demanded an encore but possibly due to time constraints, James couldn't comply. After 'Guru' left the stage, a sudden silence descended upon those who were present. Everyone sat quietly, looking around, waiting for the main-event to begin. It isn't everyday that you get to hear Kailash Kher, the Sufi King. Thus, it wasn't a surprise that the anticipation level rose to its peak. Here was the time, when we would get to see one of the greatest singers of Bollywood, live, right in front of us, in his human form. Slowly, his band members came up on the stage and the place was prepared. Slowly the music began but there were still no signs of Kailash Kher. Many began to wonder if he had not been able to make it and this thought saddened many. The anticipatory silence now turned into dread and we waited with baited breaths.

Suddenly the whole place was filled with the crooning sound. And then the spotlight fell and we could see Kailash Kher himself. There was a rousing applause that droned out all other sounds. Kailash then proceeded to perform his numerous hits including 'Teeri Deewani' and the most requested 'Saiyyan'. Kailash Kher really brought down the house, mesmerizing the masses with his powerful, soothing and moving voice. When he wasn't singing he took time to mingle with the crowd at one stage even pointing out at a lady who had left her seat and then returned. 'I'm glad you are back. I would like a toilet break too, but I can't go.' He said with a smile, making everyone laugh. He even spoke in Bangla and then proceeded to sing a Bangla song, once more to tremendous applause.

He then introduced everyone to all of his band members and expressed his gratitude towards everyone. After that he still received many requests and kept on complying, much to everyone's delight. He had to sing the song that flung him towards the stars; 'Allah Ke Bande' and he did so beautifully. The crowd, almost everyone present, sang and danced along with him, activities that he kept encouraging. Till late at night, even at the end, he managed to entertain, asking the crowd why they hadn't left yet. Then he burst out in another song and the festivities began again, for one last time.

By Osama Rahman

Champions League semi-final 2nd Leg
Controversies, conspiracies and celebrations

AS it a heart-breaking twist of fate, a strange coincidence or a methodically carried out conspiracy which deprived us of a classic Manchester United vs. Chelsea encounter at Rome for the biggest trophy of them of all?

Manchester United paved their path by not overcoming their obstacle but by completely demolishing it. A helpless Arsenal fell to two quick goals in the first eleven minutes and then Cristiano Ronaldo, who managed a brace, scored again after the break. Park Ji-Sung punished a mistake by Teenager Gibbs, a midfielder pushed into the vacant left-back position, and then C'Ron continued in his rich vein of form by scoring two goals, one from almost 40 yards away, reminiscent of his goal against Porto. United finished with a 4-1 aggregate, getting ready for Rome. Arsenal, on the other hand, produced nothing of quality, showed no class that they are notable for and were more clueless than clueless the cat, whoever that is.

The story at Stamford Bridge was very different. It was Heart-Break Central there. Michael Essien scored with a superb volley in the first 10 minutes, giving Chelsea a 1-0 lead, which would amount to nothing if they failed to score another and couldn't stop Barcelona from scoring. Chelsea weren't sitting ducks this time around and kept going forward with ambition. Barcelona enjoyed the wealth of possession but then again sometimes when teams have no idea how to penetrate, they hold onto the ball and pass it around for a miracle. This explained their possession percentage.

But Barcelona had a slight advantage. They had 13 men on the field, one in the mould of Norwegian referee, Henning Ovrebo. With a mere 28 Champion's League matches under his belt, one can only wonder why UEFA had been so stupid to hand such a mercurial task to such an amateur. Almost 6 penalty claims, 4 of which could be given and 2, which were clear as daylight, were brushed aside.

Malouda was brought down in the box, Drogba was brought down in the box and Pique had a clear as day handball all of which were waved off by the referee. He attempted to compensate for his blasphemous errors by showing a red card to Abidal 20 minutes before time for absolutely nothing. He had, in no way, tripped Anelka. But even with 10 men down, Barcelona still were daring as they moved forward and Chelsea failed to capitalize, taking off Drogba for Belleti afterwards to no result.

Whereas Barcelona started defending from Chelsea's half, The Blues sat back and this proved costly. The Pensioner's fans were brought to tears when Essien's clearance went as far as Messi, in the box, who moved the ball to Iniesta who stood at the edge of the back and who in turn scored beautifully.

Was the result fair? We let the people judge for themselves. However, from a footballing point of view, the match was a disgrace. The refereeing was a disgrace and it goes without saying that Chelsea was the clear winner on the day regardless of having less possession and not playing 'beautiful' football or anti-football. They played their best match of the season, technically sound and with the ambition to win. The end of the game emotions by the players and Hiddink saying 'He had never seen a worst refereeing display' were more than fair.

But at the end of the day it remains 1-1 and Barcelona go to meet Manchester United in the final and UEFA must be happy that they finally managed to thwart an inevitable all-English final, even if it was by some obvious and unethical ways. Though an English final has been made impossible, an English Champion may still come about. If any team has the history and quality to retain the title for the first time, it is Manchester United. We wish them the best of luck, because they got there luckily whereas Barcelona had to be at the referee's mercy. The best team in Europe mustn't be a fluke team thus let us hope, for Football's sake, that the Reds conquer Rome.

By Osama Rahman
(Disclaimer: The writer's opinions are his own)


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