Dubai rocks, laughs, cries as Salman Khan claims ‘King Khan’ title at UAE National Day show

Raw power and his own brand of humour leave crowds swooning

The man is nearly 48. But his stage presence alone can move women to tears.

This is Salman Khan, whose raw power was unleashed on Dubai this UAE National Day, with enough Bollywood kitsch in the kitty to warrant a potboiler of its own.

The four-hour epic entertainment had drama, suspense, comedy; all that was missing was a meaty villain. But the technical glitches could easily fill in the role.

Like every event, the Ahlan Bollywood show started a little over an hour behind schedule, with pop princess Sophie Chaudhary kicking off the evening with a montage of her tracks.

The small-time actress was also the emcee for the night, adding charm and a few chuckles to her turn in the spotlight.

Salman's Bollywood find, Zarine Khan, was next to share the limelight. What the actress lacked in stage presence, she tried to substitute with her enthusiasm.

Alas, she needs to work hard to make it all work effectively.

As the evening progressed, Pakistani comedian Omar Sharif managed to bring the warmth of a wee bit of humour this cold December night, but it was obvious the people wanted Salman Khan in action.

An hour into the show, the superstar burst onto stage in a montage of his most famous dialogues from his popular films, combining it with his laugh inducing moves that only Salman Khan can manage.

In a burst of A/V theatrics, Salman kicked off the night with his hit title song from 'Dabangg', followed by a medley of tracks such as 'Jeene ke hai char din', tracks from 'Bodyguard' and 'Wanted'.

The actor had crowds shrieking themselves hoarse, as the first of his few stage appearances of the night suddenly made you understand why he is a superstar in Bollywood.

Paying a tongue’n’cheek tribute to the UAE's National Day and its Arabic culture, Salman attempted to belly dance his way through 'Mashallah' from 'Ek Tha Tiger', which was woven-in with Etisalat's automatic generated voiceover informing you of a wrong number.

Before you go, what? This is Salman Khan.

It was all over under 15 minutes, almost as a teaser, before making way for Pakistan's Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to mesmerise with his sufi songs.

The singer is always a class act, but attribute it to a weak sound system and his unfortunate entry post Salman's power packed performance, that Rahat was simply unable to do full justice to his otherwise classy attempt.

Zarine Khan returned to stage soon after for the strangest tribute to late filmmaker Yash Chopra.

Strange because she didn't dance to a single of Chopra's classic tracks from films such as 'Lamhe', 'Daag' or even 'Chandini'.

She did however, attempt to take on stalwarts such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who epitomised songs such as 'Crazy Kiya Re' and 'Kajra re' from Chopra produced films.

Err, okay. Maybe Sohain Khal productions didn't have faith in Zarine to take on the classics.

Zarine's exit finally made way for the other headliner of the night, with Priyanka Chopra, who attempted a dramatic entry onto the stage in a crane.

Truth be, it seemed a tad blah. But the actress made up with enthusiastic turn in the spotlight, dancing to Salman's arch rival, Shah Rukh Khan's track from the film, 'Don 2'.

Priyanka then moved on to her film montage, including 'Anjaana Anjani', followed by a larger than life zesty turn with 'Darling'.

Several costume changes later, she managed to attempt at a lavani dance, combining it with her song from 'Agneepath' and 'Kaminey', never quite managing to get there, but full marks for trying.

Naturally, by midnight, the audience wanted more of Salman Khan, but had to be subjected to more of Omar Sharif and other performances before Salman made a grand entry again, atop a throne this time with red and white balloons billowing on stage for his romantic turn in the spotlight.

All his popular romantic songs from films such as 'Jaaneman', 'Bodyguard' and 'Lucky' were played on stage.

But it was the songs from his film 'Hum dil de chuke sanam' that caught audienece attention, which had seen him pair up with his real-life controversial girlfriend, Aishwarya back in the day.

Almost as a tribute to his painful love for her, Salman had ladies swooning in the audience, with one such fan openly crying. Surely, a few more were probably peppered through the Dubai Festival City arena.

The actor finally addressed his screaming fans, playing a mock competition of his reality show, 'Dus Ka Dum', that engaged fans with his humour that is classic Salman.

In fact, the last hour of the Sohail Khan production dragged in many places with Rahat, Omar and Sophie trying very hard to add zest to the night. But the cold, the long show and the possible work for some the following morning had many shuffling out even before the grand finale.

At 12.50am, the show finally stumbled towards a finish line, with all the performers taking turns on stage to dance a solo, before being joined on stage with Salman.

As the weary fans gathered their belongings to trudge back towards their cars, you couldn't help but notice the goofy smiles on many a face as memories of Salman were carried into the night.

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