Narendra Modi: Your New BFF
Chanting fans, booming music, and a rotating stage — is that the Biebs on a surprise comeback tour!? Unfortunately, it was not. But this might have been the first thought of uninformed onlookers as they passed hoards of people lined up outside Madison Square Garden this past Sunday. Once they gave a closer look, the passers-by would notice that it was not the cute cherub cheeks of the Biebs emblazed on the attendees' T-shirts, but the not-so-cute (but still awesome) face of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to CBS New York, there were around 18,000 people in the crowd to hear Modi speak, which put the venue at just about sold out capacity.
Other people who have done this include Elvis Pressley, John Lennon, and Miley Cyrus, but Modi didn’t have to rely on how nice he looks in a leotard to do it. It's no surprise Modi drew such a crowd — he's incredibly popular among Indian Americans for promising to overcome backwards government practices and bring India to its full economic potential, among other things. He also suggested World Yoga Day to the UN General Assembly, making it clear he has a serious chill factor going on. Who wouldn’t want to downward dog with this guy?!
As all seasoned rock stars know, it is important to get a crowd warmed up, and Modi was no exception. Foreignpolicy.com reports that Modi’s speech was preceded by a pre-show type deal that included song performances, Bollywood style dance numbers, and pro-India videos set to some sweet techno music. This proves once again that he might have a career of the rock star variety after he realizes being a Prime Minister might not leave a lot of time for sun salutat-ing. Obama might want to take some hints from this guy and whip out a dance number before his next State of the Union Address. He might also get a little help from the Secret Service, whom although can't remember to lock the front door, are rumored to do a mean cha-cha. Time.com also reports that the crowd was chanting Modi's name before he even came on stage... how about that for an approval rating?
The spectacle that was this MSG appearance is not out of the ordinary for Modi. The Huffington Post reports that during his high-profile campaign for Prime Minister he had holograms of himself appear at rallies. Taking all of this into account, there is no doubt Modi can’t put on quite a show, and University Union might want to rethink the line-up for Mayfest this year.