Six to 60, they were all there at City Centre Salt Lake this weekend to catch a glimpse of their favourite hero. No, it wasn't King Jab Tak Hain Jaan Khan or Bengal's jamai Big B doing the star turn, but everyone's little hero Chhota Bheem.
Toddlers found a perch on their dads' shoulders, college girls swooned over his charm and grannies turned kids all over again as the Dholakpur Express came to town as part of the Telekids presents Chhota Bheem Carnival on November 17-18, in association with City Centre Salt Lake.
The Kund area of the mall wore an air of celebration with Chhota Bheem songs playing in the background. The kids jostled rock fan-style just to hold Chhota Bheem's hand for a moment and ran up to the stage every time their hero made an appearance.
Tuntun Mausi's famous laddoos, Chhota Bheem's magic potion, were as much a hit with parents as with their young ones. "Tuntun Mausi's laddoos are delicious. I have already gorged on quite a few. I wish I could gobble up more and get Bheem's strength," said Sneha Singhania, a Class VIII student at Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
Another top draw was the replica of the Shaolin temple, the backdrop of Chhota Bheem's battle against Kaifu. The little fans were all eager to get clicked in front of the temple.
If the boys were keen on posing next to Chhota Bheem's 3D figure, the girls envied Chutki for being so lucky. "I wish I could be in her place, accompanying Bheem on all his adventures," smiled Kasturi Ghosh, a Class I student at South Point School.
Even college students were caught in the Chhota Bheem craze. "He is so cute. I badly want to have a Chhota Bheem in my life," wished Ria Dutta, a first-year student at Techno India. "Chhota Bheem is not only cute, I find him handsome," quipped Ria's classmate, Shilpita Hazra.
It was age no bar for 60-year-olds too with many reliving their childhood. "It seems I have been transported to Dholakpur village. My grandson Agneesh remains glued to TV channel Pogo when he appears. I too watch the Chhota Bheem series with him, it reminds me of my childhood days. Just like Chhota Bheem, Aranyadeb comics were a great hit when we were kids," recalled Enakshi Chowdhury.
Chucking soft balls into the mouth of a giant model of Bheem, shooting arrows at his enemies and pinning Jaggu's tail were some of the games popular among the toddlers. Some shed tears on losing, while others couldn't stop smiling on winning Chhota Bheem stickers as prizes.
A stall selling Chhota Bheem merchandise proved a big hit with fans picking up T-shirts, mugs and other items."I have never seen such a crowd in a carnival like this before. It's maddening," said Neha Poddar, the proprietor of MiStore, which had set up the stall.
DJ Akash, who came with son Kabir, a "Chhota Bheem freak", said: "He has a huge collection of Chhota Bheem merchandise. My son had a great time playing with and meeting Chhota Bheem."
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