By Junita Thakorlal
Vancouver: Concert-goers remain wary of potential ticketing fraud as the next concert sets up shop in Vancouver. Tickets for Punjabi Sufi singer Surinder Sartaj are on sale at Silktickets.com and through various outlets but the website’s phone number terminates at a cell phone which doesn’t take messages. Promoter Gurjit Bal says, “there is a huge difference between local promoters and ones are from out of town, they don’t know the community like I do. I only have been giving VIP tickets to sponsors, all of whom I know. Each ticket has a price printed on it. Plus, the meet and greet is scheduled on a different day.”
After last week’s exposé about the ticketing fiasco with the Dabangg Reloaded Vancouver concert which took place July 1 at PNE Coliseum staring Bollywood superstars Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sonakshi Sinha, Katrina Kaif and more, promoters Gold Spade Entertainment Inc. are in hot water as more fans share their version of events. One such fan is Jasleen Gulati who dished out $500 per ticket on her Visa for row 13, and an additional $1,000 cash for a meet and greet ticket.
“I went to the Dabangg office to buy my tickets. It was Sid that I dealt with for ticket pricing but Vinay Sharma and Saima Khan processed my payment,” said Gulati. “They all said meet and greet tickets were cash-only basis but a thousand dollars is a lot of money! I asked them again and again if I will get a photo with Salman Khan, and they all promised me a ‘Selfie with Salman’. It seemed like a dream come true for me! But my instinct was right, it was a complete disaster backstage. I got a call from Gul from the Dabangg office team on the day prior to the show telling me where to check-in to pick up my wristband. At the concert, not many had that band. Even people holding VVIP tickets didn’t have that band,” claimed Gulati.
Sid Menghani is one of the three owners of the promoting company Gold Spade Entertainment, and Vinay Sharma is the owner/operator of Times of Canada Magazine. It is believed that Saima Khan was a temporary hired sales representative. The Dabangg office on the corner of 128 Street at 80 Avenue in Surrey was supposedly run jointly by Gold Spade Entertainment Inc. and Vinay Sharma who oversaw ticket sales.
“I was not involved in sales of floor seats, just stand seats,” claimed Sharma when questioned how the floor tickets were double-printed. “One of the promoters was in the office all the time, and we had multiple sales reps to help. The whole town was helping them to sell the tickets, but the final decisions were all made by Gold Spade Entertainment.”
Sharma named several prominent business people and show sponsors who helped to sell tickets, one of which was Rajat Bedi, an Indian film actor and television producer who has appeared in over 40 Bollywood films and now lives in Vancouver. He is most popular for his role as Raj Saxena in Koi…Mil Gaya in 2003, the first of the Krrish film series. When questioned about his involvement in the Dabangg Reloaded concert, he denied knowledge of the details, claiming that he was in London and had returned a couple of days ago. “I’m still jetlagged so I haven’t spoken to anyone. But I did not sell any tickets.”
Gold Spade Entertainment and Vinay Sharma were associated with Sukhi Sihota who also sold tickets in the Debangg office. Sihota holds a criminal record but it is unclear if he was connected to the decision for Gold Spade Entertainment to double-print front row tickets for the Dabangg Reloaded Vancouver concert.
As for Gulati, she did end up getting her photo taken with the stars but claimed it was so rushed and there were others in the photo that she didn’t know. Before she had a chance to complain, she was ushered out by PNE security with the threat that if she did not cooperate that she will get thrown out. “PNE staff was terrible, I was so shocked at how they behaved with everyone there.”
Formal complaints with ticketing and staffing at PNE can be made directly through PNE Guest Services either by phone at 604-252-3680 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.