Having returned from the high-octane glitz and glamour of the Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) weekend back to my regular daily life, I have allowed normalcy to settle. But, as I returned to my daily life I did notice one thing as I went about scouring Bollywood news websites for gossip: there are a lot of untruths being told about the IIFA Awards. I guess when stars go off to an international location the media comes out to play. Over the past few days I have compiled a few articles that I wish to address – and set the record straight about!
Akshay gives IIFA a miss
“Actor Akshay Kumar has apparently been busy shooting for Housefull 2 in London, even as several of his B-Town peers were reportedly partying away in Toronto at a filmi awards event. The official reason was that the actor was busy with the film’s shoot.”
The strange thing about Akshay Kumar not showing up at the IIFA weekend in Toronto is how close he has been to Canada in the past few years, carrying the Olympic torch and becoming the ambassador for India for the Canadian Tourism Commission. His close relationship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper led one to believe that Akki would surely take time out of his schedule to grace the IIFAs. To add even more confusion to the plot is the fact that co-actors from Housefull 2 Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Chunky Pandey, Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor were all present in Toronto. Was the real reason Akshay gave the show a miss because he felt Shah Rukh Khan might steal the limelight? This one is more than suspicious, as any Torontonian Bollywood fan would tell you.
Shah Rukh’s bleeding knees
“The 45-year old actor gave an enthralling performance on the last day of IIFA and managed to make the audiences dance to his tunes. However, after finishing his action-packed act, Shah Rukh limped out of the stage with his knees bleeding.”
It’s true that Shah Rukh Khan is hard-working and was clearly in pain throughout the IIFA weekend due to his knee injury, but bleeding? Hardly. I was about three or four feet away from the main stage when the stars all took their bows after the finale of the awards show and though SRK was visibly tired, sweating and maybe his leg was a little raw, there were no signs of serious injury or blood. In fact, SRK very calmly walked off the stage by himself with no assistance and no need for concern. There is a limit to exaggeration and this is surely it!
Anushka vs. Sonakshi?
“A source revealed that the decision to replace Anushka was taken at the last minute by the organizers after they felt that she was unable to deliver her steps with excellence. Moreover, the organizers also felt that Anushka wasn’t prepared with her steps and thus they told her at the last moment that Sonakshi was better fit for the performance.”
While it is true that Ranveer and Sonakshi gave a dance performance together, they did so as the newly awarded Best Debut Actor and Actress. There was no scope in that context for Anushka to take to the stage. And, if the organizers really were unimpressed with Anushka’s dance moves, then why did they have her dance with both Ranveer and SRK in the finale number? The media often likes to pit actresses against one another, when in reality both Sonakshi and Anushka had their moments of glory – and both also with Ranveer! – at the IIFA awards.
“At a recent award weekend in the aforementioned city, SRK decided to throw a party. And so did Salman’s brother Sohail. Even King Khan’s close buddies Maheep Kapoor (Sanjay Kapoor’s wife) and Bhavna Pandey (Chunkey Pandey’s wife) were on the Sohail guest list. While stars like Hrithik had an option of choosing which party to attend, his Agneepath co-star Priyanka did not. She wasn’t invited for the Sohail Khan party at all. And since, even SRK’s wife Gauri was on that guest list, missing Priyanka’s name couldn’t have been a mere oversight.”
Yes, both Sohail and Shah Rukh Khan did throw parties in their suites at the Fairmont Royal York after the award ceremony (with both parties not wrapping up until at least 7 am). And though I cannot vouch for Priyanka Chopra’s presence on either guest list, I can assuredly say that this reporting is completely bunk. All IIFA attendees know that Hrithik Roshan did not come down to Toronto (if he had, even for an hour, Torontonians surely would have been on full alert) and even more outlandish, Gauri Khan did not accompany her husband on the trip as she and the kids were in London. If these details are so murky how can we believe any of the other ‘facts’ told to us about the celebrities’ festivities?
“For the first time, the couple [Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza] who have never admitted to being more than just co-actors, decided to throw caution to the wind and indulge in some PDA at a recent awards function in Toronto. What’s more, some industry insiders even predict a 2012 wedding.”
Though I can’t honestly say that I was keeping watch of Riteish and Genelia 24/7 when they were in Toronto, I can admit that I did keep an eye out for them to see if there was any visible chemistry at any time due to their alleged romance. Turned out to be a damp squib. The two never even acknowledged each other or even walked down the green carpet at the same time neither on Friday nor Saturday. And when Genelia came on stage to present an award, there was no teasing as I had expected there to be. I cannot confirm or deny whether these two were, are or will be in a relationship, but I can certainly say that there was no Toronto PDA.
“When a TV reporter asked Shah Rukh why big stars don’t come together at events like IIFA, Shah Rukh’s reply was straightforward and brusque. ‘I actually don’t understand your question. We all have been under one roof many times and we are very proud of all the award functions, IIFA especially, around the world. Whenever we are called, we attend,’ Shah Rukh said.”
I was present at this press conference where Shah Rukh Khan was asked this question and cannot agree with the reporter who has described SRK’s response as ‘brusque’. In fact, I felt that SRK was quite level-headed and calm when he responded to the question that was clearly meant to get a rise out of him or spur some controversy. Shah Rukh was very patient with the media at the Kingdom of Dreams press conference and answered all of the questions politely, honestly and in a straightforward manner. It is unfortunate that words can be twisted into a different light and innocent readers would never know the difference.
The IIFA experience has been a once-in-a-lifetime event in my life, but it has also taught me to better appreciate honesty in reporting and take every little detail that I read about stars with a grain of salt.