Bollywood Stars Shaken by Siege

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Having been stunned along with the rest of the World’s population by the horrifying militant attack on Mumbai in the last 48 hours, many Bollywood stars have only today begun to find their voice. Bipasha Basu, who narrowly escaped the Vile Parle blast said, “It’s shocking and scary. We’re going through a very disturbing and inhuman phase. On Wednesday night, I travelled on the highway two minutes after the Vile Parle blast. There was mayhem on the roads. John’s (John Abraham) aunt, who works at the Taj (Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotels), reached home at 7 a.m. Thursday. I wonder where and when it will end.”

Hema Malini, the seventies Dream Girl, star of Sholay, and now BJP and Rajya Sabha member, added “I think the Mumbai police rose to the occasion. It is very sad that we lost some brave officers. It’s really sad that Mumbai has become so unsafe. I wait with my heart in my mouth until Esha (Deol) and Ahana (Deol) are home.”

“I was on the phone with a friend in London when she asked me to switch on the TV,” said Shabana Azmi, “It’s a diabolic war waged on our city and country. This isn’t the time to place blame. We need to maintain peace and communal harmony and cooperate with the police. Our condolences to police officers who sacrificed their lives. Terrorism should be struck down with an iron hand.”

Like many in Mumbai, Shilpa Shetty was caught by surprise by the situation. “I had an early morning shoot Thursday so I went to sleep early,” she explained, “I had no clue about what happened in my city until someone called from London to ask if I was alright. That’s when I switched on the TV and quickly made calls to friends who live in town. It makes me sad and angry that Mumbai residents are soft targets for such attacks.”

Celina Jaitley was caught on the fringes of the event. “I was at the Four Seasons hotel in Worli when the attacks happened. Till 3 a.m. Thursday we remained close to the exits and then we went up to our rooms. I got calls from friends and my security head to stay put. Is this really happening to our wonderful city?”

Sammir Dattani appears to have been luckier than many: “Five friends and I had a table booked at the Oberoi hotel for dinner. We were just a stone’s throw away from the hotel when I changed my mind because I had an early morning flight. That’s when we heard a loud explosion in the hotel. Before we could react, all hell broke loose. We quickly drove off.”

Lyricist Javed Akhtar summed up the views of many with his comment: “It’s not the time to blame anyone. It’s time to come together. It’s time to help and assist victims of the terrorist attack. The film industry is in a state of shock. But I am sure that if we stand united, no terrorist attack will be able to divide us. At this moment I don’t want to blame anyone – neither the government nor any of its agencies. We have to do whatever is possible to spread love and unity among people of all communities.”

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