During the premiere of Mughal-E-Azam (1960), prints for the Dilip Kumar-Madhubala classic were delivered to the venue, Eros Theatre, Churchgate, on an elephant’s back.
However, when Akshay Kumar recently suggested arriving for the premiere of Thank You, last evening, on an elephant’s back, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) declined the request.
Co-producer Akshay thought of the idea keeping in mind the premiere’s wedding theme. “Akshay suggested he come on an elephant to add to the grandeur of the event. He reasoned that in the past, royals would go to their wedding, riding an elephant,” reveals a source.
The venue at Chandan Theater, Juhu, was decorated as a wedding venue complete with shehnaais and band-baaja, where the actors were expected to arrive dressed as baaraatis. “Fireworks had also been planned to welcome the stars of the movie. The AWBI didn’t want Akshay to ride an elephant because the loud crackers could disturb the animal, leading to chaos.”
The producers, UTV, finally decided to have an elephant near the venue, so Akshay could at least sit on it and wave out to the crowd.
Commenting on getting permission from AWBI and the idea behind a ‘free public premiere’, Shikha Kapoor, Head of Marketing, UTV, said, “Some formalities have to be completed. We’re sure everything will go smoothly, as per the law. The idea behind this public premiere was to reach out to the common people.”
The producers had also planned a special act, to be performed by the cast.