Shah Rukh Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn
and Vidya Balan might have chosen to stay back in Mumbai to cast their votes for the Lok Sabha polls but for several others it’s certainly films over exercising voting rights.
While this Bollywood bunch is being heavily criticized from all quarters for choosing to attend the 15th edition of the International Indian Film Festival (IIFA) that’s being held at the Tampa Bay in Florida from April 23-26, they themselves justify their absence by saying that it’s all about prior commitment to the awards show.Read: Bollywood celebs turn out to vote, ask fans to get inked
Some of the stars who were spotted at or around the venue on Thursday (April 24) included actors Deepika Padukone,
Priyanka Chopra, Sonakshi Sinha, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor,
Anil Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Saurabh Shukla, Gulshan Grover, Vivek Oberoi, Shabana Azmi, poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, David Dhawan and actor-filmmaker Anupam Kher.
"We had made a commitment to IIFA over five months back… election dates were announced much later so we had to be here," said Saif.
Known to be politically aware, actor Vivek Oberoi
, who was recently campaigning for Arun Jaitley, and was also openly seen talking in support of Narendra Modi, too, skipped the polls and cited prior commitment as his reason to be in Florida for the awards, instead.
Bad man Gulshan Grover justified his stand, saying, "Main kalakar ke bhes mein koi political activist nahin hoon
… so I’m not regretting being here. Jab mujhe politics mein aana hoga tab main full-fledged aoonga
, but right now this is my priority."
Meanwhile, talking about choosing IIFA over polls, actor Nawazuddin Siddique said that he doesn’t have a voter ID card and hasn’t ever cast a vote, while Ritesh Deshmukh said he already cast his vote from Latur in Maharashtra.
"I have voted on the 17th," said Riteish flaunting his inked finger, and adding, "It’s however unfortunate that many people from Bollywood couldn’t vote but it’s unfair to blame them or tag them as irresponsible citizens. You must understand that there are a lot of commitments involved… physical commitment as well as financial commitments… election dates were announced much after the IIFA dates and it was not possible or even ethical for them to go back on their words."
Sonakshi Sinha and Priyanka Chopra at the 15th edition of the International Indian Film Festival (IIFA). (AFP)