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HindustanTimes Mon,15 Sep 2014

Saifai performances: Shah Rukh defends Salman; Alia apologises

Agencies  New Delhi, January 10, 2014
First Published: 13:14 IST(10/1/2014) | Last Updated: 15:07 IST(10/1/2014)
Days after the much-criticised Saifai Mahotsav, which saw performances by Bollywood actors including Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan came out in support of his colleagues.


The Mahotsav was organised in the native village of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and he was present there during the Bollywood performances along with son and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The event took place barely 300km from the Muzaffarnagar relief camps where children of helpless riots victims have been dying of the cold. As a development, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was supposed to watch the premiere of Dedh Ishqiya along with Madhuri Dixit, cancelled the event on Friday.


Not fair to nitpick on Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan
Interestingly, Shah Rukh Khan, who did not go to Saifai, has defended Bollywood stars who participated at the event.

The list of performers included Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Eli Abraham, Mallika Sherawat, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra, Remo, Sajid Wajid and Hard Kaur.

Speaking at an awards function, Shah Rukh Khan refused to take a moral high ground on the issue. He said, "I have performed earlier, not knowing the situation in the area." The Bollywood badshah further said that it was unfair to nitpick on Bollywood for everything.

"We are performers and that's our job," he added.

However, there are quite a few prominent names that are not in support.


Failed as a father for not stopping Alia: Mahesh Bhatt
While Alia Bhatt has said that it was a mistake to perform at the event, her father and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt told a news channel he had "failed as a father for not stopping Alia from dancing at Saifai".

TV reports quoted Mahesh Bhatt as saying, "I didn’t warn my daughter about going to Etawah. Being a very well aware father, I should have told her to not go. Since the chief minister of UP sent out the invitation, it was not possible for her to back out. I got to know about the performance only at the last moment."


Sharmila Tagore criticises ‘mess’
Actress Sharmila Tagore criticised the whole 'mess' while talking to a news channel. Soha Ali Khan also took to Twitter to clarify and write, "Just for the record I was not performing at Saifai as stated by some news reports."




An opportunity to help locals: Salman and Madhuri
Earlier, on Thursday, Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit justified their presence at the event, saying they were in the UP town for charity.

Salman Khan wrote on Facebook, "Whenever I visit a place for a performance or a promotion, I see it as an opportunity to help the locals in the areas of healthcare or education." Salman Khan wrote on the social networking site that the Being Human team has committed to fund 200 paediatric heart surgeries in UP.

"We have also contributed Rs. 25 lakh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital for the purchase of an Echo Machine, Pediatric and neo natal ventilator and a portable X-ray machine for their paediatric cardiac ICU," Salman Khan said in his Facebook post.


A few hours later, Madhuri Dixit tweeted, ""Whenever I visit a place for a performance or a promotion, I see it as an opportunity to help the locals in the areas of healthcare or education."
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