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Salman arrives only after Vivek’s exit

The highpoint of Day 2 at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards weekend was a celebrity match between Bollywood stars and Sri Lankan cricketers. The local media flooded the streets and took the security by surprise.

entertainment Updated: Jun 06, 2010 13:49 IST
Serena Menon

Salman-ViveikThe highpoint of Day 2 at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards weekend was a celebrity match between Bollywood stars and Sri Lankan cricketers. The local media flooded the streets and took the security by surprise.

Hrithik Roshan and Suniel Shetty captained the two film teams. Sri Lankan’s Team XI’s skipper, Kumar Sangakara, was there in his official capacity. The proceeds from the match were donated to Hands for Humanity and UNICEF.

Lack of celebrities prompted Suniel Shetty, the captain of one team, to join the rival team in the second match. Hrithik Roshan did not play at all because of an injury, Sohail Khan stepped in as his replacement. Aftab Shivdasani had hurt his hand too and was not expected to take the field. He surprised everyone by showing up on the green.

The real surprise was Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, who played for Sohail’s team and stumped everyone by taking a wicket.

Salman Khan didn’t show up during the first half. He sauntered in soon after Vivek lost his wicket and left the field.

What a coincidence!
Other actors present included Dino Morea, Harman Baweja, Chunky Panday, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani. There were former Indian cricketers like Vinod Kambli and Kiran More… And yes, Ajay Jadeja too. Sangakara had roped in teammates Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene among others.

The President’s son played for Sri Lanka, as Bollywood cheered him on. Suniel Shetty’s XI were the first to take the field against the Lankans… And lost to them.

The scorecard registered an error, one more in the line of several goof-ups, so no one knew what the final numbers were. But since this was only a ‘friendly’ for charity, no one objected.

The recently concluded IPL was recreated at the SSC stadium in Colombo, with cheerleaders and a DJ playing Bollywood music.

Fashionably late
“Please increase the size of the font on the teleprompter. And how on earth is this word pronounced?” hollers Vivek Oberoi, one of the hosts of the IIFA Fashion Extravaganza, half-an-hour past the time the event was scheduled for.

8.30 pm: Dia Mirza and Oberoi were still rehearsing their speech. And Sri Lanka’s First Lady was still to arrive. “There is a lot of traffic and everyone’s stuck. That’s why the delay,” informs Ronit Roy, who’s in charge of the celeb security.

The show finally starts, two hours late. Anil Kapoor pulls Riteish Dekhmukh, Boman Irani and Lara Dutta up on stage and replays recordings of Deshmukh and Irani from the previous IIFA events. That has the audience smiling, finally!

Salman Khan walks the ramp, sporting his Dabaang look, for Vikram Phadnis... And walks off. Jacqueline Fernandes and Kumar Sangakara are the showstoppers for Manish Malhotra. But it is Salim-Sulaiman’s musical performance that scores over the starry ramp walks.

Anushka Manchanda flits in for a special performance. Kailash Kher croons his Fashion number, Mar jaawan… and Saiyaan… Famous last words from Salim: “I would like to thank Kailash, Anushka, Sulaiman... and I... (pause) am here... for this wonderful event.”

IIFA owns Sri Lanka
The country’s police escorts all those associated with the award show, disregarding traffic lights and road rules. While every 50 metres, a commando or two stands guard, gun in hand. The locals are amused by all the security and missing some stars.

“Abhishek Bachchan and Tamil superstars didn’t come,” grouses a shopkeeper. “What was the use of having the awards here then?” Point.