Filmstars often behave badly when dining out, say staffers at leading restaurants in Mumbai and Delhi. And so they are not surprised, they say, about Wednesday’s incident where actor Saif Ali Khan allegedly hit a guest at Mumbai’s Wasabi restaurant when the latter complained about too much noise coming from Saif’s table. The actor was subsequently arrested and let out on bail.
Making a point that Bollywood stars are the worst lot when it comes to behaviour and dining etiquette, restaurant staff say the stars behave as if they own the place.
“Some stars derive pleasure out of humiliating the hotel staff. Some are completely junglee, and behave worse than kids. Once a veteran star came to a leading ITC hotel. He grabbed the chef by his collar because his order was mistakenly given to someone else. Even then the general manager apologised to the star, because he was a VIP guest,” says a chef at a prominent Delhi five-star, wishing anonymity.
“Celebrities sometimes demand dishes that are not on the menu or want a dish prepared in a manner that we don’t make. Try refusing and they create a ruckus,” says a staffer at Hotel Le Meridien in the Capital.
There have been instances when stars have behaved atrociously and even damaged restaurant property. In December last year, Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Hakkasan in Mumbai had claimed that film actor Tanuja and her daughter Tanisha broke an award trophy and threw the food on the floor when they were denied a doggy bag to carry the leftovers. “She (Tanuja) seemed drunk and probably did not know what she was doing,” Ajay Beri, the COO of the restaurant had told the media.
A leading chef in Delhi adds, “Once a Bollywood actor visited our restaurant at a five-star hotel in Kapashera. He ordered a drink for his girlfriend but the order got delayed because the restaurant was overcrowded. He screamed, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ and smashed the table glass with a metal vase. Forget about paying for the damage, the service staff had to apologise to him because of his star status.” He adds, “But such behaviour is often ignored and doesn’t get reported because the hotels want film-stars to dine or stay with them for their own publicity.”
Not everyone, however, blames the stars. “The celebs who visit my restaurant have been well-behaved. They in fact look for privacy and do not wish to bebdisturbed,” says former TV actor Kamia Mulhotra, who owns D’Ultimate in Mumbai. “I have been to many restaurants with Saif. He is the kind who gives his chair if he sees an elderly woman,” says filmmaker Kunal Kohli, defending Saif.
‘Sorry’ won’t work now, I will pursue the matter legally: Iqbal
Iqbal Meer Sharma, 44, who alleged that actor Saif Ali Khan assaulted him and his father-in-law, Raman Bhai Patel on Wednesday, says the matter won’t end even if Saif apologises.
“Sorry won’t work now. I will take this case as far as possible. If he wanted to apologise, he should have done it then and there. He also owes an apology to my father-in-law,” says Sharma, who hails from South Africa.
Reacting to Saif’s statement that he was provoked, hit and abused Sharma says that Saif is lying. “Whatever Saif is saying about me provoking him is false and fabricated.” He adds that being an NRI, he was not aware of Saif’s star status, “I didn’t even know that Saif is a Bollywood star. No one has the right to assault a senior citizen. No person in a sober state would do that. Saif should know how to behave like a civilised citizen.”
Recalling what happened at Wasabi on Wednesday morning, Sharma says, “He said, ‘Do you know who I am?’” He called me an idiot and pushed me. He punched me on my nose. When my father-in-law tried to intervene, Saif punched him twice — on his face and stomach — and he fell down. I will not withdraw my case at any cost.
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