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Bollywood keeps Melbourne waiting

Bollywood's superstars arrived for the games in a sashay of saris, with Lara Dutta keeping media waiting for two hours in true prima donna style.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 19:32 IST

Bollywood's superstars began arriving in Melbourne on Friday in a sashay of saris, with one-time Miss Universe Lara Dutta keeping media waiting for two hours in true prima donna style.

Some 800 Indian performers are in town to take part in an 11-minute segment at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

New Delhi hosts the Games in 2010.

Among the performers are 12 of Bollywood's best including actress Aishwarya Rai who played the lead in the recent film, Bride and Prejudice.

Rai is due to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday, but another high-profile star, Dutta, kept media waiting for almost two hours past the appointed press call, mysteriously delayed in her hotel suite.

She turned up unapologetic about the delay, clad in a pair of old jeans.

Other Bollywood stars expected to perform at the ceremony include Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherji and Priyanka Chopra.

Meanwhile actress Isha Sherwani, dressed in a white top with a blue sari-style skirt, said she'd always wanted to be an elite athlete or gymnast.

"Unfortunately that was not to be," she said: "But I'm very happy to be performing as an actress and dancer."

Performance director Viraf Sarkari said the show would include fusion Indian dancing and a Punjabi folk dance in Bollywood-style to herald the arrival of the Delhi Games mascot Shera, the friendly tiger.

"We're trying to showcase India in a very modern form (but) also keeping the traditions in place," he said.

"Bollywood, Indian cinema, is actually popular all over the world today and it's basically a window to India and why not make a song and dance out of that."

India produces nearly 1,000 films annually, often with spectacular song-and-dance numbers making them hugely popular across the world.

First Published: Mar 24, 2006 19:32 IST