By Natalia Ningthoujam
Be it from Kenya, Bangladesh or India, die-hard fans of Bollywood stars like Anil Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra flew from their home countries just to get a glimpse of their favourite celebrities who are here for the 16th edition of International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards.
With a bag on his back and curiosity in his eyes, 24-year-old Alamin from Bangladesh stood at the heavily-guarded lobby of JW Marriott here wondering which Bollywood star will greet fans.
“I love Bollywood. The stories are very good. I love Salman Khan, SRK (Shah Rukh Khan), Priyanka Chopra and Sonakshi Sinha,” said the fan, who is a student of risk management.
Like the other admirers, he was happy to be able to click a selfie with stars like Hrithik Roshan and Kriti Sanon.
“I’ve already uploaded photographs on Facebook,” Alamin said.
A fan of Bollywood since 2007, he doesn’t think that spending “a lot of money” on the travel and accommodation for event as grand as the three-day extravaganza is a waste.
“After all you get an opportunity to meet your favourite stars ” he said.
A couple from Kenya was also part of the fans gathered at the venue.
“We have been married for 26 years and watch Bollywood films together. Bollywood shows reality… What’s happening in the society, unlike Hollywood. So, we love Bollywood,” said Shafique, who has a “passion to meet celebrities”.
Graced by stars like Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi, Priyanka and Anil, IIFA is giving a chance to several such fans to meet the stars.
There are fans from India too!
“I have travelled from Hyderabad to meet the stars. I know I’m from India, but you don’t easily get to meet them. IIFA lets audiences in,” said Nandita, 24, who is here with her family.
Another Indian, New Delhi-based Neeru Aggarwal, 53, agreed with Nandita, and said: “A lot of events take place in Delhi, but it’s not possible to meet celebrities. IIFA, on the other hand, is open to the public.”
According to http://www.myticket.asia/iifa-awards-malaysia-2015/, the tickets to the main awards night, to be held at the Putra Stadium, are divided in Silver (ringgit 450), Gold (ringgit 690), Platinum (ringgit 890) and Diamond (ringgit 1440) categories. But that’s not stopping fans from coming in to watch the shows, or line up the green carpet to spot their favourite stars.
The event, aimed at celebrating the grandeur of Hindi cinema in a new foreign location every year, has treated Bollywood fans to a lot of live glamour, entertainment and fun. This time, it seems no less.