Shahrukh or Vivaan Bhatena, everyone was a star in Toronto!

June 28, 2011

Vivaan Bhatena 200x240, Just as Bollywood fans in Toronto went “Shah Rukh! Shah Rukh!”, it was rather surprising to see them cheer and applaud, even if half as loudly, for names like Vivaan Bhatena, and Aarti Chhabbria, who are usually given a miss by the media back home in India.

Vivaan, who walked the green carpet during the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) extravaganza which concluded here Saturday, was himself taken aback at the kind of response he got.

“Nobody cares about us in India…but this is amazing. What a lovely reception,” said Vivaan, a former model, who has done few TV shows and essayed the role of Abhimanyu Singh, the vice captain of the Indian cricket team, in the 2007 film “Chak De! India”.

Aarti, who recently participated in action-adventure reality TV series “Khatron Ke Khiladi Torchaar”, also recieved a warm welcome from the fans, who lined up at all green carpet events of the three-day Bollywood extravaganza.

She definitely seemed overwhelmed at the unexpected show of affection, but Aarti seemed to be in awe of it too as she hasn’t been as active on the big screen as earlier. Though the international media hadn’t heard about her, she was approached for tic-tacs at the green carpet events thanks to the noise that Bollywood fans from across the world made there.

Even Amisha Patel, who was last seen in a cameo in “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic”, managed to draw shout outs from the locals when she took to the carpet. In fact, a huge crowd gathered outside an outlet of coffee store Tim Horton’s when Amisha stepped in to sip on some coffee for a relaxing time. However, she was far from relaxing because the crowd started entering the store and approached her for pictures and autographs. Though she was readily obliging her fans later, she snubbed an young Indian girl initially and refused to give any autographs.

“My daughter wanted an autograph. But Amisha was so rude. We didn’t expect this…we are showing so much love because we don’t get to meet these stars very often. I don’t even think she is doing any movies now…niether has she given a hit in a long time. So what’s the attitude for,” asked the father of the girl.

Actress Mahie Gill also entered amid much cheer, but was baffled when an international mediaperson asked her: “Who are you? What have you done?”

She said: “I was in a film called ‘Dev D’.”

This year, the IIFA saw the biggest turnout of Indian and international fans. In fact, veteran star Anupam Kher said: “If there was ever an IIFA award for the best edition of IIFA, it should undoubtedly go to Toronto because this was the best reception we could have ever got.”

The fans are crazy about Bollywood. They not just started lining up behind the barricade starting in the morning itself, but even kept roaming around the Fairmont Royal York Hotel throughout the day in the hope of getting a picture taken or grabbing a chance for an autograph. They sang, danced and cheered even when actors walked out of the hotel for shopping and sight-seeing.

When yesteryears sex symbol Zeenat Aman walked out of the hotel Sunday afternoon, she had a trail of people behind her, and a middle-aged lady broke into a dance on hit number “Dum maaro dum”. It brought a smile to Zeenat’s face.

At the popular downtown mall, the Eaton Centre, people gathered around Kabir Bedi to get themselves photographed.

The frenzy was there for all see at the IIFA Rocks – a music and fashion event where the audience just kept clapping and cheering whenever the camera zoomed in on an actor – so much so that the voice of the hosts – Karan Johar, and actress Anushka Sharma – couldn’t be heard.

“Please don’t focus on movie stars when we speak. Oh my god! We feel so redundant,” remarked Johar at the event.

The international media was left in awe of Bollywood’s magical effect, as well as the security men, who felt “the entire IIFA weekend was one of the toughest events” they ever handled.

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