Home » News

Oberoi urges film world not to skip Bollywood Oscars

[AFP, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 08:21 No Comment]

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi on Tuesday urged the Indian film fraternity to attend the annual awards festival in Sri Lanka despite protests from pro-Tamil rebel lobbies.

"Come to Colombo. I don’t believe in boycotting the awards. Bollywood films are about building bridges, not putting up walls against people," Oberoi told reporters in Colombo during an event to promote the "Bollywood Oscars".

His comments came amidst official reports that Bollywood’s leading stars may skip the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards this week, to avoid upsetting Tamils in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

IIFA’s brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, his actor son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai — Bollywood’s leading couple — have not yet confirmed their participation.

Media reports suggested that megastar Shah Rukh Khan may also opt out, citing a busy work schedule. Two people were killed when a Khan concert in Colombo was bombed in 2004, and he vowed then never to visit Sri Lanka again.

Sri Lanka’s junior economic development minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said most top stars have confirmed their attendance for the three-day showpiece event that starts on June 3.

"Amitabh Bachchan and his family have not confirmed yet. But we are hopeful and the awards will go ahead as planned, despite the Tamil Nadu protests," Yapa said.

Tamils in Tamil Nadu share close cultural and religious links with Sri Lanka’s minority ethnic Tamils. Tamil Nadu was once a safe haven for Tamil rebels who staged attacks in Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu politicians have also been highly critical of Sri Lanka’s military campaign that saw the Tamil Tiger rebels crushed in May last year, ending a 37-year-old separatist conflict.

The pro-Tiger lobby argues that staging the IIFA awards in Sri Lanka endorses President Mahinda Rajapakse’s stand on the war.

Oberoi said Bollywood presence in Colombo will help to boost Sri Lanka’s post-war economy and attract funds to rebuild infrastructure and livelihoods in formerly war-torn areas in the island’s north.

"I don’t know much about the Sri Lankan conflict. But I’ve read about it a bit. Its roots were planted before I was born. But we must help Tamil people now to rebuild their lives, to give them some hope for tomorrow," Oberoi said.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.