War correspondents often put their lives at risk when covering assignments in troubled war zones. But such risks are never associated with entertainment writers. What’s dangerous about gazing at a perfectly groomed stars?
Well, a bit, if you happen to be a Bollywood reporter covering a fan event in Dubai. Welcome to the world where grown men act like kids and elbowing the crowd is a survival strategy.
On Monday evening, actress Kareena Kapoor was mobbed by frenzied fans in Dubai while promoting a jewellery store in Bur Dubai and peddling her latest release, Satyagraha. Kapoor, one of Bollywood’s top earners, felt a crazy kind of love from thousands of fans who stormed Bur Dubai’s Cosmos Lane. Like any Bollywood affair, Kapoor — accompanied by her Satyagraha co-star Ajay Devgn — was fashionably late and gave fans a five-minute teaser of their fabulous personalities. But star gazing came with its set of troubles. Traffic snarls, bouncers screaming their heads off and a sea of people going in different directions had stampede written all over it.
“We got jostled around and it was terrible — especially when we tried to make our way out. I was scared that I would be crushed,” said Seema Chaturvedi. She has sworn off any more Bollywood star events, adding a lack of security measures caused the crush.
“When there’s a celebrity visiting Dubai, people will be excited to see them. But there should be somebody to control all of that,” said Chaturvedi, who was accompanied by her brother. Wailing infants and their parents were seen taking refuge in stores near by.
“It’s so dangerous to bring your children to such events where it’s difficult to control crowds. These are fans who don’t care if they trample women and children,” said Vinitha Kamath, a Dubai resident.
It wasn’t just the fans waiting outside who got jostled around. Inside the store, Kapoor and Devgn could barely stand as an army of photographers closed in on them.
“Give them some space. Back off,” screamed one of the bouncers accompanying the stars. But in that confusion, their barks were drowned. Finally, a policeman marched upstairs blowing his whistle to shepherd the stars to their car outside. But drama followed them outside too. Bouncers got heavy-handed as fans waiting outside closed in on Kapoor. However the best part about the evening was the sight of grown men running after Kapoor’s car. Who said Bollywood is only about running around trees?