Monday, July 30, 2007

Jo'burg Part 3 (Saturday, July 28)

Saturday was extremely exciting for me. Gandhi, My Father was going to have its worldwide premiere in South Africa on Sunday (July 29), and I got to attend the press conference at Monte Casino with my CEO and two directors from SA India.

The panel consisted of: Feroz Khan (director), Anil Kapoor (producer) and the cast - Darshan Dariwala, Shefali Shah (of Monsoon Wedding fame), Bhoomika Chawla (of Tere Naam fame) and Akshaye Khanna.

Naturally, the stars arrived fashionably late, and while the press waited for them, I mingled with other media folk. Before we knew it, we were told to take our seats in the theatre (where the conference was being held), and the stars were whisked in with tight security. AB Moosa (MD of the Avalon Group of Cinema's) introduced the stars and we were shown a promo clip of the film.

Mahatma Gandhi's life has been written and rewritten in countless history books, and for those who know the story of this great man will understand why the worldwide premiere of this film was screened in South Africa.

The lighting was awful in the theatre (not a great venue for a press conference), so my photos are pretty dark...

Clip from Gandhi My Father

Clip from Gandhi My Father

Clip from Gandhi My Father

AB Moosa introducing the cast

Feroz Khan (director) and Anil Kapoor (producer)

My CEO said I should ask a question...the butterflies in my tummy were going crazy! I was so excited! I noticed that journailsts were only directing questions to the producer and director, and the two female leads (Shefali Shah & Bhoomika Chawla) were being left out. After introducing myself and which publication I was representing (SA India), I said that my question was for the cast members (Darshan, Shefali, Bhoomika & Akshaye). I wanted them to speak about the preparations that went into the various roles they portrayed.

I was so psyched when Akshaye told me that he's never been asked that question and has always wanted to talk about it! After I asked my question and sat down, I was like, "OMG - Akshaye Khanna is looking at me and answering my question!" I thought I was over being star struck, but it was just excitement that this was my first press conference with film stars.

Darshan Dariwala (Mahatma Gandhi)

Akshaye Khanna (Harilal Gandhi)

Shefali Shah (Kasturba Gandhi)

Bhoomika Chawla (Gulab Gandhi)

After the press conference, literally within seconds, the stars were swept away upstairs where they gave interviews to the broadcast media. Although he was being rushed out of the theatre, Anil Kapoor took a minute to shake hands with various journalists who were there (including ME!)

Unfortunately I couldn't get a photo with him - everything happened in such a flash that before I knew it, the theatre was empty and I was standing in the lobby. I found Anil very friendly and down to earth. Apparently, the stars had just landed in the country and came to press conference, so they were most likely jet-lagged. Akshaye Khanna didn't exude much energy during the conference and for 99% of the time, had his chin rested on his palm! The ladies (Shefali & Bhoomika) gave clear and concise answers and Feroz Khan (the director) pre-warned us that Bhoomika isn't a lady of many words....

Anil Kapoor after the press conference

Ashley, me & Rajesh with friends

Monte Casino

After the press conference and mingling a bit at Monte Casino, we went to Fordsburg - a predominantly Indian area and walked around at the fleamarket (almost anything and everything you could think of was being sold there). I even bargained a bit! The atmosphere was electric with wafts of delicious eats on sale at nearly every second stall....







Anonymous said...

nice post. found this site about gandhi's thoughts on the thought you may find it interesting.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Rock on Sheetal! Great post! (And yes, I'm biased.) What is it with him and that stupid Nike hat? Half the photos I see of him he has one on.

Tanya said...

Nice post. Just curious how did you like the movie? It hasnt be released yet in India. I met Akshaye when I was in standar 8th or 9th during the shooting of Himalayan Putra. His dad and my mum had some common friends in Kashmir and Akshaye was pretty cool and always very polite.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the release only for Akshaye Khanna. He is really a fascinating and spontaneous actor!!

Sheetal said...

thanks for the link :)

hi!!! thanks... i don't know what was up with the nike hat, and he seemed real bored throughout the whole conference (jet lag, perhaps?)

hi! thank for stopping by. sadly, i havn't seen the movie yet. it premiered the day after the conference, and i had to fly home. have u seen it? i'll post a review once i have....

let me know what you think of the film once you see it :>