Amitabh accepting award from Malini Fonseka
Amitabh Bhachan was in town. I was loitering by the wall, listening to conversations. ‘We do full body piercings, with jewelry, for free,’ one woman said. ‘VIP, VIP,’ said a man. Then the Big B was ushered out of a door two feet from me, looking shorter than I’d imagined. Then back to loitering. Some ‘celebrities’ at the event included Anarkalli, Jeevan Kumaratunga, Harry Jayawardena, Lakshman Hulugalle and Namal Rajapaksa. This I gleaned from loitering outside the VIP room. Amitabh was the big star by far, and his speech turned out to be interesting. His experience is basically the airport and the Cinnamon Grand. He seemed to like it though. ‘We’ve been so close yet never had the chance to enjoy the beauty of this wondrous land,’ he said. That’s nice.
I like Mr. Bhachan. I haven’t seen many of his films, but I dig his presence, in snippets and commercials and songs. I would buy soap from the man. He walks into the room with Jacqueline Fernandez. Everyone clicks, then sits. The event opens with some hideous lip synced song staring a half naked man wearing a lions head and another in exaggerated Kandyian shoulder pads. It’s terrifying. Local actress Malini Fonseka presented a token to Amitabh and then he went on for a short speech.
It seemed that he was in town for less than 24 hours, experiencing mostly the airport and the Cinnamon Grand. Not necessarily the best of Sri Lanka, but he seemed to feel quite welcome nonetheless. He said he’d tell his friends. Then, somewhat inexplicably, the Governor Of The Central Bank (Nivard Cabraal) came on and said “Sri Lanka has emerged as the new kid on the block. The fact that icons like Amitabh Bhachan have come here is something that we believe is the turning point in tourism, business, sport… almost everything for this country.”