Not People Like Us

The Backstage Diaries

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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The Backstage Diaries • The Sky-high Snub • Longing for Lunch

Eyewitnesses say Salman Khan didn’t have a particularly good time at the Star Screen Awards last week. The Dabangg star, who was backstage for most of the evening, was trying his best not to run into Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan, both of whom also spent considerable time in the wings.

Ash was holed up in her make-up room for the most part, as she prepared to perform a medley of her musical hits. And before she left for her performance, she’s believed to have sent her staff out to make sure she wasn’t going to bump into anyone uncomfortable. Salman had temporarily vamoosed in order to stay out of her way. He had to do the vanishing trick again when it was time for Shah Rukh to head out onto the stage for a spot of emceeing.

And although he was declared winner of the Best Actor Award for Dabangg, Salman was reportedly upset that Shah Rukh had been handed the Best Popular Actor Award for My Name Is Khan. Sources say he sulked endlessly and complained to the organisers that he was more deserving of the Popular Award since Dabangg was a more successful and crowd-pleasing film than Khan.

Apparently, he also rolled his eyes and made a few jokes to his cronies when ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif received the Popular Best Actress Award for her performance in Raajneeti.

Earlier in the evening when he was seated in the front row watching the show, Salman deliberately walked up and down, glowering at Vivek Oberoi who was with his wife Priyanka in a front row corner.

The Sky-high Snub

Prateik Babbar is being touted as the Next Big Thing in Bollywood, but he doesn’t have a fan in film and TV serial producer Ekta Kapoor, who hasn’t stopped frothing at the mouth since the actor snubbed her on a flight recently.

Dressed in a black vest, blue jeans and a leather jacket, the 24-year-old actor, accompanied by his aunt Manya Sheth, boarded an Emirates flight to New York where he was scheduled to attend a retrospective of his mother Smita Patil’s films. Also on the same flight, sharing the first-class cabin was Ekta Kapoor who was on her way to the Big Apple to attend the same film festival with her good friend and actress Prachi Desai for a screening of a film she’d recently produced, Shor.

Both Ekta and Prachi reportedly gave Prateik a broad smile on spotting him, even though they’d never been formally introduced to him. The actor, in turn, looked right through them. His aunt, meanwhile, exchanged pleasantries with Ekta and Prachi after introducing herself. Upset at being snubbed, Ekta avoided looking in his direction for the duration of the flight. On landing in New York, while Manya once again made polite conversation with the ladies, Prateik just waited impatiently for his aunt so they could disembark quickly.  Not used to being ignored by anyone, Ekta wore a long face throughout her limo ride to the Radisson on Lexington, and made it a point not to run into Prateik again during the course of her stay in New York.

Longing for Lunch

This famously meddlesome actor, who’s co-producing and starring in a new thriller by a female director, has been keeping the crew of his film on their toes. Meetings with writers and assistants run into hours, and lunch is seldom offered to the hungry and exhausted crew who often turn up at his home in the morning and aren’t allowed to leave until well after dusk.

Closely involved in every aspect of the film, including casting of bit roles, this actor-producer beckons everyone from the director to the heads of various departments for daily ‘ideating and pre-production’ meetings.  At these meetings, his own lunch is always served on time, but meals for the rest of the crew don’t materialise until much later in the evening when the star realises that the team has been waiting on him on an empty stomach. Biryani from a nearby restaurant is usually ordered for the crew, and they’re encouraged to chomp down their food quickly so work can resume at the earliest.

Dreading the fact that he’s very likely to slave-drive them on the sets once the film goes on the floors, the crew has been joking among themselves that strict lunch hours will have to be maintained so they can keep themselves nourished while sweating it out for the star!