Star-gazing on the red carpet

2013-09-07 00:00

THE level of excitement among the fans who lined up to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars at the South Africa India Film and Television Awards (Saiftas) reached fever pitch when Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra arrived on the red carpet nearly 40 minutes after the ceremony was due to start.

She was one of the many leading lights from the Indian cinema to grace the red carpet at the ICC in Durban last night — and delighted fans with an impromptu demonstration of some Bollywood moves. She told Weekend Witness: “It’s a really great beginning for Saifta and fantastic for South Africa and India and it inter-linked culture … it really is fantastic to be here.”

Also causing great excitement was Ranveer Singh, who admitted to being very nervous ahead of his stage performance. “I’m loving the fans. They have shown so much warmth and love. But I’m nervous to perform — it’s a big, big crowd,” he said.

He revealed that after the show he planned to visit Cape Town and see some of the sights.

Another huge star on the red carpet was “dancing diva” Madhuri Dixit, who performed for the audience. She revealed that the Saiftas ceremony was her second visit to SA and that she would love to film here. “It’s a beautiful place and Durban is a lovely city,” she added.

Host of the evening John Abraham said he was looking forward to the exchange of skills the Saiftas would bring to both the industries.

Among the South Africans who caused a stir was Ndileka Mandela, former president Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter.

She said she believed Mandela would have loved the event because he had always embraced people from different walks of life and had loved to see people from different cultures getting together.

SABC3 soapie Isidingo was well represented thanks to nominee Robert Whitehead (Barker Haines), Maurice Paige, Leandra Reddy and Ashish Gangarpersad.

Donnalee Roberts from 7de Laan said: “It is such a celebration and collaboration of the Indian and SA cultures. It’s a wonderful honour and privilege to be nominated,” she said.

Akash Singh from the Durban Chamber of Commerce was delighted that the event was being held in the city. “We’re excited to host the Saiftas in Durban for the first time as a massive tourism event and we hope it grows from strength to strength. We would like to see the city of Durban get fully behind it,” he said.

Businessman Vivian Reddy said the Saiftas would be great for tourism in the city. “It will place SA very much on platform for international audiences …”

Other guests included top Bollywood producer Karan Johar and Waheeda Rahman, Saifta jury members; acting legend Welcome Msomi; actress Lelethi Khumalo; eThekwini municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole, Shootout at Wadala actor Siddant Kapoor, and Miss India Worldwide Helal Bhogaita. She is in town as the special guest at the Miss India SA pageant, which takes place in the Durban City Hall today at 7 pm.

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