Thursday, June 3, 2010
The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA, basically Bollywood's Academy Award ceremony)) has arrived in Colombo to much fan fare, literally.
When i walked to work this morning I saw a small crowd of people in front of our apartments. The fanciest hotel in Colombo is across the street and that is where many of the Indian film stars are staying so people were hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
This afternoon as I was walking home I saw that all of the traffic on one side of the road was stopped and then noticed there was no traffic on the other, which meant one thing. As if on queue I heard the horns and sirens and here comes the motorcycle police, which is unusual, followed by a stream of the hotel courtesy cars (Small Nissan or Toyota's, nothing fancy). The stars were going to the hotel. Then came a stream of the paramilitary soldiers riding tandem on dirt bikes with submachineguns at the ready followed by open top Range Rovers with more soldiers and several large black BMW's. Important Bollywood star or somebody from the Ministry or combination of the two I guess.
Now here is the funny thing. For the past several weeks there has been a frenzy of activity to spruce up the city. Roads have been repaved, potholes filled, trees planted, railings painted and on and on. Not like this could have been done any other time the city needed it. Now more than ever with so many people in very bad situations because of the flooding it saddens me that city is doing so little for them. I see in the paper all of these photo opp's with such and such company donating so many lunch packets (Rice and curry) to flood victims worth hardly anything, basically a meal per family for one day. But bring Bollywood stars to town and the money flows.
Some of the stars are boycotting the ceremony in protest of the war crimes, and I'm not even going there.