Its June 21st when everything in this blog post has occurred but to be honest, it might as well be Christmas because the craziness that IIFA brings has officially begun. Over the last few days, the city of Toronto just got a little more crowded, a little more bustling with noise and has come really under the spotlight. The grand IIFA awards have finally arrived in the city and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see change it brings.
June 21st, 9pm. Ive just finished worked, finished classes for the day and am on route to downtown Toronto to join the masses in search for the IIFA spirit that has landed in the city. Did I have any expectations? I knew something cool would happen; I thought I may see someone, meet some tourists entering the city or even just see venues be revamped to cater to the festival. By the time I reached Union station, I just felt that me going downtown during a period when I should be studying wasn’t a very wise idea. Perhaps I was just being naive, but it was kind of too late, I was already downtown.
It is now 9:30 and saw a few fans waiting on the curb side of the Fairmont Royal York, having a chat and talking about IIFA and the billion people they would like to meet. Funny enough I spotted a few familiar faces from past events in Toronto and got the conversation started. I soon learn that time can really leave its mark. Mere 2-3 hours prior to my arrival, these individuals had the opportunity of meeting the legends such as Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol & Anupam Kher. I stood there, shocked, thinking what that must have felt like. Its not everyday that you get the opportunity in Toronto to meet someone from the Indian film community. After learning so much, I joined them outside the Fairmont, having a conversation about their experiences and learning more about whom else they would like to meet.
Just then, an actor I admire very much, Arshad Warsi, a genius actor of films such as Golmaal and Munnabhai just walked out of the hotel, waived to his fans and entered his awaiting car. You could literally see disappointment & sadness etched on my face. I accepted the fact that not everything happens and continued to wait. Soon followed many of the industries talented artists: Zayed Khan, whom after many screams and calling out came over to meet his fans for a very short bit – sadly only had enough time to shake his hand and say hello. Ritesh Deshmukh came out as well and waived to his fans. As time went by, and as the clock struck closer to 10:45, the pack of fans soon started to thin. There were only 6 of us, hanging about. As the area became quiet and the activity level next to none, we felt this is a good time to leave and perhaps try our luck another day. We walked around the hotel just to see what was happening in the neighbouring areas after which my friend left to get a drink and I walked back towards the place I spent nearly two hours at.
I approached the entrance way to the Royal York Hotel and soon noticed a black car in the drive way. Near its open door, with disbelief all over, Arshad Warsi. I saw a couple walk up to him & request a photo. Thoughts and ideas ran through my head and I realised if I do use this opportunity now, I don’t know when I will get another chance. I calmly approached Arshad, trying to hide how nervous I was especially considering the time and gently smiled as the couple took the photo. I politely asked him for a photo which he very politely agreed to take and also signed my book. He then went back into the Hotel. As I slowly walked backed towards the sidewalk of the hotel, I just realized I met an individual I admire very much and he was very kind to acknowledge someone who came by to see him.
Forget work, forget the two hours I lost. This did indeed make my day; But something else it really showed was that some individuals, no matter how rich, high in status or famous they are, truly are down to earth and kind individuals who take time to acknowledge those who treat them with respect and the human beings that they are. IIFA has not even started and I have already been touched. Dunno if such an experience will occur again in the coming days but for what its worth, its an experience that will last a life time.