Oberoi urges film world not to skip Sri Lanka Bollywood Oscars

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 1, 2010 (AFP) – Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi on Tuesday urged the Indian film fraternity to attend the annual awards festival in Sri Lanka despite protests from pro-Tamil rebel lobbies. “Come to Colombo. I don’t believe in boycotting the awards. Bollywood films are about building bridges, not putting up walls against people,” Oberoi told reporters in Colombo during an event to promote the “Bollywood Oscars”.

His comments came amidst official reports that Bollywood’s leading stars may skip the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards this week, to avoid upsetting Tamils in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

IIFA’s brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, his actor son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai — Bollywood’s leading couple — have not yet confirmed their participation.

Media reports suggested that megastar Shah Rukh Khan may also opt out, citing a busy work schedule. Two people were killed when a Khan concert in Colombo was bombed in 2004, and he vowed then never to visit Sri Lanka again.

Sri Lanka’s junior economic development minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said most top stars have confirmed their attendance for the three-day showpiece event