Indian film and show business celebrities are known to return home with wallets full of cash and baggage full of goodies but one of them left the country last week with something much heavier- about 18,000 hearts.
Sunil Shetty proved that he was still a darling of the masses when he appeared at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City on Sunday, September 20, 2015 instantly tuning to the moods of the people. He conversed, sang and danced with a crowd that seemed to love every moment of his stay at the indoor stadium.
Robert Khan, Managing Director of Radio Tarana which hosted the visit of the film star as a part of its ‘Festival of India,’ said that almost 20,000 men, women and children visited the venue during the eight-hour programme, enjoying Indian cuisine and goods, augmented by a number of other service providers.
Shetty was in his elements, answering questions with a spirit of humour and friendliness that is unique to his character. In many ways, he was different to the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and other so called megastars who are known to give a hard time to organisers.
As Robert Khan told the audience during the inaugural ceremony at which his six-year old Zara welcomed the audience with confidence and poise, “Over the years, Radio Tarana has brought scores of artistes, celebrities and dignitaries for engagement with our people but Sunil is easily the best among them. His simplicity, humility and easy-going attitude not only made us feel at home but also took away any stress that would have accompanied in organising such a mega event.”
The Festival was initially scheduled for August, but was postponed since Sunil was not in the best of his health. He compensated for the delay in more than an ample measure and had his fans in stitches of laughter with his light-hearted comments, and taking in even personal questions in his stride.
From his first appearance for the day, it was apparent that Shetty wanted to make this memorable for all.
He started by saying that New Zealand is the most beautiful and friendly country among all the others that he has visited. It was followed by a promise of not only coming back here with his family for an extended holiday, but also shooting a film.
Shetty said that he will soon be announcing his future ventures, which might see the famous Sunil Shetty- Akshay Kumar combo reunite on screen.
The 54-year-old incredibly fit actor said that the key to good health was a balanced lifestyle with healthy eating habits. He said that he was a good cricketer, having played for Mumbai in the Junior National events under the captaincy of Ravi Shastri.
Song and Dance
He revealed his admiration for actress Deepika Padukone and spoke about his daughter Athiya, whose debut in ‘Hero’ made him a proud father.
Festival of India had many skits, songs and dances which showcased the greatness of India and also its march to being a global superpower.
It also provided opportunities for local talent to go on stage.