Priyanka Chopra was performing in Colombo with Shah Rukh Khan, when a bomb ripped through the stands, about six feet away. At least two persons were killed and about 18 injured.
Also performing at the show on December 11 were Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Zayed Khan and Celina Jaitley.
Priyanka spoke to News Editor (Entertainment) Syed Firdaus Ashraf about how the blast shook her up. Excerpts:
Shah Rukh and I were dancing onstage for the last song of our show, Le ja le ja (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) and the mood was very upbeat.
Suddenly, I heard a deafening noise. At first I thought it was a smoke bomb. Then I realised that the noise was too loud to be a smoke bomb.
My mother, who always sits in the first row at my shows, had been backstage. She was there because Rani Mukerji's mother did not come for the event. Rani and Arjun Rampal were supposed to perform at the show but they could not come due to prior assignments. Zayed and Celina had replaced them. I think my mother was fortunate not to have been sitting in the first row at the time of the blast.
It is only now that I realise that Shah Rukh and I were only six feet away from where the blast occurred. Had we been nearer, it could have been catastrophic. We had no clue when we reached Colombo that this event could turn into a tragedy.
I have never looked at death so closely in real life. The incident shook me up. It made me sick and I was in bed the whole day after reaching Mumbai. I pray for those who lost their dear ones in the blast.
Our dance troupe, called the Temptations, will go to Dubai on December 15 and then to Europe. I am sure the security will be well taken care of. The organisers, the Moranis and Shah Rukh himself, are very good at taking care of their stars. They were very good to me though I was the most junior artist.
I don't know who was behind the incident. I don't think the monks will do these kinds of acts. Yes, they had protested against our show because they felt it was inappropriate to hold a show on that day. [The Buddhist monks were against holding the concert on the first death anniversary of Gangodawila Soma Thero, the Buddhist preacher and Sinhala Buddhist nationalist]. But monks are nonviolent people. Besides, no one has claimed responsibility for this heinous act.
I don't know what their motive was. Maybe someone wanted publicity.
I will not go to Colombo for public appearances in future. Even if I do, I will think twice before I go. If I ever go there, it will only be for holidaying as my mother loved that place.