Were Rowdy Rathore fans paid to attend its trailer launch?
The BBD chawl in Worli, South Mumbai, saw some unusually activity on Monday evening.
More than 500 people gathered at the venue, and waited for as long as four hours, just to watch their favourite stars Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva.
The stars had chosen this venue to launch the first trailer of their film, Rowdy Rathore. The producers Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Shabina Khan were also present.
When the stars arrived, they were greeted by much whistling, screaming and lots of excitement.
Image: Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Akshay: I am in the film industry because of my action films
Shockingly, it seems some of them were paid to do so.
Apparently, a majority of the people who turned up were paid Rs 250 to be a part of the crowd.
"I was promised Rs 250 and a chance to see Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha," said a 17-year-old boy, who did not want to be named. "I have never seen celebrities in real life, so I thought it was a good opportunity."
He claimed that a coordinator had promised to pay the money after the event but now, he was told to come after two days.
"I am very disappointed. This is not fair," he sulked.
Why people were apparently paid to come for such an event is a puzzle since each of the stars -- Akshay, Sonakshi and Prabhu Deva -- have huge fan followings each.
Image: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhdueva
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Akshay: I am very excited about Rowdy Rathore'
The star of the evening was definitely Prabhu Deva.
"I have come here to watch Prabhu Deva dance. He is phenomenal," says 19-year-old Prashant Pawar.
The actor-turned-director did not disappoint, as he showed off some of his moves, with able company from Akshay and Sonakshi.
Akshay returns to hard core action with Rowdy Rathore after seven years after dabbling in comedy for a while. "I am very excited about Rowdy Rathore. I am in the film industry because of my action films. I feel like a newcomer, who is trying action for the first time," Akshay said.
Before its official launch on Monday, the trailer had been leaked earlier.
Image: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva dance at the trailer launch
Akshay: I feel like a newcomer, who is trying action for the first timeRaja Sen in Mumbai
Imagine Akshay Kumar deciding that he wanted to make a film like Dabangg. The result is Rowdy Rathore, a film wherein Kumar shamelessly borrows everything that worked for Salman Khan's original, from the Aviator sunglasses to the uncharacteristic moustache to leading lady Sonakshi Sinha.
Directed by Prabhu Deva, Rowdy Rathore is the de facto example of the template blockbuster assaulting us in theatres today, with Akshay smashing into people and playing the fool behind Sonakshi. The lines he spouts - "I do what I say I'll do; I definitely do what I don't say" - mostly seem miscalculated and nonsensical, as if the producers are tweaking their noses at people who can read, saying 'see? We can even make this work!'
And work it may. Kumar is a fine choice for action but the film's trailer, with many a flailing punch, showcases absolutely nothing more. And the line likely to catch on if this film clicks? The "Don't angry me" growled by Kumar at the end, like a dyslexic Hulk.
Rowdy Rathore will release on June 1.
Image: Rowdy Rathore trailer