Meeting a favourite celebrity is an exhilarating experience to most people. I have bumped into several film stars, most of them, while waiting to catch flights at airports. Being sudden and unexpected encounters, they honestly excited me more than the planned meetings I had while working as an entertainment journalist. For some reason, such encounters have always made me feel good.
A few years ago, I was sitting near an exit door of the Indira Gandhi International Airport New Delhi. I was engulfed by a pall of despondence. I had just flown in from Mumbai, where my first ever job interview had gone bad. As I was cursing myself for not putting out my best, my eyes caught actor John Abraham making an exit from the same door. He was alone, but busy talking over phone. For a moment, I couldn’t believe it.
Thrilled, I threw away a cup I was holding and raced towards him. Just before he got into the car, his driver clicked a picture of mine with him. It was then that many noticed his presence and came rushing towards the him. However, he got into the car and zoomed off.
A few years later, at the same airport, I saw comedian Jaspal Bhatti and his wife Savita Bhatti while waiting for a pickup. This was just two years before his death. I went for a quick picture. I told him I was one of the ardent readers of his Ulta Pula column, published in The Tribune’s Spectrum.
Then, not so long ago, as I boarded a flight to Frankfurt, I spotted Punjabi singer-turned actor Gippy Grewal, whom I had also interviewed several times during my stint covering entertainment at a major national newspaper. As there was some time left before take off, I sat next to him for a few minutes and had a quick chat. On landing, our paths crossed again at the airport as we waited for our connecting flights to Canada.
Later, when I was in Switzerland, I got the chance to meet Bollywood singer Himesh Reshammiya. I finally approached him and asked “Are you the Aashiq banaya singer?” Celebrities deserve praise. They discovered their talent, valued it and went on to hone it, despite the struggles they faced. They are also ones who made their own decisions, listened to their hearts and dared to be different.