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Mallika refuses SRK's pvt flight

By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Monday, March 06, 2006

Mallika Sherawat has gone back to her diva-esque ways. The latest example of the actress's unprofessional attitude was her no-show at the Zee Cine Awards event in Mauritius, on March 4.

Demanding diva

Mallika was to host a segment of the awards ceremony with Karan Johar, but backed out at the last minute. The reason? The organisers did not accede to two of her demands - that Sherawat would fly executive class, accompanied by two bodyguards.

Said sources in Zee, "Mallika backed out at the last moment, and didn't go because she wanted business class tickets for herself and her two bodyguards."

The Zee awards were directed, coordinated, executed and scripted by the Morani brothers and Soorma, of Cineyug Entertainment. Says Ali Morani, "It is true that Mallika was supposed to host a certain segment of the Zee Awards, but we are not aware of why she backed out at the last minute.

We had booked her on a flight on March 2, but she told us that she couldn't go. We gave her an economy class ticket on March 3 because the flight was full - almost the entire industry had been booked on that flight. She wanted a business class ticket, but none was available.

Finally, we asked her to go with Shah Rukh Khan in the evening, on his chartered flight. Mallika refused that too, and was not reachable afterwards." But Morani says he has no issues with Mallika. "I am sure she must have had her reasons," he says.

Did she ask for bodyguards? "No. There were adequate security arrangements in Mauritius, so she would have been safe. She had no need for bodyguards."

Zee sources gave out conflicting statements. Programming head Ashwini Yarde asked us to speak to Punit Goenka (director, Zee Telefilms), who said, "Mallika was never confirmed, so how could she back out at the last minute?" Goenka then asked us to talk to Ashish Kaul (senior vice-president, Zee Network).

"I don't want to be part of such speculation, and that too when an event is done and over with. You should speak directly with Mallika and the event management agency," Kaul said. Mallika, meanwhile, was unavailable for comment.

Tongue in cheek

Said a source close to Mallika, sarcastically, "It was not only her bodyguards she wanted.

Mallika asked for her Pekinese pup, yoga instructor, pedicurist, manicurist, cook, masseur and 10 relatives from Rohtak to accompany her to Mauritius - all to be flown on a private, chartered plane! The organisers agreed to everything, except her pedicurist, so she didn't go!"

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