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Salman-Akshay replace SRK at IIFA

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    By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    There has been trouble brewing between Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh since last year. The primary reason is Abhishek's increasing popularity.

    Though the two superstars are cordial to each other when they meet, everyone knows that the battle lines have been drawn. Now the Bachchan-Khan war has developed a new twist.

    According to an insider, "IIFA, which is scheduled to be held from June 14-17 in Dubai, is suffering because of the animosity between two of the industry's biggest stars."

    It is rumoured that Shah Rukh decided at the last moment that he didn't want to grace the event because Amitabh Bachchan is the brand ambassador for the event. Shah Rukh pulling out at the last minute, robs the event of its sparkle, to a large extent.

    Reasoning time

    But Shah Rukh made sure he had a valid reason to back out of the awards show. He reasoned that the producers of Don, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, planned a shooting schedule at the same time, thereby making his sudden exit seem professional and not petty.

    Even the other artistes of Don - Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor - would be needed to shoot from June 15 onwards, which increased the list of absentees at the event.

    Desperate measures

    With Shah Rukh pulling out at the last moment, the IIFA organisers in desperation approached Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta to perform.

    But their dates were lying with Sajid Nadiadwala's Janeman, whose shooting begins from June 10 to the month-end. But the ever-helpful Sajid was obliging enough to work the shooting around, allowing the trio to perform at the show.

    Sajid Nadiadwala was unavailable for comment but an insider from Janeman confirmed the news. "It's true that Sajid was approached for dates of Salman, Akshay and Preity so that they could perform there. He has given them those dates."

    Date problems

    Sabbas Joseph from Wizcraft, however, takes the safe route, "People are reading too much into everything. Like every year, we invite the stars to the event and according to their availability of dates, we ask them to perform. While some stars have rescheduled their dates, others haven't.

    We did invite Shah Rukh, Kareena and Priyanka to the event and ask them to perform but their dates for Don had been fixed a long time ago - before the IIFA dates were announced. Now Akshay, Salman and Preity will be performing. They were shooting for Sajid's film on those dates, but Sajid has been accommodating enough to release them for a day to come for the event."

    There is also a rumour that SRK's friends are boycotting the function as well?

    "That's utter rubbish!" says Joseph. Karan Johar will be releasing the music of KANK at IIFA this year and hosting some of our events."

    No rescheduling

    Riteish Sidhwani, co-producer of Don, currently in Malaysia, refutes the rumours, "Shah Rukh hasn't insisted on the dates being rescheduled. We have the dates of the artistes till June 28, which is when the shooting gets complete.

    Shah Rukh is not shooting for Don next week in Kuala Lumpur; only Priyanka and Kareena are. I think he is busy with something else in London. We tried our best to accommodate some dates for IIFA, but it didn't happen."

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