"Hrithik at IIFA in Sun City, South Africa"

Published On: 2012-04-23

Author: Reena

Media Link:

June 2001



Reena shares The Most Incredible Day of her Life!

Hi Navarrina, 
I read your posting about how you missed Hrithik at IIFA. Sorry yaar. I can relate to that part about how you reacted when you heard he was coming. Gees. The incredible-ness of that moment (when I read in the paper for the first time that Duggu would be coming! HERE! TO MEEE!!!) is too mind-blowing! But its something NO ONE but me understood. Damn is it good to find fellow human beings who ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND and SHARE the way this man makes me feel! It almost sent excited shivers through me every time I thought about it! I almost became hyper and hysterical every time I thought about it! Phew! And as it got closer to the date, my gosh! Mind-blowing feeling! What a MIXTURE of emotions! The excitement that he'd be here, the doubt if I'd get to see him, the depression of the thought that I wouldn't after he was so close, the total INCREDIBLENESS of the thought that what if I DID see him! PHEW! I'll tell you! It's a wonder the hysteria kept bottled up inside me didn't eventually kill me! I almost wish he won't come here again too soon cos my system can't handle that kind of extreme excitement twice in too short a period of time! Ha! Ha Ha! Really I can't go through that again too soon, that much extreme emotion bouncing from one to the other can't be healthy! A incredible few days leading up to 16 June. 

Anyway you managed to ask me a question that I am absolutely delighted to answer! - If I met Hrithik at IIFA last year!!! Boy are you going to get more than you bargained for! Ha! Ha! Ha! 16th June 2001 (the day of IIFA last year) was and still is the most INCREDIBLE day of my life! And even almost a year later, I LOOOVE telling people about it! I felt then, and I still feel, I wish I could tell the WHOLE WORLD!!! It still gets me soooo EXCITED talking about it! And even if I hardly know you, I'm afraid I'm not going to spare you! : ) OK before I lead you on, let me first say that, no I unfortunately didn't meet Hrithik or Suzanne (but this is still about Hrithik so keep reading! : ) ) But if that sounds at all disappointing to you, then believe me, for me, it was anything BUT!!!

It's interesting that you ask me if I met Hrithik as if it's the most normal question in the world and the easiest thing in the world to do! Considering some 200 Bollywood people came, and there are something-million Indians in SA that'd like to meet him! Of course if you do the right things, and of course with a little bit (or a lot!) of luck, it is possible. But for me your asking that question is a bit like asking me if I got a glimpse of heaven before my time and came back! Ha! Ha! Ha! I mean to me it is that mind-blowing 'n amazing and (seemingly) impossible a thing to do! Sure if I had the freedom to live my own life and do as I please, I'm likely to have booked myself into Hrithik's hotel or something (though this idea didn't occur to me at the time, neither did I know which of the 4 hotels in Sun City alone - which is not that big a place - he was staying in) even if this meant using up my year's salary (I don't even work!). Unfortunately I mentioned I live under my parents shadow, and they don't do such 'insensible' things. In fact, like I said they don't share my passion for films so to them it wouldn't have mattered if everyone came and went and we never saw anyone. Unfortunately for me, I have to do as I say. The tragedy of it is, I would've had some chance in hell if Sun City was a bit closer (it's a almost 3 hour drive away) and more importantly, if I wasn't at the time, splat bang in the middle of my June (mid-year) exams for the final year of my degree! Now believe me, my parents are very academically inclined and my sister's and my state (even at this age) when studying is akin to solitary confinement. SO how was I going to convince them! Course there was the airport, which is only half an hour away so that wouldn't take up my entire day. BUT - trust my luck - I wrote an exam the very DAY, just an hour after Hrithik landed! There's no way I could've made it to my exam in time if I'd gone to the airport, so that was out of my hands. 

I tell you, as 16 June approached and I realized Hrithik was in SA, and my chances of seeing him looked like nought, and instead I had to spend my days studying, I truly experienced some of the most DEPRESSED days of my life! I was completely helpless without my parent's approval and I wouldn't get it cos even my mother (she is mild compared to my father) thought - what can we possibly do! We can't go all the way to sun city during your exams. Why not? I know, sounds silly now, but remember the solitary confinement bit. Also, I said earlier Sun City's a small place, I meant you can walk through it all on foot (within a couple of hours) but its big enough for you to have no CLUE where in this damn place to look for one single person! Finding 1 person from 200 people that came from Bollywood alone, forget all the 100's of other Sun City visitors! was near impossible! Anyway I was in SUCH a bad state on Friday - I couldn't stop crying for one! - that it's a wonder I didn't fall ill! Perhaps it showed, cos in a last desperate attempt, I just said to my father (I'm usually too scared to ask him for even a R20!) 'We're going to Sun City tomorrow', and he actually agreed!!!! (All he asked is do I have tickets! - WHAT!!! OF COURSE NOT!!! The money won't fall out the sky!!! - and, will you still have enough time to study - yes!) Did I mention that miracles do happen! I swear, it is truly incredible how things changed from there! I mentioned the extremes. From extreme depression to the thought that I was going to be there! Among the stars! SO exciting! And that is all I wanted, to at least know I tried. Cos it was insane to sit at home when these people mean sooooooo MUCH to me! Anyway even though I never really believed I'd see Hrithik himself - as if I'm that lucky! That'd just be too unreal! - the tiny possibility had me dreaming all day! Like you said, although I didn't want to jinx it by assuming I'd see anyone, JUST in case, I had all my cameras ready - video, hand, instant! And 2 notebooks for autographs! - one for my sister to hold, one for me! Ha! Ha! Ha! Of course it was all utterly ridiculous, we were driving almost 3 hours during my exam time, in the mere HOPE of catching a glimpse of someone interesting in a place so big that you could turn a corner and easily miss someone behind you! Forget find someone searching that entire place! Course, I assumed they'd at least be 'walking around', after all they are tourists! But no such luck! 

And yet! I tell you, I've said a million times since that day, Truly I don't understand life! Why's it so unpredictable! And why on EARTH is it so good to me! I don't get it! I'll tell you we spent 3 hrs in sun city - 10am to 1pm, circling the area, speaking to iifa organisors (they walked around with iifa name tags) receptionists, fellow star-gazers, and all everyone had to say was they'd seen no-one, there's no way we could see any celebrities until late - closer to 7pm!!! They don't walk around for security reasons, they're staying in 4 different hotels in sun city (The main one called 'the palace' was completely inaccessible cos that whole area was closed off fro other maintenance reasons.) etc etc! I tell you we were completely disappointed! I was allowed to make the decisions on condition that we couldn't stand around till 7! I tell you I was half "this can't be happening to me! How can we be so close and yet so far! We made all this effort just to go home without seeing ANYONE?!" and I was half "I should've known, what a totally mad idea this was! We were desperately pulling at straws!" Mind you I WAS desperate! EXTREMELY! My family all agreed, usually I'm too shy to speak to any stranger, and there I was voluntarily going after any organisor I laid eyes on and asking desperate questions! HA! HA! HA! 
We decided to go home - but I said let's just walk around outside the (nearby) Cabanas hotel first - another totally desperate straw I was pulling at! Everyone agreed, since they were as dejected as me! Let's not say we didn't try everywhere! It's incredible when I remember how hopeless it felt at that stage cos we only walked out towards the hotel and fate suddenly turned completely around! And the most INCREDIBLE day of my LIFE began! A certain Cascades Hotel was on the way to the Cabanas, and we noticed a HUGE crowd hanging around outside the entrance! The air just BUZZING with excitement! Obviously we got our cue and joined them! I think now that I immediately knew we wouldn't be going home any time soon! HA! HA! HA! The source of the excitement were a whole lot of Mercedes cars driving up to the hotel one by one, and of course the anticipation of who was in it! I tell you the way people were pushing over each other to have a look! to take a photo! to get closer! the cars could only move inch by inch! and even that with security begging with every inch that we should stand back JUST A LITTLE MORE! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! What an experience! What has me really dumbfounded, is that except for Shamita Shetty (one of the Mohabbatein girls) we'd seen no one else in the less than 5 mins (I'm sure) that we were on the scene until suddenly the 3rd or 4th car drives up! And EVERYONE RUSHES FORWARD! TOTALLY MOBS the car! God knows if someone actually saw who was in it since this hadn't happened with the previous cars! But I'll tell you 90% of that crowd (including me) had NO CLUE who we were running forward for! but we just had no intention of being left behind! HA! HA! HA! My sister and father didn't actually make it to the front, my mother and I did! By now the crowd was nothing short of WILD and the security were using serious strength to hold us back! So before anyone got hurt my mother and I decided to listen to them (we were in front of them by now) and get behind them. Hence we couldn't get quite to touching distance! But we were right in front of the circle, right behind the chain of security guards surrounding the car. Of course at this stage, we STILL dunno who's in the car! and NEVER in my WILDEST FANTASIES would I have expected what came next! (Mind you we were on the side of the car opposite to the hotel entrance - almost everyone else had got out on the other side) But somehow as if life just turns itself around to make me happy! on OUR side of the car! THERE right in FRONT OF my VERY EYES! Hrithik gets out of the car! MY GOD!!!! I picture that moment a HUNDRED TIMES OVER! And STILL it seems soooooo UNREAL! Navarrina I had the TEENIEST FRACTION of a second to think "DEAR HEAVEN!!! ITS HRITHIK!!!!!" I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! I COULD NOOOT BELIEEEVE IT!!! And then I went ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL!!!!! Course by now EVERYONE was screaming! So it hardly mattered so I started SCREAMING WILDLY! TOTALLY HYSTERICALLY! WAVING my hands in the air! LITERALLY JUMPING UP AND DOWN! Navarrina! I was like a COMPLETE MAD WOMAN!!! COMPLETELY MAD! GOSH! WHAT A MOMENT! WHAT AN AWESOME MOMENT!!! I could have DIED at that moment and I'd have died ETERNALLY HAPPY! And he looked FANTASTIC! Better than any photo! or anything on tv! He was REAL! And he was standing there right in front of ME! there I was standing just 3-4metres in front of this AMAZING man that's always felt sooooooo far away from me! There he was as human as a human being's ever been, IN THE FLESH! smiling this SWEET Surprised little smile! as if surprised and amused by the hysteria he had caused! Course he has to go around the car to get to the hotel entrance so while he's at it he waves and blows kisses at all us mad people! which just made me MORE THRILLED! MORE HYSTERICAL!!! HA! HA! HA! Shame he got a bit pushed and shoved around at the entrance when the mob got to him - even the security couldn't hold those guys back! 

Me, I was in HEAVEN! in SEVENTH HEAVEN! in some kind of BLISSFUL world of dreams! I dunno, nothing I say, absolutely NOTHING I say can explain to you how that felt! GOSH! I was sooo UNREALLY HAPPY I was LITERALLY STILL jumping up and down! and STILL shouting! punching the air and going "YES! YES! YES! I ACTUALLY SAW HIM! I can't BELIEVE IT!" even AFTER he'd gone in! I was completely HYSTERICAL! completely MAD! And I couldn't control myself! I was just sooo ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC! And even that word is not sufficient for the way I felt! My father says people were looking at me wondering what was wrong with me! HA! HA! HA! I tell you for a good few minutes later I was this hysterical person! REPEATEDLY saying "Oh my God! I'm SO HAPPY! I can't BELIEVE it! I SAW HIM! I ACTUALLY SAW HIM! MY GOD! ITS UNREAL! The ONE person I wanted to see!" My sister was telling me to stop shouting (we'd joined my father and sister again) but I couldn't help myself! 

I have NEVER in my LIFE experienced SUCH EXTREME HAPPINESS! Really! It was unreal! He actually CAME! right there in FRONT of me! Totally unbelievable! I mean you dream and you fantasise about meeting these people! and we also went to Sun City for the soul purpose of catching a glimpse of them. But then you consider that the place is huge and there are some 200 people from the industry there and you realise that seeing one single person out of 200 that matters the WORLD to you! seems sooo TERRIBLY unlikely! And you go there with the dream, thinking at least I can say I tried, but as much as you dream you don't ACTUALLY EVER expect it to come true! Which is why, there we were, only having JUST arrived on the scene! to only 1 out of the 4 hotels! having been feeling totally dejected only a few minutes ago, and the VERY FIRST important person we see! he gets out of the car, and there is this DREAM standing right in front of me! GOSH! TOTALLY FLABBERGASTING! ETHEREAL! SURREAL! Whatever! Like some kind of out of body experience! I CANNOT explain it to you! INCREDIBLE! TOTALLY UNREAL! Perhaps no one else in that crowd was quite as THRILLED as I was! I didn't think it possible to be standing in the same space, within metres of a man I consider just AMAZING! 

Hmm… I could on and on and on about it forever! but I'd just be telling you the same things over and over and still not be able to explain to you exactly how it felt and why it meant so much to me! Thank God the memory is mine to keep forever! Thank God. 

Incredible experience! Even afterwards, - we spent the next 4 hours standing right outside the hotel entrance - being a part of that hysteria! mobbing the cars, shoving past security, waving into cars at celebrities! screaming like mad people! all something you only see on tv! but what an experience to be a part of it!Being a part of this ELECTRIC atmosphere! surrounded by people all there for the same purpose, all sharing a love for Hindi cinema! all experiencing EXTREME hysteria and excitement! being within INCHES of all these people from the industry who always seemed so very far away! The next biggest stars we saw soon after was Karisma, Urmila, and Preity Zinta as they left the hotel and came back or came and left. Rakesh Roshan with Prem Chopra, Karisma was with her Dad, Randhir Kapoor who is so big and scary he could be a bodyguard on his own! Ha! Ha! Ha! Other industry people, a lot of who just walked in and out without much fanfare - just everyone staring and cameras flashing, (but then I need not tell you! You were there too!) - Javed Jaffrey, Kumar Gaurav, Waheeda Rahman, OP Dutta (JP Dutta's Dad) , Aadesh Srivastava, (music director), and Manish Malhotra(designer) and course Shamita Shetty. Its weird when they're so close! I was like WHAT DO I DO! HA! HA! HA! When they're sooo CLOSE! And minding their own business, you dunno whether to scream or shake their hand, or call them, or WHAT! You just STAND there! Dumbfounded! So CLOSE to this person (I could've touched them if I only had the guts to reach out my hand!) you've only seen on tv, but not knowing what else to do but stare at them! HA! HA! HA! Madness I tell you! 4 hours on our feet without even having had lunch! We were there till 5! And if only for all our aching legs - we especially couldn't possibly put our parents through more grief! after they'd so far been so fantastic! - we could've hung around till 7 - when ALL the stars were FORCED to come out for the actual function! But its ok. What a day! WHAT A DAY! WOW! And its just fascinating to think how DEPRESSED I was on the days leading up to Saturday! 

Instead even days later, I was the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I imagined! SOOOOOOo HAPPY!!! I could EXPLODE! I couldn't HANDLE IT! I wanted to tell EVERYONE I know! SCREAM IT TO THE WORLD! I SAW MY HRITHIK!!! I ACTUALLY SAW him! I was THERE! I was at SUN CITY! I SHARED a day with the STARS! WOW! And how I LOVE The industry! The films, music, gossip, the PEOPLE! It seemed so WRONG for so many of them to be so close and for me to not be a part of it when they meant soooo MUCH to me! But I WAS THERE! I WAS a part of it! WOW! When I got back to varsity (had an exam on the 19th) I told EVERYONE in my class that cared to listen! HA! HA! HA! Not one of them is even Indian or knows these people but they still cared to see me soooo HAPPY! were FASCINATED to hear what it was that COULD make me THAT HAPPY! They all said They'd never seen me so EXCITED before! I told them, then they should've seen me on the day! HA! HA! HA! None of them imagined me as the screaming hysterical types you see on tv! HA! HA! HA! Speaking of which, pity we didn't come on tv! Cos the tv crew were there, and they took quick pans of the crowd but couldn't find myself on tv later! Damn! Ha! Ha! Ha!
GOSH! I could tell the WHOLE WORLD! What a feeling! You know, I think the ultimate dream was to meet Hrithik, but then the SHOCK! The SURPRISE! the absolute DISBELIEF! and ECSTASY of that moment when he got out of the car and was standing there sssssooooo REAL! (And yet it was so UNREAL!) was SO INCREDIBLE! That I don't think ANYTHING can beat that! Even if I do meet him some time in the future! Perhaps cos I now know it CAN happen! It IS possible! At that time it was like experiencing something impossible! SO BLOODY UNREAL! I saw HRITHIK! GOD! HOW CAN THAT BE! HA! HA! HA! WOW! Infact NOTHING beats the whole experience! Not even if we had tickets to the show! Hell NO! That wouldn't have even come CLOSE to this! WOW! 

The awards itself which we saw on tv - maybe you did too - was GREAT including Hrithik's (first international) performance! But perhaps I'm biased! Ha! Ha! Ha! The man is CHARM PERSONIFIED! He finished of his performance dancing with this not so thin, not so young, black lady and even picks her up in the end! And he was the only one of the stars that bothered to learn a few of the official languages so he could greet the audience in the South African way when he collected awards! DARLING man! But then we knew that! 

PHEW! I tell you Navarrina, to this day, almost a year later, I can hardly believe that happened to me! I know all I did was see him, but yaar! How can I have seen Hrithik!!! How can such an AMAZING thing happen to ME!! I tell you to this day, my eyes fill up when I read my own sentence 'I saw Hrithik', from such extreme JOY that I am able to say that! How excited I still get to tell anyone! How awesome it still makes me feel thinking about it! I actually started calling him an angel on that very day. Truly he is one. What else do you call a human being who I believe was sent by God to bring soooo MUCH joy in to so MANY MILLIONS of people's lives! To make million's of people forget all their worries and have their faces light up with genuinely HAPPY smiles for a few moments and be truly truly happy, simply by seeing this guy successful, happy, or just doing what he does, just being Hrithik! But forget about everyone else. I believe he is God-sent to my life, at a particularly difficult time of my life, to remind me to forget everything and be happy, smile, cos hey, I'm sharing a lifetime with a man like Hrithik, things can't be that bad! Ha! Ha! Ha! Really, I've adored many celebrities before, but this is the first time I can truly say this man inspires me. Forget his talent and looks, the human being he is in the midst of all this talent, looks and praise is truly inspirational. Perhaps him being 'our' generation too (he's 6 years older to me) helps me relate to him. I realise he's also just another young person trying to make the most of his life, same thing I'm doing. Damn, I can never get it right when I try to explain what he means to me. But you must already know, I say again, I can feel those very emotions at hrithiks-angels and its just AWESOME to know there are LOTS of people out there who understand! I often say to myself that Hrithik's not just another celebrity, I'm emotionally connected to him now! Ha! Ha! Ha! Really, now I honestly dunno how I managed before he came into our lives! And that was only less than 3 years ago! I HONESTLY don't have a clue! I don't think its physically possible to love someone who doesn't even know me, more! I do consider a person who can make me happier than I've EVER been in my entire lifetime! - simply by showing up in the flesh in front of me! - Truly an angel! Nothing short of one! Truly! I told him so in a letter! I truly truly believe it!

AH! WOW! Well if you're still reading! and haven't given up on me! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sorry this got so long but I knew it would cos you asked a dangerous question - Did I meet Hrithik! Ha! Ha! Ha! No really, I LOVE telling anyone about it. It was an amazing day for me! If you did get through it all, Thanks for listening! Thanks for letting me share it with one more person! May my memory of that day never ever fade! A moment that lasts forever really! I hope you're happy for me and don't hate me forever for it! Ha! Ha! Ha! I can only say! Keep dreaming cos you never know when they come true! Even just in a little way! I saw Hrithik, which was totally UNIMAGINABLE before it happened! WOW!! TRULY, I know I saw him once, for nothing more than a few seconds, but TRULY I am NOT EXAGGERATING! The FEELING of that moment! WOW!!! THE SINGLE MOST INCREDIBLE moment OF MY LIFE!!! I even met people there who met him but I wasn't even jealous. I couldn't possibly wish away what I'd experienced, MINDBLOWING! I've written so much and yet I still feel no words I say can explain how that moment felt! I tell you if I ever doubted in miracles before that day, I most certainly don't anymore! : )

With sooooooooooooo much love!!!