Bollywood fans go bonkers for stars at Vancouver airport ahead of Times of India Film Awards (with gallery)

Published: April 4, 2013
Imran Pirbhai

Bollywood fan Imran Pirbhai from Burnaby, B.C. shows off his autograph book at Vancouver International Airport April 4, 2013 as he waits for stars from India to appear. Jason Payne/PNG



Imran Pirbhai took Thursday off so he could go to the Vancouver International Airport to see some Bollywood stars who were arriving to take part in the Times of India Film Awards.

In fact, the 24-year-old from Burnaby took off more than Thursday: “I took the whole week off,” said Pirbhai, who was at the front of a mass of fans who gathered behind security barriers with cameras, video cameras, phones and tablets to record special memories of the arriving celebrities

Pirbhai said he was at YVR “to see my stars.”

“I just love them,” he said of the Bollywood stars.

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Pirbhai got autographs of the first two Bollywood celebrities that showed up.

Director-writer-actor Anurag Basu, and Bollywood newcomer Ileana D’cruz were later than expected Thursday afternoon but that just allowed more fans to join the crowds on the East Concourse of the International terminal.

“I’m very happy,” said Pirbhai.

Making it even better was that Basi directed one of Pirbhai’s favourite films, Barfil, and that was the film in which D’cruz made her Hindi debut after appearing in films in other languages.

Next to arrive were Manoj Bajpayee, who often plays villainous roles, and actor-dancer-choreographer Prabhudeva Sandaram, whose moves make many regard him as the Michael Jackson of Bollywood.

With security guards watching closely, the stars signed autographs and even posed for photos with the fans until they were eventually hustled away.
Nick Reddy, 19, of Burnaby left for the airport after his University of B.C. classes ended at 11 a.m.

He was intent on seeing actor Ranbir Kapoor,

“He’s probably one of the best in the industry,” said Reddy, who was hoping to get pictures and autographs.

Reddy likes “everything” about Bollywood films.

“It has culture, tradition — all the stuff we were taught from when we were kids,” he said. “It has everything.”

Some of the stars were slated to appear at a special showcase of Bollywood songs and dances Thursday night at the Pacific National Exhibition.

But the big event are the actual awards Saturday night at B.C. Place, where 35,000 fans are expected to turn out.

The province of B.C. has provided funding to stage the awards, which are presented by the Times of India — India’s largest media conglomerate. The media giant reaches a staggering 90 million people a day through its various brands.

Bollywood stars at YVR

Picture 1 of 97

Anu Kapoor arrives Wednesday afternoon at the Vancouver International Airport for the upcoming Times of India Film Awards. The first ever TOIFA will be held in Vancouver from April 4-6, 2013. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

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