India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Waiting for Mr Cruise

December 5, 2011

Spending Sunday evening standing in a dusty, arid place, waiting more than three hours for one person to show up, is certainly not my idea of fun. However, when the person in question is Tom Cruise, the equation changes.

Mr Cruise was to turn up at a red carpet event in Mumbai, organised before a fan screening of his latest film — “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”

But in comparison to the many red carpet events I have seen, this was in complete contrast. There were no crowds outside the theatre, and hardly any inside the arena. In fact, organisers were seen herding people into the fan arena and handing them paper, so that they could write slogans on it and hold them up for Cruise to see.

In spite of all that effort, though, when Cruise did land up, the red carpet had none of the buzz you see abroad. A few fans shouted ‘Tom, we love you” half-heartedly and waved some posters, but that didn’t help much.

Cruise had his usual dazzling smile in place and stopped to sign autographs at the fan enclosure, but minutes before he walked the red carpet, organisers were urging fans to fill up the fan enclosure, assuring them that it was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

That’s surprising, considering Cruise was the first A-list Hollywood star to land in India for a promotional tour and has legions of fans worldwide. You’d think some of them would be in India – a market that is growing in terms of Hollywood releases.

But as actress Paula Patton gushed on the red carpet — “You guys have such a huge industry right here — we’re lucky to get some space in India.”

She might be right, because as I stepped out, I found a crowd of curious onlookers standing outside the theatre.

“Do you know who’s inside?” I asked.

“Isn’t it Shah Rukh Khan? We’re waiting to see him,” a young man replied.

So much for Tom Cruise.

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