Mumbai — “Kaante” and “Zinda” director Sanjay Gupta has returned from the Global Indian Film Awards (GIFA) in Kuala Lumpur raving about Suniel Shetty’s management skills.
Suniel’s Popcorn Entertainment was given the charge to look after the celebrity guests in Kuala Lumpur and Gupta says it did a superb job.
“We really got to see how much goodwill Suniel commands. GIFA is in its second year and IIFA (International Indian Film Academy awards) in its seventh year. But the hospitality was equal in both places.
“I guess the fact that Suneil comes from the restaurant business makes him an expert in hospitality. I saw this man standing in the hotel lobby till six in the morning receiving guests. I kept asking him if he had slept for even six hours in the six days of the event,” Gupta told IANS.
“Suniel was personally there to take care of not just the stars but also their assistants, man-Fridays and drivers. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces at any awards ceremony. There were 103 BMWS on service 24 hours for the guests.
“In Mumbai I only know three stars, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Ekta Kapoor, who drive 740 BMW. Here in Kuala Lumpur every Tom Dick and Hari bhai was given one to drive.”
In spite of all the arrangements there were many who complained; Gupta is shocked by the cribbers.
“Those who drive Fiats were given Mercedes. And still they’re bitching. The show, food, room service – it wasn’t just us VVIPs in fancy suites. Even ordinary guests were given suites. Suniel’s whole Popcorn Entertainment team looked after every need of every guest.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi and the royal couple also attended the gala night.
“We had a football match and a fashion show for charity. At the fashion show, stars did major auctioneering. Salman was supposed to auction one of his ‘Baabul’ outfits. I suggested he auction the jacket he was wearing. He took off his jacket and brought in the big numbers.
“The next day at the deputy prime minister’s house – Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Bipasha Basu – everyone sang for orphaned kids. Huge amounts of money were collected for charity.”
Gupta screened “Zaahir”, one of his short stories from the collection entitled “Dus Kahaniyan”. “Zaahir” features Manoj Bajpai and Diya Mirza.
“It evoked tremendous response.”