It was supposed to be an opportunity to mix with their favourite Bollywood icon,but Dabang star Salman Khans fleeting visit to the city caused chaos and left many of his fans,waiting patiently at Silver Arc mall,disappointed.
A harried Salman spent only around five minutes at the mall,where he had come to formally inaugurate a fashion apparel store that belongs to his NGO Being Human which works for child welfare. He cold-shouldered the media and thousands of fans waiting outside the venue; while his visit led to complete chaos in the city. Police had a tough time managing the crowd,ensuring security for the star and battling traffic jams at the Bhai Wala Chowk.
Salman landed the Sahnewal airport in a chartered flight and was escorted to the mall by Ajay Nayyar,MD,Silver Arc Mall and advocate Harpreet Sandhu.
When Khan finally arrived,he was taken straight to the showroom with the thousands of people not even getting a glimpse of him and those standing on the upper floors of the mall,not even managing to get a smile or a wave from their favorite hero.
He was cold. His interest in the public and his fans is just to promote his brand. Being a brand ambassador,had he smiled or waved,it would have ultimately benefited him and his store, said Shaleen,a fan who waited outside the store for over two hours.
There was more misery for Salmans faithful outside the mall as hundreds of police officials and women commandos on bikes preventing many of them from entering the mall. Many of them,particularly women,were seen arguing with police officials.
On the other hand,some customers who came to collect their goods and orders from shops in the mall were a harried lot. They too were seen trying to convince police officials but in vain. I placed an order at a coffee shop in mall and when I called they said there was no problem regarding entry. But now they are not allowing me to enter to collect my order, said Supriya,a city resident.
Khan refused to talk to the media and even photojournalists struggled to get his glimpse of him. We received him at the airport and then on his way to mall in car,he was sleeping as he was too tired. Then inside store,he just autographed a board and met 2-3 families, said Harpreet Sandhu.
The star was accompanied by his bodyguard Shera and his secretary from Mumbai. He,however,met children inside the store and signed autographs for them.
His exit from mall was equally chaotic and disappointing as crowd got unmanageable. He eventually left for Chandigarh to inaugurate similar stores there.
A disaster was averted at the mall by sheer chance as the railings on the upper floor began to sway due to the huge crowd. Police officials and bouncers rushed to floors to get the crowd away from the railings but the situation got out of control. People jumped and climbed on the glass railings that were swaying. Had even one of the railings fallen down,it would have been disastrous. The crowd was simply not listening no matter how hard we tried, a police official said.
Playing tough cops in his superhit flicks,seems to have earned Salman Khan,the admiration of the men in khaki. A few of the police officials requested the public to click pictures of them when Khan arrived,irrespective of whether he was facing the camera or not; others grabbed jute bags of Being Human,a carton of which was distributed for free when Khan left. Eh human being de bag ne,chal lai lae, said a cop to his colleague.