Debate: Did Imran Khan Deserve to Be Booed Off Stage at the Mumbai Film Festival?

Rashmi Daryanani , 17 Oct 2014
Imran Khan
Imran Khan

During the Mumbai Film Festival, actor Imran Khan was asked to present the film Two Nights, One Day to the audience who had gathered to watch it. Unfortunately, though, he received a response he probably didn’t expect. As he took stage, someone from the crowd yelled out, “What are you doing here?” (To which the actor replied “I’m not sure what I’m doing here.”) Not only that, but there were chants from the audience to “start the film” and eventually the actor ended up being booed off stage.

On their part, the organisers of the festival have claimed they are to be blamed for the mismanagement. According to the spokespeople, while Imran was kind enough to lend his time and support, “Murphy’s Law came into play” and everything that could go wrong, did. The statement continues, “We had subtitles that didn’t play, elections that threw our schedule off because of mall closure and understandably annoyed festival delegates.  Therefore his presentation of the film got disrupted and did not go as planned.”

Imran Khan
Imran Khan

MFF’s creative director Anupama Chopra also chimed in, saying:

Imran was not there as an expert on this particular film. He was there as a supporter of MAMI and a cinema lover.  What happened was mismanagement on our part, not his.  He was one of the first people to lend support to the festival and the drive to raise money for it.  I’m very sorry that he is having to pay for being kind.   We hope this clarifies the situation.

Interestingly, Varun Dhawan was supposed to present Boyhood that day, but ended up not doing so. It isn’t known whether he avoided doing this because of the Imran incident or some other reason entirely.

Before the Imran incident, there were also conversations about Deepika Padukone not being worthy enough to be on the same panel as Catherine Deneuve in Anupama Chopra’s Film Companion Master Class. It’s clear, then, that most of the festival attendees aren’t too pleased with the idea of mainstream Bollywood being a part of the festival. We can understand why hardcore film buffs are irked with the Bollywood presence; however, the response seems kind of ridiculous, especially considering that so many in Bollywood have rallied in support for the festival. Not to mention, many within the industry have extended financial support to ensure that the festival continues this year (it nearly shut down four weeks ago due to lack of funds).

What are your thoughts on this? Was the Imran incident pure bad manners, or was the audience justified in their response to him?

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