Thursday, February 22, 2018
Events

IIFA notes: Green carpet fans surge toward Deepika Padukone, knock down barrier

TAMPA — Things got a little crazy on the green carpet Wednesday after Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone landed at Tampa International Airport.

Padukone's stature — she has three International Indian Film Academy nominations this year for best female in a leading role — is lofty enough by itself to draw a crowd.

And the 200 or so film fans waiting for her were fired up, having heard the sound system blast out the up-tempo song Lungi Dance from her movie, Chennai Express, a couple of times.

As Padukone made her way toward a small stage, a few dozen fans next to the stage pushed forward, knocking over a decorative waist-high plywood wall covered in green plastic ivy. About a half-dozen Tampa airport police were stationed at intervals along the green carpet to ask fans not to push forward and to hold up the metal barriers, which resemble bike racks, though not along the wall.

No one was hurt, and fans did not dislodge the second, more substantial metal barrier behind the wall.

After that, Padukone, 28, quickly headed out, signing a few more autographs but not doing any interviews before getting in a waiting SUV.

Even without fans pushing things over, the green carpet at the airport can be noisy, especially for someone coming off 20 or more hours of travel, which includes at least one change of planes because there are no direct flights from India.

On Tuesday, leading man Saif Ali Khan ended his remarks to fans saying, "I'm going to go now. I just got off a 30-hour flight. I think I have to go and have a bath."

Asked Wednesday how long his flight was, actor and comedian Vir Das said, "It was 276 hours."

And he was ready to relax.

"Is there a beach around somewhere that I can hit?"

Watch for IIFA-related traffic downtown

With today's start of IIFA's Global Business Forum and fan expo at the Tampa Convention Center and an 11 a.m. film premiere at the Tampa Theatre, traffic around downtown is likely to pick up.

And this evening, traveling to and from Harbour Island is expected to be affected when IIFA Rocks music and fashion show brings about 2,500 VIPs to the convention center. The show is by invitation only, but there is a green carpet for fans starting about 7 p.m. Roads around the convention center and S Harbour Island Boulevard bridge will be closed from 5 p.m. until after the event. The S Beneficial Drive bridge will remain open.

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