News / Vancouver

Fans say Times of India Film Awards about the Bollywood stars not the B.C. politics

Autographs, not votes, mattered most to the fans who skipped work or school to greet beloved Bollywood stars as they arrived at the Vancouver airport Tuesday afternoon.

As the famous actors and singers flocked to town for the inaugural Times of India Film Awards, which the B.C. Liberals government dished out about $11 million to support, about 40 fans gathered to watch them strut down the red carpet as they disembarked.

“For me, honestly it's just about the stars,” said Vancouverite Jas Bhatti, 26, when asked if TOIFA could sway her vote in May’s provincial election. She was surprised at how few people turned out to welcome the stars, though was excited to have the odds in her favour for snapping a photo with one.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that those who took a day off work were more interested in celebrities such as actors Madhavan and Boman Irani than in the controversy surrounding TOIFA.

Critics accuse the Liberals of using the awards ceremony to buy the “ethnic vote” before the election, though the government denies the allegations and says TOIFA will be good for the economy.

Burnaby resident Anna Dua, 37, is undecided upon her vote, but said TOIFA did put a “positive spin” for the Liberals. It’s important for her to introduce her kids to Bollywood so they have a link to India, she said with her children and nieces in tow.

The advertisements for B.C. on the award’s website plugged Vancouver, and she’s all for it if it’s good for the economy or encourages the Indian movie industry to film here.

But TOIFA won the Liberals at least one vote in the crowd – if only Maheep Pannu was old enough to hit the ballots.

“If I was voting, I would vote for the Liberals because they’re bringing Bollywood into Vancouver,” the 17-year-old said.

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