While the average citizen feels the pinch of steep entry fee
Mallika Sherawat may not necessarily be the best asset at a yoga shivir that calls upon a calm, meditative state of mind from participants. But well, there she was, at the Bandra Kurla Complex on Friday evening where Baba Ramdev has been camped the last two days.
Making a great display of shying away from photographers, Mallika sat on the dais talking to Baba’s supporters about the virtues of yoga, pranayam and left soon after.
She’s not the only one. While many Mumbaikars find the entry fees to the camp– Rs 500, 1100 and 2100 (depending on how close you want to get to the podium) per session — too steep, Bollywood has turned up in considerable force to support the controversial guru who was recently in the news for the content of his medicines.
He’s being hosted in the city by film producer Vashu Bhagnani and among those who have already gone to his camp as a mark of support include Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Shekhar Suman. Expected today are Hema Malini and Reena Roy.
The organisers of the camp firmly deny that they’re calling the stars to boost attendance at the shivir. "We never called Bollywood people for publicity. These people are coming forward as per their will. We have invited them and they have all come in to visit Baba. Baba does not like to waste time and so they just come and express their support and leave. Apart from Shekhar Suman who had come with Anil Kapoor for the inaugural day, no one gave a speech." Perhaps. But when we called Mallika for her comment on her visit, her spokesperson responded there was "no way, Mallika will talk about some Baba Ramdev."
"To be very frank I was not even a firm believer of him till the time I once saw him on TV," says Bhagnani. "I think he is doing some good work and one of my friends told me that he was looking for a place to stay in Mumbai during his visit. I offered him my house which is why he is staying here. It’s just been three days and there are five more days to go and I already have a huge amount of visitors in my house."
MUMBAI MIRROR, Kunal M Shah, Saturday, January 28, 2006