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Organisers hope to bring Amitabh, Shah Rukh at IIFA

Colombo: IIFA organisers have not given up hope of bringing in superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan for the three day awards gala, which begins here tomorrow.

"Mr Shah Rukh Khan is still trying to make it at the last hour and so is Mr Amitabh Bachchan though we cannot guarantee their participation," a top IIFA organizer said on conditions of anonymity.

"Many film personalities, however, ruled out cancelling the show after everything was on board and when we are going there for a cause to help the former LTTE child soldiers and others through rehabilitation," he said.

Although Bachchan is yet to officially announce his absence, the actor is unlikely to attend the event as he is busy shooting for Gujarat tourism in the state.

It will be for the first time that Amitabh Bachchan, who is the brand ambassador of IIFA, will not attend the event. His actor son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai are also giving the event a miss, citing previous engagements including the promotion of their upcoming film `Raavan`.

Shah Rukh, who last performed in IIFA in 2005, opted out citing a busy schedule. The actor is busy shooting his superhero flick `Ra.One`. The 44-year-old actor told fans on Twitter "...dont think i will be able to come for iifa..too much work here, will miss Colombo."

Sri Lanka as a venue for IIFA has angered many Tamil supporters in India, who allege the Sri Lankan government of killing Tamils civilians at the height of the conflict between army and LTTE last year.

The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFCC) has said that it will go ahead with the boycott of Bollywood actors who are participating in the IIFA weekend.

South Indian stars Kamal Haasan, Rajanikanth and director Mani Ratnam have already declined to attend the event.

Meanwhile, several Bollywood personalities like Riteish Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Boman Irani, Vivek Oberoi, tennis player Mahesh Bhupati have already reached Colombo.

Actor Vivek Oberoi today said that he will be talking to Sri Lankan government and hopes to contribute in his own way to the rebuilding and betterment of the lives of the war affected children.

"I don`t believe in boycotting the awards. Bollywood films are about building bridges, not putting up walls against people," the actor said.

Oberoi will be hosting the fashion extravaganza along with Diya Mirza on the second day of the event at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.

The three day gala will also see a charity match between Bollywood stars and Sri Lankan cricketers, proceeds from which will be donated to help rehabilitate children displaced by the civil war.

Sabbas Joseph, the director of Wizcraft that is organising the event said, "IIFA is proud to join forces with UNICEF and the Sri Lanka Cricket" for the initiative that will "bring hope and light up the lives of the deprived children".

PTI

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