Colombo: With many big names including brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan missing from its guest list, the IIFA awards may be low on glitz but the Bollywood stars attending the extravaganza say politics won`t stop them from entertaining.
The Bachchan family including Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai, regulars at the IIFA red carpet, has decided to stay away from the event amid boycott threats by South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFCC), which is protesting against the treatment meted out to Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Tamil groups had protested outside Bachchan`s home asking him to stay away from the event, after he addressed his first IIFA press conference here in April.
The other big names missing from the three-day event are Shah Rukh Khan, Arjun Rampal, Ranbir Kapoor, Rajnikant, Kamal Hassan and Mani Ratnam.
But despite the controversy, stars like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Sharman Joshi, Lara Dutta, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani are attending the gala that kickstarted today.
"I don`t understand this (controversy). If there are people who are troubled...We have come to entertain them only. We have come here to give them something that is what I
believe in," said Salman, who will be part of the IIFA fashion extravaganza and a charity match between Bollywood stars and Sri Lankan cricketers.
Dutt, who unveiled the first look of his upcoming film "Lamhaa" here today, said that no one has the right to ban his film in his own country.
"I don`t see any reason why there should be a ban on our films in our own country. Cinema does not see regions, language and culture divides," `Munnabhai` said.
Basu, who will be performing at the award show, said, "Bollywood is all about spreading love and peace."
Actor Vivek Oberoi who has spoken up against the protests said that though he had a special relationship with Tamil Nadu, he believes that the IIFA event will actually benefit the displaced Tamil population of Sri Lanka.
Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh said he was touched by the hospitality of Sri Lankan people and called the film industry to stand united.
Sri Lanka, which saw a violent end to three decades of civil war, is hoping to repair its image and revive tourism by hosting the event, which is covered by international media.
The awards show is hogging headlines in all prominent newspapers in the island country and billboards promoting the event can be seen dotting the highways here.