The Public Gardens at Nampally on Thursday looked normal enough — except for the huge poster announcing the 18th International Children's Film Festival and the para-military force deployed outside. Meanwhile, the scene inside was the usual, with a handful of men and women lounging around, sitting on benches and gossiping away.
But walking towards the Telugu Lalitha Kala Thoranam (open air auditorium) inside the gardens, one could sense the change in atmosphere — an undercurrent of excitement was apparent in and around the area. And only when one stepped inside the auditorium did the gravity of the situation hit home. Volunteers present at the venue had a hard time controlling the crowd. Reason? Ranbir Kapoor.
It seemed like half of the female population of the city descended at the venue to get a dekko of the Kapoor scion. All speeches and felicitations were ignored as girls and women cheered on seeing Ranbir, who walked in a little late. In fact, so eager were RK fans to meet him that they even missed their lunch! Nymisha and Nikita Venkatesh, two 16-year-olds, were in tears by the end of the event because they missed out on meeting the actor. "We woke up at 5 am to ensure that we secured the passes to the festival — we never woke up so early even for our exams! We then went to Tank Bund and the GHMC office, where we had to wait for four hours to get the pass. We hadn't had our breakfast or our lunch too! We really thought we could meet him and even bought a red rose, a gift and a greeting card for him. And now, the volunteers won't tell us where he is," said a sobbing Nymisha.
Sakshi Agarwal was amongst the group that tried to meet the superstar, and was turned down. "I came to this event, specifically to see Ranbir. And when I did see him, I almost got a heart-attack! I've heard that he'll be leaving from the venue at 9 pm, so I'll be staying back till then," said Sakshi.
Fans give Sachin a miss for RK
While the girls were fawning, screaming and crying over Ranbir, there were Sachin Tendulkar fans too at the venue, who missed watching his last Test. Anant Upadhyay, a 24-year-old businessman, says he wanted to watch Sachin play "but unfortunately, I'm accompanying my sister here, who wanted to see Ranbir. Plus, it's okay because I'm sure the Tests will go on for a few days, and Sachin will put his best foot forward." Another ardent Sachin fan, Rohit Sugatekar, gave the match a miss to catch a glimpse of the star! "Though I love cricket, I aspire to become an actor. And I'm quite sure that I will be able to see Sachin play on Friday as well. So, I came here to see Ranbir," says the 15-year-old. Of course, not everyone willingly gave Sachin's last Test a miss. For some of the volunteers, it was all about getting the certificate that saw them at the venue. "We're from the National Green Corps, and I'm a huge cricket buff. But I have to be here so I can take my certificate. I guess I'll have to make-do with watching the replays," lamented Lakshman Pawar.