‘I have respect for Indian culture, cinema and adore Indian food’
CHENNAI: Actor Jackie Chan will not forget his recent trip to Chennai soon. He is said to have been greatly troubled by a report on him carried in an English daily after the audio launch of Dasavatharam held recently.
Refuting the allegations made in the report, Jackie has written a long piece on his official website ( www.jackiechan.com) to “set the record straight”.
He writes: “When I saw some of the news reports on the Internet, I was extremely upset. One article accused me of ridiculous things like refusing to drink India’s bottled water — they said I brought my own imported mineral water — and travelling with my own personal chefs because I refuse to eat Indian food.
“There were also reports of my so-called offensive behavior, dismissing the Indian stars and not talking to anyone. What complete nonsense! I have nothing but respect for Indian culture and Indian cinema, and even though I may not know all the stars by name or how to properly pronounce the names of the ones I do know, this has nothing to do with my admiration for them. And saying that I won’t eat Indian food! Nothing could be further from the truth; I adore Indian food, and in fact had two excellent meals on this trip and was so full I could barely leave my seat!”
While reminiscing the nicer moments of his trip to India, he says: “But truly, these irresponsible “reporters” spoiled the memory of my trip, and I am so afraid that when my gracious and wonderful hosts read the lies, they may get the complete wrong impression of me and my feelings about them and about the event.”
Jackie has the following questions for the “irresponsible reporters”:
“To the reporters who wrote those offensive articles, I say this: You say I brought my own water. What brand did I bring? You can find out from the housekeepers at the hotel whether I did such a thing. You say I refused to eat Indian food. Do your research and talk to the three butlers the hotel assigned to my room and ask them what I ate! You say I holed up in my air-conditioned hotel room, ignoring my hosts. Why would I travel all the way to India and refuse to leave my hotel room?”
Dasavatharam producer Oscar V. Ravichandran told The Hindu that the first thing Jackie asked them after he landed in Chennai was when he was scheduled to meet the press.
“He told us that he would need to know the questions in advance as he was not too comfortable speaking English,” Mr. Ravichandran added.
“He made absolutely no fuss at the hotel and was totally cooperative. He obliged photographers and visitors who wanted to take photographs and had south Indian cuisine for lunch, took a small nap and came back at 3 p.m. Later, he sat with Mallika Sherawat and worked on his speech, and took her help to get our names right,” Mr. Ravichandran said.
Jackie, who later got the Chief Minister’s speech translated, was very touched that he had done so much research about his career.
“He felt bad about not having prepared his speech well,” Mr. Ravichandran said.
“At the airport he told me: ‘If you are feeling bad because of the reports about my trip, I am really sorry. I had a wonderful time here and I am overwhelmed by the love and admiration Indians have for me.”