A holy visit on Tuesday to Jaipur turned out to be a rather comic nightmare for Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB).
On Wednesday when he was waiting to board his flight back to Mumbai, calamity struck. Freak rains created a situation so unique in travel history that SLB found himself in the midst of making history over and above his cinema.
Says the director, a nervous flier by nature, “Though it was raining heavily the Mumbai-Jaipur flight landed on time and we got ready to board the flight. But after the landing no passenger came out of the aircraft! The minutes ticked into hours. Still no sign of anyone emerging from the aircraft. We were told nothing. We just sat waiting for movement from the aircraft wondering if it was being held hostage.”
Several hours after the scheduled departure time, and with SLB getting progressively nervous about losing precious time, it came to light that the passengers who had landed in Jaipur from Mumbai refused to deboard because it was raining and there was bus to carry them to the terminal.
The incoming passengers finally de-boarded two hours after arrival. But then began the second-half of the drama. The passengers waiting to board refused to do so.
Recalling the harrowing incident SLB says, “The passengers then started saying they won’t board in protest for the delay. One passenger even took out a video camera to record this freak delay for posterity. I was hiding in a corner. If I got captured on camera and the news channels got a hand on it, I’d become more famous then I wanted to be.”
The ground crew finally convinced the outgoing passengers from Jaipur to Mumbai to board while a very tense and nervous filmmaker tried to forget that he had a release coming up in less than 36 hours.