Mana Madras Chaos-am

Event organised to gather relief supplies for Chennai goes horribly wrong.

It started with the best of intentions. But minutes into a donation drive event aimed at gathering relief for flood-hit Chennai, organised by the leading lights of the Telugu film industry, all hell broke loose. It was total chaos at the donation drive for Chennai flood victims at Sujana Forum Mall, Kukatpally on Sunday and with absolutely no one to control the crowds, filled with more fans than concerned citizens — it was a near stampede. The few stars who had attended, simply left the event midway.

Over the past few days, the actors had been asking their fans on Twitter and Facebook to donate whatever they could for the flood victims. As per the schedule, the actors were supposed to visit a few malls in the city to collect donations but at the end, Sujana Mall was elected as the sole venue. Unsurprisingly, towards the end, they ended up with people holding cameras, rather than food packets.

“It is very sad that this incident happened when we actually had gone there for a cause. We had put in so much effort to collect donations from people but it ended like this. But we are happy the message has gone out to people,” says actress Tejaswi, adding that she had not expected so many people to just turn up. “If we had collected some money or other things it would have been nice but our efforts were wasted,” she says.

It’s claimed that nearly 12,000 people had rushed to the Sujana Mall event which had just about 20 to 30 security personnel present. “I panicked and was almost shivering. This is the first time that I have been genuinely scared. I have been on promotional tours and have faced huge crowds before. But this was a bit crazy and next time I will think before going for such an event,” adds Tejaswi.

At one point the male actors had to step in to protect their female colleagues; Rana and Allari Naresh threw a protective ring around the actresses and guided them to safety from eager fans jumping about for a photo op. “The crowd was too heavy. So we decided to send away the actresses. It’s a small incident and nothing untoward happened. It was a Sunday and a huge crowd turned up — sometimes it happens” says Allari Naresh.

But the actors are going ahead with the efforts and have asked fans to divert all supplies to Ramanaidu studios — a more streamlined approach. “Chennai needs blankets, clothes, medicines, now! That’s the reason we put up big boxes for collections, to send them immediately to Chennai,” adds Naresh.

The actors have formed their own hotlines with Rana, Manchu Lakshmi and Navdeep coordinating with colleagues Siddharth, Dhanush, Suhasini, Khushbhoo and Vishal in Chennai. The group has been successful so far in getting flood-hit citizens vital supplies.

“Allu Arjun spoke to Apollo hospitals and got medicines. Likewise, here we spoke to people and made kits that include food items and medicines,” he says. “The event may have ended like this, but our efforts were not in vain,” says Naresh.

Manchu Lakshmi tweeted later about the incident: Went to Forum... we couldn’t control the crowd and our safety was at risk. With very, very sad heart had to cancel Manjeera and Inorbit. So much work and effort went into putting today together. Please don’t disappoint... Donate. We will make sure what you have dropped off at the malls is collected immediately. Thanks to the people who were generous. The girls cancelled Manjeera and Inorbit.

In fact, Manchu Lakshmi has been active on Twitter ever since the Chennai rains turned into a full blown crisis. On Monday, she tweeted asking for crucial clothing.

Actor Nikhil was also present at the event. “I just spent 10-15 minutes. I had to go for my film’s promotion, so I returned early. But it is very sad that the event was cancelled in the middle. But I had expected that this would happen because of the huge turnout,” he says.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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