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Bollywood extravaganza in NY postponed

Som Chivukula in New York

Last April, Kamal Dandona was a happy customer -- The Bollywood Awards and the first-ever Bollywood Fashion Awards he organised had received raves from thousands of fans, as top names in the Indian film industry and fashion world had strutted their stuff in New York.

Dandona wanted to build on the momentum and gain a similar response for the Bollywood Music Awards that he had introduced.

This year's event, to be staged November 10 at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum, would provide more excitement than ever, Dandona had promised.

"We will have 25 artists from 10 countries performing," he had said. "We want everyone to have a good time. We will also honour the fire fighters and rescue workers."

However, those plans have now been put on hold. Days before the show, Dandona has decided to postpone it, primarily due to "security reasons".

"There's an imminent security threat to those in New York and we can't take any chances now," he said somberly from his Long Island office.

For Dandona, this delay has meant huge financial losses. "It's very severe... many have paid their deposits in full and publicity had already begun," he stated. He estimated the initial loss to be $100,000.

But Dandona's concern remained the stars and the audiences.

"The Indian performers were concerned about their safety," he said. "We reassured them that everything would be alright. But with the recent warning by the Attorney General, we felt it was best to put their safety and the safety of the audience first."

The awards were to feature acts by Kumar Sanu, Jagjit Singh, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Shubha Mudgal and Amit Kumar. Pop, bhangra, ghazals and rock were just a few of the genres to be presented.

Dandona also had a few surprises up his sleeve. Governor George E Pataki, the Beastie Boys and Suraj, the young star from Asoka, were some of the celebrity attendees.

"This is just a temporary setback," the unfazed Dandona said. "Fans will get their tickets refunded but they should support Indian artists by buying their CDs and videos. We must all get back to normal," he added, promising to be back next year.

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