Shah Rukh Khan apologises to Buddhist monks

Press Trust Of India, December 11, 2004

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has apologised to Sri Lanka's protesting Buddhist monks for the timing of his mega concert here, which coincides with the death anniversary of a popular priest, but said the show will go on.

?Khan who flew into Sri Lanka yesterday evening apologised to the monks and said he would observe two minutes of silence in memory of the late priest," the Daily Mirror newspaper said.

?He didn't know about the anniversary and the event was organised more than six months ago,? the paper, one of the organisers of the show said.

A handful of monks are camping outside Colombo's former race course where the concert is to open later this evening saying they are against any entertainment coinciding with the first death anniversary of the monk.

Today and tomorrow have been reserved by them for "meritorious deeds and mourning." Their attempts to urge Indian High Commissioner (Ambassador) Nirupama Rao to intervene and stop today's show have also failed. Police have cordoned off the concert venue to prevent any disruption, but a spokesperson said the protesting monks did not appear to have any popular public support.

The Buddhist monks have also urged the government to cancel the concert and help prevent foreign exchange from leaving the island to finance Khan and his troupe, which includes Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Javed Khan and Celina Jaitely.