Every year a slew of Hollywood celebs visit India, and rarely do they return disappointed. Last year, superstars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom, among others, were here and shared how the country charmed them. This year, too, a host of celebrities visited, be it for films, social work, networking or leisure. Here’s a round up:
Will Smith: The actor was here in August for a dinner hosted by actor Akshay Kumar at his Mumbai house. “It was an intimate dinner,” Akki had told us. Actors Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, and filmmakers Karan Johar and Rohit Dhawan also attended, and posted photos on social media.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: The adventure enthusiast along with wife, actor Elsa Pataky, took part in a Spanish adventure programme in February, climbing a 18,000 ft mountain, Chantang, in Ladakh. The happy couple also posted pictures from their stay in India. This included a photo of Chris posing with a cow.
IAN MCKELLEN: The British actor was here as part of a global programme to celebrate Shakespeare’s works and his influence on culture, education and society, coinciding with his 400th death anniversary in May. The 77-year-old Lord of The Rings actor — who came out of the closet in 1988 — spoke on homosexuality, slamming India’s hypocritical stance. “It is appalling and ironical that India would use a colonial law to oppress its homosexuals. India needs to grow up. India needs to realise that it doesn’t need to follow British laws any more,” he had said.
ELLEN PAGE: The Juno star visited in May to shoot her show, Gaycation, which explores the lives of the LGBT community in various countries. She also caught up with Apurva Asrani, scriptwriter of Bollywood film, Aligarh, that touched upon the subject of homosexuality, and celebrated his dog’s birthday.
“Ellen and her best friend Ian Daniels came home to chat with me about Aligarh and the state of LGBTQ rights in India. I am also one of the guests on the show that she’s shooting.She was extremely moved by our film and thought that Aligarh was relevant to the US audience, too. She came out (of the closet)?in 2014 and I came out in 2015. It was great chatting with her as we are united by the same cause,” Apurva had told us then.
JASON ISAACS: The Harry Potter actor shot for the film, Mumbai Hotel, based on 26/11 terror attacks in October. In Mumbai, he also met foster families to understand if India safeguards children’s interests. “I’m passionate about children’s rights and protection… trying to find a way to give them the childhood they deserve. There are more home-based foster groups than orphanages there. In India, I see that is yet to happen, but also the magnitude of problem is much larger,” he was quoted as saying.