Birthday Special Shilpa Shetty: How did Shilpa Shetty save her life that night when some goons were after her?

It was an award function organized by Punjabi Kala Sangam in New Delhi, and many stars from Mumbai had left for Delhi when it was 4 in the evening - Ali Peter John

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It was an award function organized by Punjabi Kala Sangam in New Delhi, and many stars from Mumbai had left for Delhi, when it was 4 in the evening, the 'Holiday Inn' hotel was crowded with stars like Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Anupam Kher, Kader Khan and directors like David Dhawan, Raj Kanwar and other known directors, producers, composers, lyricists, and technicians! I must mention here that the brain behind the whole award function was a friend of mine (Rajendra Handa) and one of the most powerful and popular star secretaries of that time, Rakesh Nath, better known as Rikku, and known as Madhuri Dixit's manager. The award function was to be held at Siri Fort Auditorium, and Union Minister Salman Khurshid was to be the chief guest. I can say now that the awards were not given as per merit, but those from Mumbai could take time to attend the function in Delhi.

Here a special award was to be given to the best newcomer in the female category, and it was decided to give it to Divya Bharti! At 3 pm someone from Divya's house called Rikku to inform her that Divya would not be able to make it to the function! Rikku was someone who never took 'no' for an answer and immediately called Shilpa Shetty, who had gained popularity after her appearance in 'Baazigar', and by 5 pm Shilpa and her mother Mrs. Sunanda Shetty were in the lobby of 'Holiday Inn', and in no time she was ready to leave with the other award winners and was also excited to win her first award.

The Siri Fort Auditorium was packed with people, the atmosphere was like a kabaddi match and the auditorium was filled with famous faces from Mumbai and Shilpa and her mother who were not popular then! However they got a trophy which had Divya Bharti's name on it. I too was to receive an award, and had to literally push through people to reach the minister to receive my award and then I ran away from Siri Fort to save my life!

I had seen Shilpa only once and I was surprised to see an award winner trapped in the middle of a hostile crowd of young hooligans! I joined Shilpa and her mother to ask for someone from the organisers to take us back to the hotel in a car. The organisers had sent an old van for us! 

And hardly had we started breathing normally, I saw 4 motorcycles and three-four young men on each motorcycle! They were roadies who were also drunk, and they kept chasing our van! After a while Mrs. Shetty realized that they were forcing us to hand over Shilpa to them! The chase got more and more scary when the rowdies started threatening the driver to stop the car and the brave driver kept driving and Mrs. Shetty kept crying and pleading for help.

I was caught in a situation like I had not imagined even in my wildest dreams! The wild men kept on beating the van driver and the only two who were able to calm them down in the horrific situation were the driver and Mrs. Sunanda Shetty. The wild men kept on chasing our van till we reached the gate of 'Holiday Inn' where Rikku, who was informed about the incident by Mrs. Shetty, was standing alone with a stick in his hand, and the moment those wild men saw Rikku they disappeared from the site and Shilpa went to her room and did not come down to the party where what had happened was the topic of busy talk among the guests!

I heard people tell me that Shilpa would not like me telling or writing about this story. I know, Shilpa Shetty Kundra is a very big and rich woman today, and there is no point in talking about such things, but what about the young journalist who was just starting out for whom this horror was an incident or it was called an accident which has been left like a scar which people with short memories cannot erase!

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