Tampa Bay: Bollywood celebrities like Anil Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, and Javed Akhtar, present on the second day of the ongoing IIFA awards and skipping voting - scheduled on the same date in Mumbai - regretted not exercising their franchise but said they had committed to the show six months back when elections has not been announced.
"I have always endorsed voting and standing up for your rights. But I had committed to attending IIFA months in advance when the election dates weren't even announced.
"I support an NGO - Mijwan - that works for the welfare of girl child. Manish Malhotra and Mijwan have worked hard to put up the show. I couldn't have let them down," said Shabana Azmi, referring to the Mijwan fashion show scheduled for the event's second day.
"It is terrible. But, we had made this commitment for Mijwan much before in advance. Mijwan is not a personal commitment - it is about so many women, girls in village, they will get benefited and get a new market. We had a choice that either we vote and stay back which is a precious right.
"We had made this commitment to be here six months back. It would be like disappointing so many poor girls and women because they are thinking this show will benefit them. It was a bad choice either ways," her husband and poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar told reporters at the green carpet of IIFA 2014.
IIFA, which began April 23 and will go on till April 26, will see performances by many celebrities, including Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonakshi Sinha among others. The IIFA awards will be hosted by Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar.
Actor Anil Kapoor, who also missed voting, said: "It is very unfortunate. But this commitment was made much much earlier. All over the world, people have their commitments which are made a year in advance.
"Today people can do e-voting. There are Indian embassies everywhere so this could work well for all. We can go there and vote and that is the best way. I think we must make that kind of a system."
Versatile actor Nawazuddin, who is also attending IIFA 2014, admits it is wrong not to vote.
"I have not been able to vote as I am here... I know it's wrong not to vote. I am not supporting any particular party. But I hope which ever party comes to power takes care of people and get into blame politics."
Reportedly, actors like Farhan Akhtar, Sonakshi Sinha and Deepika Padukone among others have decided to vote before they come for IIFA.