Mumbai: This year’s IPL tournament was a far cry from last year. Contrary to the ecstatic scene in 2012, where Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and director Prabhu Deva made a happy picture together during one of the matches and at an after-party, the start to this year’s season was starkly different.

While Shah Rukh Khan’s team battled it out on the turf opposite the team from Delhi, a different sort of match was being played out on the stands.

As Shah Rukh Khan cheered for his team from his box, Akki and his co-stars Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan were also present at a distance to promote their upcoming gangster film. However, sources close to Akshay’s next film say that SRK had apparently passed a diktat to the TV channel telecasting the match to not focus too much on Akshay and his team.

Another insider from Akki’s film’s unit says, “Initially Akshay and his gang were sitting away from Shah Rukh. However, soon they moved closer to the star in order to interact with the audience. However, immediately SRK retired from the scene, perhaps to avoid greeting the others.”

One wonders if the battle at the box office over each other’s Eid releases has already begun. The source adds, “There were whispers that courtesy SRK’s special request, Akshay and his co-stars barely had enough screen time on television.”

Tanuj Garg, the CEO of the production house behind Akshay’s film says, “Our mission was accomplished as we were featured on all the channels and the Kolkata media supported us. However, we did receive messages from our friends that we were not spotted enough on TV. But it is not in our hands.”

The official spokesperson from the channel refused to comment on the matter. While sources close to Shah Rukh say, “People are not allowed to promote their films at IPL in any manner. Why blame Shah Rukh?”

Looks like Shah Rukh Khan’s wish is Deepika Padukone’s command. While Akshay Kumar and his team attended the match to apparently promote their upcoming film, SRK too didn’t let go of the opportunity.

While his Chennai Express co-star Deepika Padukone performed at the opening ceremony of the IPL, sources say that SRK called her back to Kolkata, perhaps as a move to counter Akki’s promotional strategy.

A source says, “Deepika had already performed for her opening act on Tuesday but returned to Kolkata after SRK called her back. She attended SRK’s team’s match on Wednesday.”

We hear that Dippy had already resumed shooting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next film when she received a call from SRK. “She finished her schedule and post pack-up, took a flight to Kolkata. She did this only for Shah Rukh,” adds Deepika’s spokesperson.  


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