The Hollywood action hero Jackie Chan responded to the allegations made against him during his recent visit to Chennai for the audio launch of Dasavatharam. A section of the media, had reported about Chan’s offensive behaviour, dismissing the Indian stars and not talking to anyone during his 24-hour visit. Jackie Chan through his official website www.jackiechan.com has clarified his position.
Oscar Ravichandran the producer of Dasavatharam clarified to Sify.com: “ I was very upset when I heard about the co-called reports on Internet about Chan’s visit. He made absolutely no fuss at the hotel and was totally cooperative. He obliged photographers and visitors who wanted to take photographs and had south Indian food for lunch, took a small nap and came back at 3 p.m. Later, he sat with Mallika Sherawat and worked on his speech, and took her help to get our Indian names right”
Ravi added: “He told me that he would need to know the questions in advance as he was not too comfortable speaking English. And at the airport, before he left he confessed about the love and admiration Indians had for him”.
Excerpts from Jackie’s website:
I have just returned from the most amazing and wonderful trip to Chennai, India, where I went to attend the audio launch of Oscar Films’ upcoming movie Dasavatharam. I should tell you that Oscar Films is responsible for distributing my films in India and has been doing this for over twenty years, since Battle Creek Brawl. It’s because of them that I’m so well known in India and they are very old friends of mine.
A few months ago, Mr. Ramesh Babu from Oscar Films and Mr. Vikram Lamba, brother of my Myth screen companion Mallika Sherawat, came to Hong Kong to personally invite me to this function. At the time, I looked at my schedule and winced. I was booked almost every day in April in Beijing, doing public service announcements and other events for the Olympics. How in the world would I fit in a trip to India? But I was so touched by their sincerity, and missed India so much (it’s been three years since The Myth) that I shifted things around so that I could squeeze in a very short trip.
As I told you, the purpose of the Chennai trip was to attend the music launch of Oscar Films’ latest production, Dasavatharam. In Indian films, the music is a very important part of the production, and these events are quite extravagant. The organizers had also added a fund-raising element to it, and I was there to present a check to the charity organizers.
Oscar Films was extremely generous in providing me with everything I could possibly need on this trip. Since I was only going to be in Chennai for about twenty-four hours, I didn’t think that anyone would know of my arrival and I was completely overwhelmed when I arrived at Chennai airport. So many fans and friends came to greet me, and it was at that moment I knew this would be the beginning of an amazing trip.
The premiere event was incredible. I saw so many friendly people, and so many famous faces! Many stars of Indian cinema were there and I recognized their faces, but I didn’t know how to pronounce their names (you know I’m much better with faces than with names). I was surprised and happy that so many people seemed to know me and wanted to talk to me. Oscar Films obviously did a great job promoting and distributing my previous films! I was really overwhelmed and I did my best to talk to as many people as possible. I hope I didn’t offend anyone by not giving them enough attention.
The movie, Dasavatharam, is truly a sight to behold. The story, directing, acting, camera work, special effects, everything about it is amazing. It really opened my eyes to modern Indian cinema. Of course I had seen Indian films before; I admire many of the actors, and really like the music and dancing. But this movie is really something else. Every element was amazing to me; and all the elements together just made a perfect and incredible movie! I won’t spoil anyone’s surprise by revealing the story now, since I think everyone should watch this movie. But I will say two things: watch for the environmental message, and all you directors in Hong Kong and China, watch this movie and start working harder than ever, because very soon now, Indian cinema will overtake us in the eyes of the international audience!
Because of my busy schedule, I had to leave Chennai the same night, after the event ended. I arrived in Beijing early the next morning and imagine my surprise when I was greeted with, “We heard it didn’t go too well; are you okay?” I honestly had no idea what everyone was talking about. I’d had such a thrilling and interesting trip and everything had gone quite smoothly.
When I saw some of the news reports on the Internet, I was extremely upset. One article accused me of ridiculous things like refusing to drink India’s bottled water — they said I brought my own imported mineral water - and of traveling with my own personal chefs because I refuse to eat Indian food. There were also reports of my so-called offensive behavior, dismissing the Indian stars and not talking to anyone. What complete nonsense! I have nothing but respect for Indian culture and Indian cinema, and even though I may not know all the stars by name or how to properly pronounce the names of the ones I do know, this has nothing to do with my admiration for them. And saying that I won’t eat Indian food! Nothing could be further from the truth; I adore Indian food, and in fact had two excellent meals on this trip and was so full I could barely leave my seat! To the reporters who wrote those offensive articles, I say this: You say I brought my own water. What brand did I bring? You can find out from the housekeepers at the hotel whether I did such a thing. You say I refused to eat Indian food. Do your research and talk to the three butlers the hotel assigned to my room and ask them what I ate! You say I holed up in my air-conditioned hotel room, ignoring my hosts. Why would I travel all the way to India and refuse to leave my hotel room?
I’ve been in the public eye for many years and I have put up with a lot of ridiculous things written about me. I very seldom lash out at anyone. But truly, these irresponsible “reporters” spoiled the memory of my trip, and I am so afraid that when my gracious and wonderful hosts read the lies, they may get the complete wrong impression of me and my feelings about them and about the event. Therefore, I am posting this message on my website immediately to set the record straight.
While I am on the topic of irresponsible journalism, some reporters recently asked me about my participation in the Olympic torch relay. I jokingly answered that no one had better try to come near me while I’m carrying the torch. I said it as a joke, and believe me, I made it quite clear that I was fooling around. I have tremendous faith in the security measures being taken. The next day there were news reports all over the world saying things like “Jackie Chan Threatens Olympic Protestors” and “Kung Fu Star Will Chop Down Protestors.” It seems that everywhere in the world there will be rotten apples that spoil the good ones in the barrel.
I hope this has cleared things up and that my gracious and generous Indian hosts and all of my fans and friends will be reassured that I had a lovely and memorable trip.