Many Bollywood celebrities like Anil Kapoor and Shabana Azmi who could not cast their ballot as they were here to attend the IIFA said it was "unfortunate" not to be able to vote but their commitment to the film awards was made much in advance.
It was an important day back home in Mumbai as it was election day in the city, but a host of Bollywood celebrities chose to attend the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards here than casting their vote.
The IIFA Awards 2014 are being held in Tampa Bay, Florida and it will be a four-day-long extravaganza between April 23 to April 26.
Those who chose to fulfill their commitment at IIFA than cast their vote included Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhar, Anil Kapoor, Rajkumar Hirani, Nawazuddin Siddqui, Sonakshi Sinha and Nikhil Dwivedi among others.
The Mijwan fashion show was slated to be held here later. Mijwan is an NGO which supports welfare of girl child and it is headed by Shabana Azmi.
"I have always endorsed voting and standing up for rights. But I had committed to attending IIFA months in advance when the election dates weren't even announced," Shabana said.
"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 then down," she said.
Shabana was accompanied by Javed Akhtar and he too did not vote.
"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," Javed said.
"We had a choice that either we vote and stay back which is precious right. We had made this commitment to be here six months back," the noted lyricist and writer said.
"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," he said.
However, his actor-filmmaker son Farhan Akhtar stayed back to cast his vote before leaving for Tampa Bay.
"If given a chance we would have also voted and come," Jawed said.
Meanwhile, noted actor Anupam Kher's short film 'I Went Shopping for Robert De Niro' was premiered today on the second day of IIFA.
"I think the present government failed on most of the things, corruption happened directly or indirectly. I would definitely need a change in the political system. We badly need a change now. We need a stable and strong government. I would urge everyone to vote," Kher told PTI. "I want the government to look into the increasing prices, internal security and terrorism issues, have strong foreign policy, as a celebrity I would expect some changes in terms of tax for the entertainment industry," Kher said.
"My wife Kirron and son Sikander will be there during the elections. I am yet to take a call on this (voting)," he added.
Actor Anil kapoor who is here since April 22 also feels bad that he was not able to vote.
"It is very unfortunate. But this commitment was made much much earlier. All over the world people have their commitments which are made year in advance," Kapoor said.
"Today people can do e-voting. There is Indian embassy everywhere so this could work well for all who are out of country or their city. We can go there and vote and that is the best way. I think we must make that kind of a system," he said.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is here to attend the awards ceremony was also not able to vote.
"I have not been able to vote as I am here and I am feeling bad about it. I am not supporting any particular party. But I hope which ever party comes to power takes care of people and does not get into the politics of blame," he said.
Actor-producer Riteish Deshmukh did vote but not in Mumbai, he cast his ballot in Latur.
"I did vote but on 17 as I vote back in Latur. I am here for two days. My date of voting was 17. IIFA was committed to be in Tampa Bay much before the voting dates were announced," Riteish said.
He asserted that it was not fair to blame the industry as they were committed towards their work.
"There are lot of financial and other commitments like hosting, performing and etc. It is difficult to say that they did not vote. What if they don't be here then they (IIFA) will suffer financial losses and everyone will say they have not come here," Riteish said.
"It is unfortunate and I don't think they don't want to vote. They are here because of certain commitment much before the dates were announced," he said.
"I think every artist is an individual and if they stand for a cause...if they think they can influence by voicing their opinion then...it is ok," he added.