Thank you for accepting the invitation to lead New York's India Independence Day Parade, August 21, 2005.
I came from Maryland to visit a friend and to see you lead the parade. While I am a "foreigner," I celebrate freedom for all people.
I am an unabashed fan of Bollywood -- I enjoy your films.
You spent hours in the hot sun walking the parade route and went out of your way to shake hands with as many of the bystanders as possible. I got the impression you had no bodyguards because the crowds swarmed around you. After you reached the reviewing stand, you continued to shake hands with those around the stand and wave to those you could not reach.
After the parade, you participated in many other celebratory events. It must have been a long day for you.
You are a great ambassador for your country and your profession.
Watching you walk the parade route in the hot sun is an example of why I think Bollywood stars are the hardest working actors in the film industry. Many Bollywood actors do their own stunts, dance and sing (even if it is later dubbed), and then many perform live in other venues as well as serve as guest-of-honor at various events. Also, I think Bollywood stars appreciate their fans more than other film stars.
Luckily, my friend, Jona, was a much better photographer than I -- her pictures of the parade and you came out wonderful.
Thanks again for coming all the way to the United States to celebrate the 58th anniversary of India's Independence.