Nassau County Police in New York are seeking information on the whereabouts of the Bollywood Movie Awards, last seen on May 26, 2007, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island.
The BMAs, as they were affectionately called, were reported missing last May and have not been found, despite frantic efforts by American and Indian search and rescue teams.
â€œWeâ€™ve searched by land, by water and by air,â€ said Nassau County Police spokesman Scott Hansen. â€œWe even sent divers to the bottom of the East River. The only thing they found was a rusted trophy won by David Hasselhoff at the 2005 BMAs.â€
Hansen said the police department has received dozens of calls from concerned citizens about the BMAs. â€œOne man was particularly distraught,â€ Hansen said. â€œHe said he cannot survive another year without seeing Bipasha Basu in a tight dress.â€
Hansen said foul play is not suspected, but police are looking into various possibilities. They have interviewed a number of past BMA nominees who didnâ€™t win an award. But most did not attend the show, so their disappointment, if any, was minimal, Hansen said.
â€œThatâ€™s the thing about the BMAs,â€ Hansen said. â€œThey always strived to make people happy. Almost all celebrities who were willing to attend the show were given an award. Special awards were created for them if necessary.â€
But he acknowledged that police had questioned Aamir Khan, who they suspect has held a grudge since 1999, when Shahrukh Khan won a BMA for â€œBest Sensational Performance.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know much about Bollywood,â€ Hansen said, â€œbut I hear that Aamir believes heâ€™s more sensational than Shahrukh.â€
Action hero Steven Seagal, who won the BMAâ€™s â€œHumanitarian Awardâ€ in 2001, is among several Hollywood celebrities who have expressed shock and concern about their disappearance.
â€œI hope we can find them,â€ Seagal said. â€œAs far as Iâ€™m concerned, the BMAs are better than the Academy Awards. They gave me an award and they even let me sing. The Academy Awards wonâ€™t even let me in the building.â€Also expressing concern were Jean-Claude Van Damme, winner of the BMAsâ€™ â€œInternational Action Superstarâ€ award in 2004, Tyra Banks, winner of the â€œWoman of Conscienceâ€ award in 2005, and Danny Glover, winner of the â€œOutstanding Contribution to Global Entertainmentâ€ award in 2007.
â€œThe BMAs?â€ Glover said. â€œYeah, Iâ€™m really going to miss them. Iâ€™ve always looked forward to the Barbados Music Awards.â€
Hasselhoff, who won the BMAsâ€™ â€œInternational Star of the Yearâ€ award in 2005, declined to comment on their disappearance or the discovery of his trophy in the East River. An anonymous source said that Hasselhoff was miffed when he heard rumors that he was the second choice for the award, which had apparently been first offered to Gary Coleman.
Hansen said Hasselhoff was not a suspect in the BMAsâ€™ disappearance, but had been questioned by police. They have also questioned actress Kangana Ranaut, who performed at the 2007 BMAs and was apparently stuck with a hotel bill after demanding that she be paid before the show.
Reached for comment, Ranaut denied any responsibility for the BMAsâ€™ disappearance. â€œIt wasnâ€™t me,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m a follower of Gandhijiâ€™s principles.â€
Among those most upset over the disappearance of the BMAs is Sheeraz Hasan, also known as â€œThe Muslim American Dream.â€ The BMAs have twice honored Hasan, whose accomplishments include producing the cable show Tinseltown TV, creating the website Hollywood.tv and driving a yellow Lamborghini.
In 2004, he won the BMAs’ â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ award; in 2005, he won the â€œBollywood Ambassador to Hollywoodâ€ award; and in 2008 he was expected to win the â€œDreamy Muslim Americanâ€ award.
A spokesman for Hasan said he would not be making any public statements about the BMAs. â€œHeâ€™s too distraught,â€ the spokesman said. â€œEvery time he tries to talk about them, he breaks down in tears.â€
Fans of the 10-year-old BMAs are fearing the worst. â€œThey were too young to die,â€ said a tearful Amrita Patil of Iselin, NJ. â€œWhy didnâ€™t God take the Academy Awards instead?â€
Longtime fan Vijay Ram of Manhattan blamed the police and other authorities for not dedicating enough resources to the case. â€œSure, theyâ€™ve done a lot of searching,â€ Ram said. â€œBut I’ve seen very few pictures of the BMAs on milk cartons.â€
He and others are still hopeful that the BMAs will be found this year.
â€œMy wife and I are fasting and praying for the BMAs,â€ Ram said. â€œWe recently held a special puja for them. Please BMAs, if youâ€™re still alive, come back to us. We love you.â€
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the Bollywood Movie Awards, please contact your nearest police station. A reward is being offered: $5 off your next meal at Curry in a Hurry restaurant.