A war of words has erupted between Jennifer Lopez's team and camp Shah Rukh Khan, after articles appeared in the US and UK slamming the pop queen for turning down SRK's offer to perform at the IPL opening ceremony on April 2 . JLo's team has reportedly accused Red Chillies of 'planting' stories in the media, to tarnish her image. An official from Red Chillies on condition of anonymity said that it is the star's IPL team that is to be blamed. "They were handling the quotes (money and budgets) so the leak had come from them. You will see some of the foreign tabloids point to an IPL official for the leak. The event management team at Red Chillies wouldn't dare do that," said the official.
But aren't the IPL and the event management teams closely integrated to that of KKR? "I can assure you that the leak hasn't come from us. The only other people who knew about the deal were the IPL guys. You should ask them," the official added. The damning articles, the first of which appeared on March 28, in the New York Post, criticised JLo for her 'diva demands', and quoted an official saying that her manager Benny Medina had demanded a private jet and a personal chef as part of her hospitality in Kolkata, among other things. While the demands would not seem extraordinary for an artiste of her stature, Team JLo had the article removed from the website. But by then the 'news' had gone viral. According to sources, Medina has shot off an angry mail to a member of Red Chillies Entertainment, alleging that vital and confidential information about the deal was selectively leaked out to the US media.
Some of JLo's fans have also insinuated that the bad press may be a fall-out of the singer rejecting Shah Rukh's offer at the last moment, sending him scurrying for a replacement. On his part, Medina has denied that JLo 'out priced' herself from the event, courtesy her demands. Instead, he claims she was busy recording an album, which is why she decided to turn down the offer to perform before billions of viewers. A source told TOI, "JLo is breathing fire. Her team has shot off a mail saying the details of the deal were known only to a select few officials in both teams. As it is unlikely that JLo's team would plant a story against her, the needle of suspicion is pointing towards camp Shah Rukh. JLo's team is very upset that her image has been tarnished." Medina hasn't threatened Red Chillies with a lawsuit but this could have far reaching effects for any other international star performing for SRK, according to the source.
When contacted, a source from Red Chillies admitted JLo and her team are upset with what has happened. "It is true Jennifer cancelled the gig at the last moment because she didn't like the deal. That she asked for a private chartered plane is however not true. Yes, she had asked for exclusive arrangements to be made for her nearly 44 dancers and accompanying staff, which included her entourage of around 20 people. She had asked for a personal chef, stylist, butler, security etc but these are demands that even Bollywood stars make when they perform abroad. Jennifer is extremely upset with the way things have panned out. There is an exchange of mails going on as we speak," the source said.
In reply to a query from TOI, a Red Chillies spokesperson said, "We are very excited about the opening ceremony of IPL Season 6. In the process of collaborating with different artistes to perform, from national and international platforms, we did consider Jennifer Lopez. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, it didn't work out. We hope to work with her in future. We are excited about working with Pitbull. Rapper Pitbull has been roped in to replace Jennifer Lopez for the ceremony.