Why is Neil Nitin Mukesh not going to Cannes?

Instead of shining on the red carpet at the prestigious gala, Neil has decided to stay in Mumbai to shoot for his next film. But is that true, or is there more to the story than he is telling us?

If Neil Nitin Mukesh – who has had five flops in a row – getting that prized invitation to the 66th Cannes International Film Festival 2013 was not shocking enough, here is news that beats anything on the most-bizarre list.

Initially the 31-year-old actor was excited about promoting his new film, the Susi Ganesh-directed Shortcut Romeo. In fact, a special screening of the movie is being held at Cannes this year and the lead cast – Puja Gupta, Ameesha Patel and Neil himself – was more than thrilled to have a share of 15 seconds of fame in the media glare at the glamorous event. But now we hear that Neil has decided to skip his trip to the Riviera. And this ‘sacrifice’ of his is certainly questionable. What exactly is holding Neil back from walking the red carpet, we wonder! Especially since we get hourly updates on Ms Patel swanning it at the do that will, we all know, be dominated by the three queens with desi connections, Sonam Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Frieda Pinto.

Much to our surprise, Neil maintains that he is busy shooting for his next project (Dussehra), which has to be completed asap. Now this excuse sounds as bland and contrived as it can get. Everyone knows that Neil doesn’t have that many great offers on his career platter; he is not working on any reality show at the moment either. And Cannes is an event that can only add value to any filmi portfolio. So in this scenario, he can easily afford to take a couple of days off to promote Shortcut Romeo in France.

But the reality is – and our secret khabroo chirped about this to us – that the lad is jittery about going to Cannes. Perhaps because he may not get the same attention (read: bhaav) as the other B-town stars who will capture the limelight with their guaranteed star power. Plus, the burden of a string of innumerable flops is too heavy to carry along to the prestigious do, wethinks. And, of course, Neil is not particularly happy with the idea of being photographed flanked by not so successful bimbettes like Pooja and Ameesha. Staying home then obviously becomes the most intelligent choice – why face that barrage of smirks from the more brightly shining glitterati at Cannes, and the eagerly watching media in desi-land….right, folks