Vin Diesel welcomed in India with 'desi' fanfare

Mumbai, Jan 12 (IANS) A rousing reception with traditional 'dhol', 'tutari' and 'tilak' was accorded to Hollywood star Vin Diesel, who landed here on Thursday morning on a two-day promotional tour of his forthcoming release "xXx: Return of Xander Cage". On his maiden trip to India, Diesel says his dream to explore the country has come true.

The American actor was accompanied by his "xXx..." co-star and Indian actress Deepika Padukone and director D.J. Caruso.

"So honoured to be here in India for the first time. The xXx Global tour has been great and now I and Deepika Padukone are going to share this film with her country today. As a child, I always dreamed of visiting India... Thank you Paramount for making this dream come true. Xander," Diesel posted on Instagram.

Mumbai rolled out the red carpet with a Maharashtrian style welcome, complete with an 'aarti' and 'tilak'.

They arrived to a 'desi' fanfare of biker women dressed in red nauvaris (nine-yard saris) and yellow turbans, even as men played the Nashik 'dhol' (big drum) and trumpet-like curved folk instrument 'tutari'. Diesel looked excited as he waved out to the media and to the crowd there with much gusto.

"The greatest welcome ever! 'xXx India Premiere. Wow and a blessing to go with it," Caruso tweeted on Thursday. 

Dressed in white jeans, a black T-shirt and a pair of shades, he walked out of the airport here hand-in-hand with Deepika, who sported an all-black look complete with black stilettos.

They smiled for cameras and looked around at the mania which made up for the grand reception they received here with the 'band and baaja'. The three celebrities happily posed away for the shutterbugs. They kept waving and showing the thumbs up sign as the cameras went clickety click.

The traditionally clad entourage stylishly atop their Royal Enfields then led the stars to the hotel they are staying in, in a western suburb of Mumbai.

For Caruso, the mania was overwhelming. He also shared on Twitter an image featuring an enthusiastic cameraman who is seen trying to capture Deepika and Diesel from his bike.

"Deepika Padukone and Vin Diesel chased by photographers on streets of Mumbai. I am in car behind them," Caruso tweeted.

The itinerary for Diesel's day one in India was all about fan meets, a press conference and a red carpet premiere for "xXx...", which is releasing in India on Friday -- before anywhere else in the world.

Everything around the trip has been planned in a way to give Diesel a "splendid taste of India", sources told IANS.

The actors, along with other members of the film's cast and crew, have been on an extensive worldwide promotional spree to promote the film. They visited London and Mexico before coming to India.

The movie is a new instalment in the "xXx" series after the 2002 film "xXx" and the 2005 entertainer "xXx: State of the Union". It also stars Ruby Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa.