Last week my good friend Danish Irani got married. First, let me clarify that Danish is neither a party nor a citizen of Denmark. He is, in fact, a nice young entrepreneur, who is the son of one of India’s finest actors, who in turn is not in politics.
It’s been a long time since my wife and I attended a high-profile reception. The reason for this was simple — we just hadn’t been
invited. Anyhow, since no member of this publication was invited, I was asked by the editor to cover the glitzy event. In fact, the editor’s exact words were, “Go cover it.”
After borrowing one of my mother’s saris, I decided against wearing it, and instead passed it on to my wife. My wife, the dutiful daughter-in-law that she is, ignored the sari and settled into something worn by the storm troopers in World War II, very apt, I thought, for someone attending a wedding reception.
The reception was held at Danish’s wife Rhea’s place. Now bear in mind, by Rhea’s place I don’t mean your typical two bedroom hall-kitchen that’s found all over south Mumbai. In fact, Rhea’s place is a huge 150-acre plot buried and hidden in the heart of the city. It is so large that Rhea has only seen her relatives twice. The wife and I made a grand entry, an entry one can make when you arrive in a taxi sandwiched between a 500 S Class Mercedes and a BMW 7 series. Outside the main gate thousands of people were trying to get a glimpse of the stars. Unfortunately, Amitabh Bachchan had come and gone earlier, my wife said it was probably because he knew I would be attending. Keep in mind my wife has no sense of humour whatsoever. As we entered we met a sari-clad Kiran Rao who, thinking I was a parking attendant, handed me a 10-rupee note.
I still don’t know what pained me more, her thinking that I was the parking attendant, or her tipping me only 10 rupees.
My wife and Aamir seemed to know each other because he tried his best to avoid her, but by now I had got into my stride and was acting like a member of the bridal party, by compulsorily shaking every hand. One of the hands turned out to be Shreya Ghoshal who was being chased by something in a black tuxedo called Kunal Vijayakar. This was strange because no writer till today has used the words chase and Kunal Vijayakar in the same sentence. Shankar Mahadevan, who can sing everything from raga to rock and, oddly, at the same time, was greeting Arshad Warsi warmly.
Sajid Khan with the exact same hair band that my four-year-old daughter Maya uses was playing with his nephew. Next, I dutifully stood next to Tabu and realised the nine-inch difference was the least of my problems. Up next was a meeting with my old friend Naseeruddin Shah, which would have materialised if he had actually recognised me.
As I left the venue with director Sanjay Gadhvi, I quickly realised that if we continued holding hands people would get the wrong impression.
On our way out Boman Irani and his wife Zenobia thanked us for coming and, more importantly, er… for leaving. On our way out I bumped into Dilip Kumar. No really, I physically banged into him, not perhaps the right way to introduce oneself to a living legend, but the venue was so packed by then, that familiarity had gone way beyond contempt.
As we left the starry arena the last words came from the quiz master himself, Siddarth Basu, who said, “Are you Danish Irani?” Obviously I did the right thing. I nodded sagely at him, then accepted his envelope full of cash. Taxis don’t pay for themselves,