An ecstatic Hema Malini has sent out huge boxes of nuts-studded laddoos with warm invitation cards for sangeet, mehndi, Iskcon wedding nuptials and a grand reception — celebrations that start from Monday and go on right through the week till Saturday night. The cards are all from Smt Hema Malini and Shri Dharmendra for their daughter Esha Deol’s marriage to businessman Bharat Takhtani.
All these years, the bride’s parents had different desires for their daughter. While Hema was wistful over Esha’s acting career which didn’t really take off, Dharam would sigh that all he wanted was to see her settle down properly with a suitable husband. But, unlike his two daughters from wife Prakash who had traditionally arranged matches, Dharam didn’t push a similar agenda on Esha.
“I can’t have an arranged marriage,” Esha had softly giggled a couple of months before her engagement. “I’m not an easy person to adjust with. Because I’ve been on my own, I’m a very independent person.”
And she was confident that dad wouldn’t try to fix her marriage the traditional way. “No, he won’t,” she’d said confidently. “He knows me too well.”
But Dharam is a contented man because all he ever wanted was to see Esha happily married. And right now mom Hema is also over the moon. A dream wedding like this, to an eligible young man, something that eluded Hema when she fell in love with her married co-star, is a magical moment for Esha’s mom. Besides, Hema has always been a positive person, the kind who’d rather bask in whatever happiness comes her way than dwell on something that was never meant to be. The sunny smiles, ecstatic shopping and elaborate arrangements (right down to small cards for security reasons and car park stickers) are today giving Hema all the joy that a huge blockbuster starring Esha would have given her a few years ago.
So, is Esha going to be content as Mrs Takhtani?
Of course, she will be happy. But she has also tasted blood after closely working with her mom on the making and marketing of Tell Me Khuda. Once she settles down in her new life, Esha will definitely be going backstage and taking an active role in making many more movies for her mother’s production company, HM Creations. So this “I do” season is not equal to pack-up time.
Among the hundreds of celebs who’ve been invited by Hema and Dharam to the celebrations, Esha will have Lara Dutta by her side for sure. Few know that after working together in a film called Kaal and then No Entry, Esha and Lara have had a close but under-the-radar friendship. When Lara wed Mahesh Bhupathi in Goa, Esha had quietly flown down for all the ceremonies. Watching Lara revel in marital bliss and then motherhood has definitely played its part in inclining Ms Deol towards walking down the aisle.
The only difference will be that Lara got married in a church while Esha will have a temple wedding. Hema has close ties with Iskcon and does a special dance programme on Janmashtami every year for Krishna bhakts. Behind every wedding card is a Radha-Krishna picture, a Hema Malini touch no doubt.
A nice cosmopolitan cocktail is being served at this big fat wedding. Esha and sis Ahana, who live with their mom, speak Tamil fluently. Their dad is a Jat while Esha will wed a Sindhi.
Speaking of Sindhis, loads of Esha’s clothes, and Hema’s and Ahana’s, are being stitched by well-known Sindhi designer Neeta Lulla. The Takhtanis will be pleased.
There is another very chuffed-up parent on the scene and that’s Prem Chopra, the gentleman villain of the 70s and 80s. Prem and Uma have three daughters, all well-settled with men related to showbiz in one way or the other. One of his daughters, Prerna, is married to actor Sharman Joshi who recently led the cast of Ferrari Ki Sawaari. It is a terribly important assignment for Sharman and he has been so well received for his performance as the indulgent and lovable Parsee father that Prem Chopra threw a party for the first time.
Prem’s best friends Jeetendra and Rishi Kapoor plus bro Randhir Kapoor partied all night while Amitabh Bachchan came in early for old time’s sake. But Salman Khan showed his respect for the older generation by coming and staying till midnight.
“I’ve almost finished shooting for Ek Tha Tiger, just a little bit left to do,” said Salman. “I’m aching all over, my legs and arms are all protesting.” A hardcore action film, Salman never really fights shy of showing that age is catching up.
After politely circulating at Prem Chopra’s party, Salman drove off with his guards that filled two four-wheel drive vehicles. So, did Salman act his age and go home to bed? No, his cars dashed across the Juhu-Tara road and zoomed into Fardeen Khan’s compound. The night was still young for Salman.
Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor, The Film Street Journal