The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Go east to catch new-year stars
- Showbiz stampede to Thai island resort to ring in 2004

Mumbai, Dec. 27: If only Atal Bihari Vajpayee had bought what he himself had sold and looked east. But the Prime Minister looked west and saw his year-end holiday vanish in a fog-wrapped Rajasthan.

Had Vajpayee stuck to his Look East policy and headed to Koh Samui, he would have come across several familiar faces there.

Koh Samui, for the uninitiated, is an island in Thailand where one just drinks a “Singha” or “Chang” and dances barefoot on the moonlit beach. This time chances are that on New Year’s eve, Shah Rukh Khan will be doing just that. He may have Hrithik Roshan for company.

For it’s that time of the year when celebrities have fled Mumbai, leaving their curt secretaries behind. This year, many of them will land in Koh Samui, 700 km south of Bangkok.

Khan will be there with wife Gauri and entourage. “He will be holidaying till January 3,” says his secretary and hangs up. Best buddy, director and producer Karan Johar and other members of “the gang” will be there to keep him company.

Hrithik and his wife will be on the same island, though it has not been announced whether they will be partying hard with the Khan group. Koh Samui will also host designer Aki Narula, the author of the risque on the Indian ramp, and Queenie and Raja Dhody, Page Three royalty.

It is not known what in Koh Samui is drawing so much showbiz talent, but the island is one of those pretty, sand-and-sea-and-coconut-tree resorts that has at least three kinds of moon parties on offer.

The full moon party, the black moon party and the half moon party. “The full moon party is usually a safe place,” says a website on Koh Samui, though advising tourists not to carry valuables, “as you can lose them or make a thief happy”.

It also cautions against drugs, “unless you like Thai prisons”. But “the black moon party is often held at ‘Secret Beach’ at Samsong Bay,” it adds.

Let’s hope out stars keep away from dark temptations.

Not Koh Samui alone -- another part of Thailand seems to have enticed another major share of Bollywood glamour. It could be the charms of the country. Or it could be the Prime Minister, who recently finished a happy tour of Thailand and South East Asia, to “Look East”. Vajpayee pushed for a much healthier relationship with Bangkok and presto — Bollywood responded.

For, with the Khans and the Roshans, the third Bollywood power axis, that of the Kapoors, is also heading towards Thailand. Kareena, Karisma and her newly-wedded husband Sanjay will spend the new year in Bangkok, unless there is a change in plan at the last moment.

The fourth and the biggest axis — the Bachchan-Ambani-Godrej — is headed for Dubai. So the Gulf city will have Jaya and Amitabh replete with son Abhishek, daughter Shweta and son-in-law Nikhil Nanda, Parmeshwar and Adi Godrej and Tina and Anil Ambani.

Vijay Mallya and his friends, Rhea Pillai, Shobha and Dilip De, however, will choose to remain native: they will be in Goa.

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