Calcutta, Nov. 20: The venue was neither a 17th-century Parisian chateau nor a palace in Versailles, but 24 Alipore Road. There was no Aishwarya Rai or Kylie Minogue, but Shilpa Shetty and Kumar Sanu. Yet, the Mittal mahabhoj turned out to be as glitzy as it gets.
Five months after his daughter's marriage, and a month after he grabbed the crown of the world's largest steelmaker, Lakshmi Mittal zipped into the Alipore address of his father, Mohan Lal Mittal, in a white Mercedes, accompanied by bride Vanisha and groom Amit Bhatia, late this evening.
Kumar Sanu was belting out 'sanson ki zaroorat hai jaise', Bill Marchetti and his team from ITC Welcomgroup were ensuring that the wine had begun to flow freely among the 250-odd invitees to the event of the season. Those inside were all smiles, those denied access were left sulking.
'This is Vanisha's first homecoming after marriage. My three sons and two daughters have all been brought up in Calcutta and so no family function is complete without celebrating it here,' Mohan Lal Mittal told the guests, including Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, B.M. Khaitan, Jagmohan Dalmiya, Y.C. Deveshwar and R.S. Lodha, welcoming them to the 'private function' to 'bless' his granddaughter and her husband.
But this set the tone not for a small family affair but for a 100-minute Bollywood-style bash. The theme d'cor was the only thing muted about the proceedings ' a fairytale stage created in linen with mild colours on the manicured lawns and decked up with flowers from Holland.
As big cars rolled in from 7.45 pm, with the rich and the famous, the diamonds shone bright ' none brighter than the ones adorning the daughter of the world's richest Indian ' and the stage was set for some high-octane filmi entertainment.
'They want new Hindi film songs,' said playback singer Shreya Ghoshal, lining up a modern hit parade from Dhoom to Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Devdas to Main Hoon Na. 'Dada (Kumar Sanu) and I will be singing some old Kishore-Asha duets, too,' she added.
The big draw, of course, was Shilpa, ready to rock to 10 numbers, mostly remixes.
The one thing competing with Bollywood was the cuisine ' pure vegetarian, and as varied as possible, from Indian to Italian. 'The spread is huge, and we from the ITC Hotels are doing Italian, Lebanese and Thai delicacies, along with the salads,' said Marchetti, leading the pack of five celebrity chefs parked at the venue for the evening.
Several ingredients were flown in from Thailand and Singapore.
Closer home, Munna Maharaj served up the Indian dishes. 'The menu was decided after discussion with the family. They wanted to keep it simple (roti, sabzi, chaat and mithai) and give the ghar ka khana feel,' said the catering king who had taken a full team for the Mittal's French fiesta in summer.
The dessert counters were manned by Kookie Jar, whipping up Hot Blueberry Pie with homemade French Vanilla ice-cream and Hot Chocolate Souffle with Capuccino Crunch ice-cream. Topping it up was a special birthday cake -- a stage with a dancing girl against the backdrop of Eiffel Tower ' for Lakshmi Mittal's daughter-in-law Megha.