The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Reel to real love, generation later

London, May 5: Feroze Khan and Mumtaz, screen lovers of yesteryear, saw Fardeen Khan, the Bollywood actor, and Natasha Madhvani, their son and daughter, respectively, get engaged at an elegant ring ceremony in London today watched by close family and friends.

'Never in my wildest dreams did I think such a miracle would happen,' an emotional Feroze told The Telegraph.

Natasha, who comes from the well-known Madhvani business family which made its fortune in Uganda, lives in London with her parents, Mayur and Mumtaz.

'I feel very happy and comfortable,' she said, looking glamorous in her figure-hugging, shimmering white outfit. 'I have known Fardeen all my life, in fact, since I was a baby.'

The date for the wedding has been tentatively fixed for December 13 in Mumbai where the couple will live after they are married.

Most of media was kept out of what was considered a 'private occasion'. Friends present included Hrithik Roshan, his hair floppy and fashionably long, and his wife, Suzanne.

Among those who could not attend but telephoned to offer their congratulations was Shahrukh Khan.

Both families had wanted the engagement to be held in London and the ceremony took place at the Hempel, an upmarket hotel in Bayswater.

Feroze and Mumtaz gave each other a friendly hug and recalled the films they had made together.

'Mostly, the on-screen relationship culminated in love but it ended in marriage in Apradh, the first film I directed and produced,' recalled Feroze.

He risked a little joke: 'You can either be happy or married but Fardeen and Natasha will be both.'

The room was full of sleek and beautiful women, including some who said they had Persian blood.

Mumtaz said she entered films at 12 and quit at 26, recalling the films in which she was Ferozeís leading lady. 'I still keep getting offers,' she added.

Fardeenís parents, Feroze and Sundri, and Natashaís, Mayur and Mumtaz, have been friends from even before the children were born.

Mumtaz said: 'I feel very happy and also a little sad my daughter is going away but I donít feel I am losing her because their home has been like her own home. I know them so well, what they like, what they eat. Fardeen and Natasha know each other so well.'

The date May 5, 2005, is apparently very auspicious.

In his speech, welcoming Fardeen into the family, his father-in-law-to-be revealed Feroze had told him that the number '050505' and that, too, a Thursday, 'would not occur again for another 10,000 years'.

Natasha said she had grown up till she was nine in Africa. 'Then I came to boarding school in England, first to Sibton School, Kent, then Westonbirth in Gloucestershire. Then I did BA (Hons) in international business at the Regentís Business School in London, then I went to New York to study and came back to do my Masters in London at the Regentís Business School.'

Perhaps this was her way of indicating she was not just a pretty face, though to be fair she does have a pretty face. 'I look after the familyís property business in America and Britain,' she added.

The respective fathers did their 'Iíve gained a son' and 'Iíve gained a daughter' bits but it was revealed Fardeen took his father into his confidence and told him he had fallen in love with Natasha. Feroze said he was always the last to know such things in the family.

His son also revealed that he had proposed to Natasha on a transatlantic flight between the UK and the US.

Feroze, who disclosed he had dropped out of Bishop Cotton School at Bangalore at 15, said: 'I told Fardeen I may leave him nothing. My legacy to him has been to give him a good education so I sent him to university in Massachusetts. He and I are friends.'

He had never hit his son unlike his father who had shown his love for Feroze by occasionally thrashing him.

Feroze said that had a script with such a circular love story been offered for one of his movies, 'I would have turned it down as too fanciful. I now read a lot of books on philosophy. The answer to lifeís riddles lies in philosophy.'

Fardeen gave his father a kiss.

The star of such contemporary films as Prem Agan, Dev, Khushi, Fida and Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, held his fianc'e in his arms, thanked everyone including 'Aunty Mumtaz', though he recognised 'aunty' would now give way to mother.

He, too, said: 'I have known Natasha all my life.'

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