The Telegraph
Sunday , March 7 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dress codes decoded
celebrity circus

The dress code said smart casual. But at Anil Ambani’s party, Amitabh Bachchan (who is normally just so rightly dressed) and close buddy Amar Singh chose the national dress instead. Celebrities don’t necessarily follow the stipulated dress code. Shobhaa Dé came dressed to kill, even put up her hair formally (nothing smart casual about it). Host Tina Ambani too wore her solitaires casually.

Sometimes, there is a reason for dressing differently. Once, at a sneak preview of a Karan Johar film at Film City (before Yashraj became the right spot for starry screenings), Amitabh and Abhishek had turned up in formal suits. If they stuck out in an informally clad crowd, Abhishek chose to play it like the Bachchan movements were a defence secret while Amitabh disarmingly explained that they were coming directly from dress designer Anna Singh’s wedding reception.

Sometime before Maanyata came out of hiding, Sanjay Dutt had attended close friend Kishore Bajaj’s formal, western-wear evening in Sobo (south Bombay, somehow Somu for south Mumbai doesn’t sound right), where a new store for stylish suits was being opened. Sanju stuck to the dress code and turned up nattily attired in a suit and tie, although Maanyata who was quietly tucked away in an inside corner wore Indian. But the one who took the cake, got all the flash bulbs and not even one raised eyebrow, was Salman Khan who strolled in late, in his blue jeans and tee. Dress code? That’s for the minions, not for celebrities.

The one who always gets it right is Karan Johar who really has a way with clothes. Perhaps he is SRK’s free wardrobe consultant because he too is most times appropriately attired for the occasion. Shah Rukh Khan’s appearance at Anil and Tina’s party showed just how shrewd he really is for he is known to be a Mukesh-Nita man. His children go to Nita’s Dhirubhai Ambani International School and when Mukesh-Nita threw a party two months ago, he was there, of course. Unlike the Bachchans who’ve openly sided with Anil in the Ambani brothers’ battle, stars like Shah Rukh keep all sides happy.

And now that we’ve mentioned Mukesh-Nita’s party, you know why younger sibling Anil had to throw one too.

Vidya Balan, who was at the older Ambani’s party, couldn’t make it to Anil and Tina’s do. Basking in the glory of bagging all the major Best Actress trophies this year, she is parked in Delhi for a new film. Hope she shops there for a new wardrobe too. She must’ve made dozens of the same uniform — a Sabyasachi sari worn with a long-sleeved blouse, topped most times with something resembling a jogan mala — which she has worn to every awards function this year. Time to change, dearie.

Amisha Patel has invested in a whole new collection of expensive formal dresses with only one stipulation: every one of them must have a plunging neckline. At one time, when she did Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Amisha would religiously wear coy churidar-kurtas with big hoops in her ears to carry on the traditional Punjabi kudi role she played in the film. Her low-cut clothes today work to get photographers into a frenzy but the real reason, to catch the eye of prominent filmmakers, is falling flat since she hasn’t signed a single new film worth mentioning.

By the way, why is Amisha wary of flaunting her friendship with socialite Sheetal Mafatlal who was accused by the customs sometime back of walking through the green channel without declaring Rs 50 lakh worth of jewellery? After a Farah Khan function, Amisha sped away alone in her chauffeur-driven car while Sheetal went in hers. Once they were out of sight of the five-star hotel where the party was held, just before the road joined the highway, Amisha stopped her car, as did Sheetal. It was quite a lonely stretch of road and nobody (but me who was passing by) saw Amisha quickly get out of her car and slip into Sheetal’s, before the two Sobo girls drove away together.

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