The Telegraph
Sunday , February 13 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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The big party
celebrity circus

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — if anyone can bring the two warring Khans, Salman and Shah Rukh, together again, it will be the third one in the pack, Aamir Khan. Aamir is not only in a position of power today but is also close to both the Khans. The only other seniors who can pull it off are perhaps Amitabh Bachchan and Yash Chopra, but neither of them is really close to Salman Khan. So that leaves us with only Aamir who has the power and the bonding to get Salman and Shah Rukh to kiss and make up. There is a whisper that bringing about a rapprochement between the two stubborn Khans is very much on Aamir’s agenda. There’s even a buzz that Aamir, who has mastered marketing skills, would ideally like to bring together Salman and Shah Rukh Khan for a film which he himself will produce. All three Khans together — what a feat that will be! Given the right script, only Aamir can pull it off today with either Raju Hirani or Aamir himself helming the ambitious project.

Much has been made about Aamir Khan’s party on February 5 which was a true show of strength as it drew every conceivable name in the film industry, topped with Mukesh and Nita Ambani. There was much ado over Salman Khan entering with brother Sohail before midnight, while Shah Rukh came in practically with the milkman at 3 am. But what many didn’t report was that Aamir had, as always, taken care of every little detail. If he had invited today’s superstars (Hrithik included), he also invited co-stars of yore like Madhuri Dixit (who came with her father-in-law) and Juhi Chawla (with husband Jai Mehta who is gearing up for IPL 4), plus fading leading ladies like Amisha Patel and obscure names like Gracy Singh who came in almost unnoticed.

If Aamir had Preity Zinta and Kareena Kapoor arriving with Karan Johar and Manish Malhotra, he also had Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar partying with him. Aamir made it a point to be on his toes, personally escorting the three seniors into the sprawling garden venue where he put them all at one table. The one actor who preferred to be reverentially present at that table all evening was Jackie Shroff. Jackie doesn’t talk much but he listens and absorbs all the time, the evening with Dilip, Dev and Shammi turning out to be specially enriching for him. Aamir’s guest list thus spanned several generations with Rishi Kapoor and Ranbir arriving separately but ensuring that they came and stayed for a while.

By the way, Ranbir Kapoor has, ahem, got himself the same PR outfit as Katrina Kaif. So now they can issue joint statements. And Abhishek Bachchan seems to have heeded Ajay Devgn’s advice (on Koffee With Karan) by hiring a PR agent for himself. But Abhishek will also have to learn to shed all those massive inhibitions if he wants to get his PR right. Keeping it ultra professional, Amitabh, Aishwarya and Abhishek now have three different PROs while Jaya Bachchan doesn’t need any.

Kareena Kapoor came to Aamir’s party with her pals because Saif Ali Khan was shooting in Bhopal for Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan.

Aamir had handled the security arrangements with his usual perfection to ensure that there were no gatecrashers and that it was an exclusive, high-end party that could be enjoyed by every guest. If Aamir caringly looked after Dilip, Dev and Shammi and stayed with them until he had escorted each of them to their cars, he also made it a point to apologise to other guests that he couldn’t be with them personally because he was busy with the seniors. Busy, yes, but also observant, for sure. Two days later, Aamir’s polite thank you SMS (sent just before he flew to the Berlinale to be a jury member) had a personal note for every guest. To me he wrote, “Was watching how all the seniors met you with so much warmth. Speaks a lot. Warm regards.” He obviously doesn’t miss much which is perhaps why Aamir makes such a good director.

An amusing aside at Aamir’s party: politician Raj Thackeray touching Dev Anand’s feet as soon as the senior actor was introduced to him.

February 5 was a busy evening for the film industry. Apart from the party hosted by Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan as their marriage reception for nephew Imran Khan and Avantika Malik, Sholay maker Ramesh Sippy celebrated 20 years of his marriage to actress Kiran Joneja. Several guests, including Suniel Shetty, Vidya Balan, Yash Chopra, Manmohan Shetty and Ramesh Sippy’s own son Rohan (from his first marriage), were seen at both parties. A word here about the way families are handling divorces and second marriages. Just as Aamir Khan’s children party with him and Kiran Rao, Rohan Sippy merrily joined in his father’s celebrations with Kiran. Gives a whole new colour to the old concept of the wicked stepmom.

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