The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 27 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Ash’s exes trend on Twitter

MS Dhoni and Salman Khan at the swearing-in on Monday. Pictures by Rajesh Kumar

New Delhi, May 26: Narendra Modi’s swearing-in had a side story few Bollywood watchers would have missed — Salman Khan and Viveik Oberoi were at the same place, at the same time.

Since they fell out over Aishwarya Rai, who dated Viveik after breaking up with Salman, the two are rarely seen attending the same event. They had an ugly spat after Viveik publicly accused Salman of making abusive calls and threatening him with dire consequences.

Aishwarya went on to marry Abhishek Bachchan but Salman has never reciprocated Viveik’s attempts at making peace.

Today, Viveik, who has been vocal in his support for Modi, seemed to care little about the presence of his bÍte noire. Sporting a large lotus badge, he grinned from ear to ear as he greeted other guests.

On the flight from Mumbai, he had tweeted: “On my way to delhi! Atmosphere even in the aircraft is electric! Everyone is buzzing about the swearing in! I feel honoured and privileged to be invited to witness history in the making! Today will be a golden day to remember!”

It might have helped that he didn’t encounter Salman at the event — the two were seated far apart.

Salman came with his father Salim Khan, who had in the run-up to the elections launched Modi’s website from his Bandra home. The actor, who had flown kites with Modi in Ahmedabad before the release of his film Jai ho but had stopped short of endorsing him for Prime Minister, was seen exchanging pleasantries with others from Bollywood — Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher and Madhur Bhandarkar.

The Salman-Viveik appearance was trending on Twitter within minutes of the ceremony opening. Twitterati was abuzz with jokes on how the two divided by Aishwarya had been united by Modi.

Aishwarya’s father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan was also an invitee, but he chose to stay away. When Amitabh had agreed to become Gujarat’s brand ambassador on Modi’s request, Salim Khan had condemned. Today, Salim had crossed sides. Bachchan was busy shooting.

Sunil Gavaskar and Salman Khan exchange pleasantries on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Picture by Rajesh Kumar

Rajinikanth and Lata Mangeshkar were other BJP invitees who skipped the ceremony. The superstar possibly did not want to be seen at a gathering where Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presence had become a sore point with Tamils. Lata cited ill-health.

But the celebrity line-up was strong nonetheless, led by Hema and including Paresh Rawal, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Kirron Kher, Manoj Tewari, Bappi Lahiri and Smriti Irani, all of whom attended in their capacity as MPs. Poonam Dhillon, who had campaigned for the party, was there as well. Lyricist Javed Akhtar, who has often condemned Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots, was present as Rajya Sabha MP.

M.S. Dhoni and Sunil Gavaskar put in an appearance too, not a surprise considering Arun Jaitley is part of the BCCI and Modi heads the Gujarat Cricket Association.

But Sachin Tendulkar, an automatic invitee as an MP, wasn’t spotted. Neither were Rekha and Jaya Bachchan, who too, are members of the Rajya Sabha.