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Separation pangs for Sri

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Ever since Sri and I have been together, officially for 17 years and unofficially for a couple of years before that, we’ve never stayed away from each other for more than a maximum of two nights,” said Boney Kapoor, crossing his long legs.

We were sitting in the garden of the bungalow where his father, Surinder Kapoor, had just passed away. Even before his body could be brought down (he had a cardiac arrest in his bedroom upstairs), mourners had gathered in the hall, a portrait of the film producer who’d just breathed his last one floor above was ready, a neat refrigerated coffin was in place, flowers and garlands had been bought and bottles of mineral water were available. Boney Kapoor was always an efficient organiser and years ago we used to joke that even when he got married he’d be issuing instructions atop a horse from behind the groom’s curtain of flowers.

With three strapping sons — Boney, Anil and Sanjay — in the film industry, and each popular in his own right, the mourners who came to say farewell to Surinder Kapoor were many and varied. Sanjay Kapoor’s large gang of Karisma Kapoor, Karan Johar, Farah Khan, Chunky Panday, Arbaaz Khan (both with their respective wives and their friends including Gauri Khan) had come over immediately. Karisma had to leave early to shoot for Dangerous Ishq, the Vikram Bhatt film with which she returns to acting. Ditto for Manish Malhotra who was doing her costumes for the film and had to report for work early the next morning.

When the sea parted, the gate swung open and everybody stood to attention: in walked Saharashri Subroto Roy. As everybody knows, Boney Kapoor now heads the entire entertainment wing of Sahara, an apt man in the right chair.

Sridevi had her close friend, Rajkumar Santoshi’s wife Manila, to keep her company. Balki and his wife Gauri Shinde, the makers of Sri’s comeback film, English Vinglish, were among the first arrivals. Sri was all packed and ready to leave with them on Tuesday (27th) for a two-month long shooting stint in the US when Boney’s dad passed away unexpectedly on Saturday night.

“My father had been teasing Sri just this morning,” Boney was saying. “Ever since Sri and I have been together, she’s never ever travelled alone except maybe to Chennai. Even if I’m out of town on work, if it’s more than two nights, she joins me wherever I am. This is the first time she’s going to be travelling alone and staying away for so long. She was so nervous about it that my father was teasing her in the morning and telling her, you relax, we’ll look after your kids. From the time her work permit and visa arrived, Sri has been such a bundle of nerves,” said her fond partner and father of her two daughters.

Boney went on to reveal, “Fortunately the shooting was to start only on October 1. Sri was going there a few days later. She’ll be there in time for the shoot.”

Although he was 86 years old, there was no reason to even think that the very affable Surinder Kapoor would go away so abruptly. A couple of hours earlier, he’d even gone to Yashraj Studio to drop his wife Nirmala who was watching her granddaughter Sonam Kapoor’s film, Mausam, along with her best friend Krishna Raj Kapoor. Surinder Kapoor came home, went for a walk, returned uneasy and it was all over before his sons could reach his house.

When Shammi Kapoor’s wife Neila with her son and daughter-in-law came to condole with the family, it was particularly significant. Surinder Kapoor was at one time the secretary of Shammi Kapoor’s first wife, Geeta Bali, and very close to the entire Kapoor khandaan. Coincidentally, it was at a prayer meeting for Shammi Kapoor that I last met Surinder Kapoor.

To move to happier tidings, it’s not just Sachin Tendulkar who has shifted into a new house in an auspicious period. Farah Khan is finally moving to her swank, new three-storey apartment where Himesh Reshammiya will be one of her neighbours. It’s been a one-and-a-half year wait for her as the apartment took its own time to get ready for the family of five and a larger number of domestic staff to move in.

“We’re finally moving in on October 6, on Dussehra,” she said, as she rushed to wind up her stint as judge on Just Dance, the reality show where Hrithik Roshan partners her on the panel.

There was a news item in the dailies that the big moment on the show would be when Shah Rukh Khan and she would meet each other in front of the waiting cameras. “But I thought Shah Rukh was coming for Hrithik,” she said pertly and walked away.


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