Rediff logo Navigator Movies
Information Entertainment Online

It happened one night....

Suparn Verma in Bombay

February 16 marked a milestone in the history of Hindi cinema.

Karishma dances at the baraat Not for any record-busting film release, or stunning debut, or indeed any onscreen event worth a mention. But because on that day, two of the biggest families in Hindi filmdom came together in the bounds of matrimony.

Ritu and Natasha Nanda We refer, obviously, to the marriage of Shweta, only daughter of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, with Nikhil, son of Ritu and Rajan Nanda and grandson of the legendary Raj Kapoor.

The Bachchan home Prateeksha -- a landmark even in the Juhu Vile Parle Scheme area where there are more stars to the square mile than there are in heaven -- was decked up for the occasion. And the first step in the preparations was to raise the high walls even higher, and thus shut out the star-gazing public completely.

Rishi Kapoor The proper festivities began on the 14th , when the two families and their friends, numbering over 200, assembled at Prateeksha for the Sangeet. A yellow and gold theme for the interior decor, and a carpet of mogra and marigold flowers, were the highlights of the arrangements, while the buffet dinner featured the best Thai food to be had in Bombay.

The big tree that dominates the Bachchan lawn was meanwhile covered with a mosaic of glass, while the entrance of the house, as also the outside walls, were covered with mirrors to give the setting a surreal appearance.

Rajesh Khanna Pop star Daler Mehendi held the stage with his bhangra numbers, and during a break in his performance, the bride's brother Abhishek took over the entertainment, with help from sister Shweta, as also Nikhil, Natasha Nanda and Karishma Kapoor, the groom's sister and cousin respectively.

But even for that crowd -- the elite of showbiz -- Amitabh remained the ultimate crowd-puller. And the greatest applause was thus reserved for the superstar himself, when he sang the old hit Ao Bachon tumhe sikhayen kahani Hindustani kihowever changing Hindustan to Nandistan and taking a friendly dig at the Nanda clan.

Randhir Kapoor The next day provided more festivities, with Randhir Kapoor celebrating his 50th birthday. Krishna Raj Kapoor , the matriarch of the clan, hosted the party at the Kapoor home on the RK studios and again, the Bachchan and Kapoor clans gathered for the festivities.

Came the 16th, and the mahurat for the wedding was set at 9 pm. The Baraat set off from the suburban Leela Kempinski hotel two hours before the auspicious time, with the groom riding on horseback part of the way before transferring to a luxury limo.

The groom got back on horseback just before the venue, and with his escort -- the galaxy of Bollywood's rich and famous -- trailing him on foot, reached the home of the bride to the accompaniment of a spectacular fireworks display.

For the wedding, the decor was dominated by red and gold, with roses replacing the marigolds of the Sangeet ceremony. Bride Shweta was carried to the platform on a wooden stool, while Abhishek carried the groom on a wooden stool.

Raj Thackeray The hour-long ceremony had four priests officiating, while guests were seated at tables placed to provide everyone a clear view.

Once the serious business was over, Abhishek took over, getting the guests out on the dance floor and boogeying to a hit parade of Hindi film tunes. In due course, the bride and groom were also teased into joining the celebrants -- and the proverbial good time was had by all.

Vinod Khanna And throughout it all, a huge crowd of hangers on hung around on the roads outside the Bachchan bungalow. Unable to get a peek at the wedding of the year, the fans had still turned out in strength, if only to bask in their nearness to the ceremony that unified the two most prominent of film families in India.

Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar


E-mail Tell us what you think of the article

Home | News | Business | Sport | Movies | Chat | Travel
Planet X | Freedom | Computers

Copyright 1996 Rediff On The Net
All rights reserved