By Subhash K Jha
Having attended her kid-brother’s graduation in culinary arts in Zurich, at precisely 1.30 am on Friday-Saturday morning Priyanka Chopra flew straight from the airport to the Taj Lands End, the venue for Karan Johar’s extravagantly-discussed birthday extravaganza. She was one of the last guests to arrive and one of the last to leave.
Having landed hours ago Priyanka displayed no sign of jetlag or fatigue.
Says a very khaas mehmaan at the Johar jamboree, “In fact Priyanka was in specially high spirits that evening. Looking radiant, animated and chattering nineteen-to-the-dozen, Priyanka looked triumphant, and why not? She had been put back on Johar’s guest list after being knocked off. ”
Throughout the evening Priaynka was seen talking and whispering into Johar’s ears but discreetly avoiding contact—eye or otherwise—with Johar’s best friend Shah Rukh Khan.
It was a mixed triumph for Priyanka. As she was allowed into the coveted party only after Mrs Shah Rukh Khan, Gauri, granted permission.
The imposing Mrs Khan has laid down certain ground rules for her husband vis-à-vis Ms Chopra: no films together and no hobnobbing socially beyond niceties.
Incidentally Mrs Khan had laid down similar rules for her husband vis-à-vis Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukherjee. But that’s another story.
Meanwhile back at the most hotly-discussed party of the millennium, it was a formal affair with elaborate arrangements.
Says one of the top actresses who attended, “It was a sit-in dinner with loads of Punjabi khana. Because that’s what KJO loves. The glamorous décor was stylishly designed by Manish Malhotra. It was good to see the stars dressed in formals rather than the tee-shirts some of them wear even to formal events. ”
Most of Karan Johar’s friends from the film industry (which means nearly everyone) turned up. Conspicuous by their absence were Salman Khan and Johar’s Chikni chameli Katrina Kaif, both of whom are currently shooting in Bangkok.
Unlike Sanjay Dutt who left his shooting in Jodhpur for Soham Shah’s Sher for an evening to be in Mumbai for his new pal KJO’s ‘Happy Burday’ Katrina and Salman gave the event a skip for different seasons.
Salman, a source close to him informs, gave in to KJO’s persuasive powers and said yes to the invitation in spite of knowing ‘HE’ (read: SRK) would be there. But then friends advised Salman against providing titillating fodder for the shutterbugs.
Also a co-star whom Salman trusts blindly reminded him what had transpired at another birthday bash in 2008 (Katrina’s) where Salman and SRK nearly came to blows. That clinched the matter. No Salman ar the Johar bash.
As for Katrina she was advised to fly down for Karan’s sake. Those close to her said it would be good PR. But then a member of her staff made the mistake of pointing out to Katrina that flying down for the event was imperative since Priyanka Chopra too was doing the same.
That did it.
Says a friend of Katrina, “Never tell Kat to do something just because someone else is doing the same.
Kat loves KJO and recently did the Chikni chameli song for him free of cost. It’s another matter that KJO didn’t gift her the promised Ferrari. Or that she is yet to sign on a full-fledged heroine’s role in Dharma.
Katrina would have still flown down from Bagkok. But when she heard Priyanka was flying straight in from Zurich Kat decided not to. It would make her seem like she was vying for space in the Dharma scheme of things. ”
Not that Salman or Katrina were missed. There was plenty of excitement on the guest list. Vidya Balan (trying hard to convince everyone around that she hadn’t heard any negative comments on her lavni item song in Ferrari Ki Sawari)and boyfriend Siddharth Roy Kapoor made their first together appearance at a filmy do.
Says a guest at KJO’s bash, “The couple made no attempt to hide their feelings. Kapoor looked after Vidya like a good husband and even fed her from his plate. ”
Incidentally Mr Kapoor is keen to tie the knot immediately. But Ms Balan’s spiralling boxoffice fortunes are proving the villain.
Other guests at the star-studded party were Tabu and Urmila Matondkar (talking animatedly maybe about spinsterhood), Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Shahid Kapoor, Bipasha Basu (no, the last two-named were not together), Anushka Sharma, Arjun Kapoor, Kangna Ranaut, Boman Irani, Kangna Ranaut, Yash Chopra, Ashutosh Gowariker, Rahul Bose, Ronit Roy, Uday Chopra.
Jaya Bachchan arrived solo. And, Rekha didn’t show up to do another Silsila for the paparazzi outside parliament. Johar’s ‘Amit Uncle’ Mr Bachchan and Abhishek are abroad for the former’s treatment.
Says an appreciative guest, “There were no glitches, no stress. No one misbehaved or got drunk. It was wonderfully organized. There was a sitdown dining area and the food was served with warmth and for a change we all actually ate at a party.
KJO had asked everyone not to reach his party after dinner And there was a separate room for desserts. It was all very stylish. We left by 1. 30 am. But the party went on till 4 am. ”