Bollywood that has earned itself a reputation for being difficult, turning up late, and often sulking at triumphs of colleagues if they have been given a miss, surprised, and impressed all concerned when invitees turned up in full strength to applaud each other. Guests from sectors outside of the film industry were shocked to learn that there was no backstage drama — after all, they are used to reading stories about an actor or an actress throwing a tantrum at not being pencilled in for a particular honour. But this once, when we aimed to celebrate a glorious century of Indian cinema, the film industry outdid itself .
That seniors such as Big B, Gulzar sa’ab, Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan, Ramesh Sippy, Amol Palekar, Javed Akhtar, Prem Chopra, Govind Nihalani, Shatrughan and Punam Sinha, Padmini Kolhapure, Seema Deo, Kiran Shantaram, Rekha led firmly by example, only helped. Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Madhur Bhandarkar, Riteish and Genelia D’Souza Deshmukh, Sonali and Goldie Behl, Gauri Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Milan Luthria, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Shruti Haasan, Divya Dutta, Nikhil Dwivedi, Rohit Roy, Anurag Basu, Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala, Sudhir Mishra, Sonu Sood, Mughda Godse, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Tanuj Garg and Vikram Malhotra made for the most amazing guests, considerate and kind to everyone around. A special hurrah for the talented newcomers-Arjun Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Kayoze Irani, Parineeti Chopra who came in just because they were over the moon about having been nominated. All of them cheered for each other and displayed great camaraderie.
On stage, our performers —Ranbir and Neetu Kapoor who left us spellbound with their impeccable tribute to the Kapoors, Priyanka Chopra her usual gutsy self descending on the audience from high above for her act, the spunky Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan and John Abraham with the Shootout At Wadala team were, to use a Bollywood cliché, ‘thoroughly professional’. Given their fuss-free ways during rehearsals and the event, it was hardly any surprise that they endeared themselves to everyone around.
Shah Rukh Khan, our anchor-in-chief as usual, charmed with his generous wit while Karan Johar was a pleasant surprise, what with Dabangg 2 moves, that had everyone sit up and take note. Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone and Vidya Balan added chutzpah to the proceedings by agreeing to make guest appearances with much aplomb.
All good things come to an end as must the excitement of the extravaganza gone by but before I sign off, I must absolutely thank my entire team and Ila Pandit in particular for their untiring effort in making the event bigger and better this year.
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