By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Aamir Khan’s Diwali party started at 10 pm on Tuesday night and finally ended at 11 am the next morning.
Undoubtedly, the longest Bollywood Diwali party in the hoary history of the festival of lights, without the camera but plenty of action!
The guest list was expectedly impressive. Among the huge crowds of friends family and colleagues who showed up at Aamir’s Pali Hill residence there were Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowariker and wife Sunita, Raj Kumar Hirani, Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapoor (of UTV), Uday Shankar (of Star Plus), Riteishh Desmukh, Sharman Joshi, Farhan & Zoya Akhtar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and wife Bharati. Some of Aamir’s guests spent the early part of the evening at the Bachchans’ Diwali party and then hopped over to Aamir’s to really let their hair down.
First-timers this year at Aamir’s annual Diwali party were Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma (both girl-bonding big-time throughout the party) and Ranbir Kapoor who came in solo. Incidentally, Ranbir was missing from the impressively-attended Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ) premiere the previous night (although he was an integral part of 2 Yashraj films and although his parents have a role in JTHJ).
At Aamir’s, Ranbir was seen hanging around with Imran Khan and his wife Avantika most of the time, while Salman was in his element. He hung around mainly with Aamir and left earlier than the other guests.
No doubt the biggest star-attraction of Aamir’s Diwali bash was his son. Little Azad was in his element.
According to one of the guests, “Azad is a natural-born scene-stealer. He is a replica of his father in his looks. He slept until 11 pm and was then brought into the party where he had himself a ball. It was his first Diwali but he hung around like a veteran of many Diwalis, enjoying every bit of the fireworks and the attention.”
It was touching to see little Azad’s bonding with his half-brother Junaid and half-sister Ira.
Says a guest, “Azad was completely comfortable with Junaid and Ira. I personally saw all three siblings spending time together at the party. Kiran (Mrs Aamir Khan) too was bonding during the party with Junaid and Ira. But we didn’t see Reena (Aamir’s first wife). Maybe she was inside, away from the party. But Aamir’s brother Faisal and his wife were there, and very much part of the family celebrations.”
Besides the film fraternity, Aamir had invited all his school and college friends. He made sure to give equal attention to both his filmy and non-filmy friends.
Says a guest, “Aamir’s friends go back a long way before he became an actor. His non-filmy friends were at the party. It’s amazing how well he managed to apportion his attention among all his guests.Aamir looked after every guest at the party. He asked about their food and drinks. There was an all-night long spread of Italian,Chinese, continental and Mughlai food all through the night. The guests could eat whatever they felt like whenever they felt like it.”
There were the cards-sessions all night long. But no money was used to play taash.
“We played cards without money-stakes.Aamir is against gambling even at Diwali,” informs a guest.
By now Aamir Khan’s compulsive desire to be an ideal citizen is well-known. He proved it once again this Diwali when after his all-night party at his residence in Pali Hill, guests were provided by in-house drivers to avoid drunken driving
One of the prominent guests who reveled the whole night and was too tipsy to be at the wheels said appreciatively, “That’s Aamir for you. He thinks of every aspect of every situation. If he hosts a party every detail is looked into by him personally.Yes, he had lined up a fleet of drivers to take to the wheels of his Diwali invitees’ cars in case they were in too drunk to take to the wheels. When the guests were ready to leave in the morning Aamir did an impromptu breath-test. Those of us who smelt of alcohol were forbidden from driving.We were provided drivers to do the needful.”