By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Most of the lovely ladies who worked with Yash Chopra and Yashraj Films, including the elusive Sadhana, showed up for the doyen’s swan song.
Only Kajol , the heroine who worked in Yashraj’s most successful film to date Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, didn’t show up, leading to muted whispers across the huge august gathering that evening to pay homage to a man who wrote and rewrote many a celluloid romance.
While a leading man very close to Yashraj says Kajol was not invited for the premiere at all (in keeping with the box-office feud that her husband Ajay Devgn had precipitated), a leading lady close to Aditya Chopra and his banner vehemently protests in Aditya Chopra’s defence.
“Kajol was most certainly invited. And I believe she had every intention of coming. There was no pressure from her husband Ajay Devgn not to attend the premiere. However, Adi being one of her closest friends, didn’t pressurize Kajol to attend the premiere. From what I know Adi left the option to attend or not to attend entirely with Kajol. She finally decided to give it a skip because she wanted to avoid unnecessary controversies. Also, all said and done, her loyalty is with her husband and his film.”
Kajol’s absence at the premiere was palpable. In his beloved father’s absence it was presumed by all the distinguished invitees that Aditya Chopra would play the host of the evening along with the rest of the Chopra family.
Aditya Chopra maintainted a very low profile throughout the evening.
Even later at the after-party that was held after the premiere on another floor of the Yashraj Studios, Aditya Chopra made just a fleeting appearance and then vanished.
However the evening went off like a charm. The theatre for the screening was constructed like an opera theatre with layered acoustics and a décor that nudged the finest opera theatres in Paris. Guests were seated in two areas. One on a slightly higher level where actors and filmmakers closely associated with Yash Raj sat including of course the Bachchan family. Curiously, Ashutosh Gowariker and R. Balki – who have never been associated with Yashraj – were also seated in the “family area”.
Lower down outside the “family area” one could see Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan who have worked in Yashraj’s Mujhse Dosti Karogi and Fanaa.
Says an invitee, “These are minor issues. The arrangement was impeccable. Pam Aunty greeted each and every guest personally. And it was wonderful to see heroines closely associated with the banner, including Sadhana and Saira Banu, present to pay a final homage to Yashji. Some of us wept openly when with the end-credits shots of Yashji shooting Jab Tak Hai Jaan came on.”
READ ALSO: Jab Tak Hai Jaan beats Son of Sardaar