â€œIf you didnâ€™t know there was a problem between the brothers, you wouldnâ€™t have sensed anything amiss,â€™â€™ said an invitee to the party hosted by Mukesh and Anil Ambani and their two sisters on Tuesday evening to celebrate their mother Kokilabenâ€™s 75th birthday at their Sea Wind residence.
Anil Ambani is reported to have been at hand to welcome the stream of roughly 200 guests as they entered the building while estranged elder brother Mukesh received them upstairs. The evening began with a fashion show by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. â€œThe show was on a lower floor, on the lawn, while dinner was on an upper floor, by the pool. Nita (Mukeshâ€™s wife) was responsible for the fashion show while Tina (Anilâ€™s wife) took care of dinner,â€™â€™ said another guest.
Although there was no ostensible divide, some guests said that most of Mukeshâ€™s friends sat on one side of the ramp and Anilâ€™s on the other. â€œLater, at dinner, everyone mingled. And it didnâ€™t matter whose guest list you were on, the brothers were warm with pretty much everyone. In fact, Mukesh walked across to Jaya and Abhishek (Bachchan)-they were sitting in the second row, they may have taken their place a little late, Amitabh was in the first row and he (Mukesh) brought them to the first row,â€™â€™ according to one of the guests.
The Bachchans are known to be close friends of Anil. The Samajwadi Partyâ€™s Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh (whoâ€™s also part of Anilâ€™s inner circle) were at the party, but itâ€™s not known if Mukesh spoke to either. If media reports are to be believed, there isnâ€™t much love lost between Mukesh Ambani and Amar Singh.
Most guests TOI spoke to said it was â€œmore a family than a corporate affairâ€™â€™. A large part of the guests was made up of relatives and Kokilabenâ€™s friends, including those from her husband Dhirubhaiâ€™s village Chorwad in Gujarat. â€œIt was nice to see a lot of old people-people known to Kokilaben over the years. Many of them were unknown to us,â€™â€™ said a businessman.
Among the known faces were petroleum minister Murli Deora , civil aviation minister Praful Patel, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej, Harsh Goenka, Bharat Sheth of Great Eastern Shipping, JP Morgan India head Kalpana Morparia, heritage activist Tasneem Mehta, and Vinod Khannaâ€™s wife Kavita.
The confidantes/lieutenants of the two brothers-Anand Jain and Manoj Modi from Camp Mukesh and Amitabh Jhunjunwala from Camp Anil-were also present. Kokilaben addressed the guests for about half an hour. Said a guest, â€œShe spoke very well. She seemed to be carrying some notes, but didnâ€™t refer to them. She spoke in Gujarati, straight from the heart. She thanked her children and grandchildren for having done so much for her.â€™â€™
From all accounts, the friction between the Brothers Ambani doesnâ€™t seem to have strained relations between their children. â€œThey were all together, the rapport was good. They also walked the ramp,â€™â€™ said a guest. â€œAll this was snapped up by a photographer flown in from Brussels.â€™â€™ Expectedly, the dinner was elaborate, representing the cuisines of the four dhams. And as a takeaway gift, everyone got a silver box.