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Nita and Mukesh Ambani’s do for Sachin
It was an evening that those who attended will never forget. Mukesh and Nita Ambani played winsome hosts at their mega-home Antilla on Monday evening, to felicitate Sachin Tendulkar for scoring his 100th hundred in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh recently.
The who’s who of the city’s glitterati were in attendance, including Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Virat Kohli, Harbhajan Singh with Geeta Basra, Virendra Sehwag, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Raju Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Preity Zinta, Shatrughan and Poonam Sinha with Sonakshi, Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh, Raveena Tandon and Anil Thadani, Ekta Kapoor, Raj Thackeray, Vijay Mallya, Praful Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Prithviraj Chavan, Murli and Hema Deora, Milind and Pooja Deora, Suhel Seth, Atul Kasbekar, Chhaya and Nirmal Momaya, Shaina NC, Rohit Bal, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Subrata Roy, Parmeshwar and Adi Godrej and Karisma Kapur, among several other distinguished guests.
Invitees enjoyed champagne and delectable hors d’oeuvres on the rooftop, which boasted a magnificent view of South Mumbai. Later, the gathering shifted to the grand ballroom in the lower level, where the Ambanis had put together a veritable awards function - dedicated to one man alone. Pritam opened the show, premiering a song dedicated to Sachin from the film Ferrari Ki Sawari. Nita then welcomed the guests and spoke of how proud Sachin made all Indians feel, before handing over the microphone to Priyanka Chopra, who played emcee for the evening honouring the legend.
She impressed the guests with her trivia on the Master Blaster, before telling Anjali Tendulkar, “Jab Sachin Sir ghooma ke shot maarte hain… toh… tum nahin samjhogi Anjali, kuch kuch hota hai!”
She then invited Aamir Khan on stage, who told Mukesh that he had pipped him in predicting Sachin’s 100th hundred way back in 2004 (Mukesh predicted the same at a party honouring Sachin’s 20th anniversary in cricket in 2009), when Sachin had scored his 50th hundred. He said, “I called Sachin and told him, ‘Now I’ll only congratulate you when you score your 100th hundred, which will be soon’!”
Aamir then invited one of Sachin’s biggest fans - the 82-year-old singing legend Lata Mangeshkar - who waxed eloquent about first meeting the cricketer at Raj Thackeray’s home many years ago. She reminisced about how when a TV crew asked Sachin to say a few words about her, he’d said, ‘Main apni Maa ke baare main kya kahun….” PC then asked the songstress to sing a few lines and she crooned Sachin’s favourite song, Tu jahan, jahan chalega, mera saaya…, for which she received a standing ovation. Then it was AR Rahman’s turn, who sent a special video recording of a song dedicated to the cricket icon from London.
PC then took to the audience, speaking to various guests, including Virat Kohli - who said Sachin was the reason he started playing cricket, Bhajji - who said he’d stop flirting with women if he was Sachin for a day, and Abhishek Bachchan - who quipped humourously about how all his fans, who wore the same clothes and sat glued to the TV when Sachin played, had a role to play in scoring his 100th hundred! Television journalist Rajat Sharma was perhaps the luckiest man that evening, as he won a personally autographed bat by Sachin in a surprise game of passing the parcel!
Finally, it was Salman Khan’s time to take to the stage. The actor turned on his rakish charm to the max, leaving the audience in splits with his unrehearsed speech and jokes, prompting hoots and cheers from the otherwise sober crowd.
Anjali Tendulkar, who was otherwise shy to speak in public, recorded an AV where she spoke of how the past year had been especially difficult for her husband as the pressure to set this record was tremendous. Her special request? “I have seen 99 of the 100 centuries you have made. Please quickly score one more, so I can say I have seen all your 100 hundreds. After that you can happily retire!”
Shankar Mahadevan closed the evening with an energetic performance a little after midnight, post which guests mingled and enjoyed a lavish vegetarian spread in the garden area. Pretty much every guest’s one point agenda that evening was to shake hands with the cricketing legend, and Tendulkar more than willingly obliged. Never once taking that shy smile off his face as he posed for photographs, one of the city’s greatest treasures was truly humbled by the praise and affection bestowed upon him. Indeed, it was well-deserved!
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