It is a simple invite with a beige background and red and gold lettering. But in Hyderabad this not-so-freely-distributed wedding invite is the talk of the town.
The Sania-Shoaib wedding reception on Thursday at the posh Taj Krishna apart from being national news is also the largest society event for the city.
The city has a small society circuit, especially the Mirza family circle, which is very distinct from the pub hopping crowd that gracing the party pages. It is the foreign-educated, articulate and well-travelled business community of the city that meets for lunch everyday at the Nizam Club to discuss politics and money. And for the rest of the time they are ensconced behind the imposing gates of their plush bungalows scattered across Jubilee and Banjara Hills.
“Everyone is calling the immediate family and friends of the Mirzas to try and get an invitation,” said Mohammed Ahmed, an invitee. “It is a high profile event for the city and ‘have you got an invite’ has become the topic of conversation. The whole Bollywood factor and media glare enhances the glamour,” said the businessman.
The reception has a guest list of 1200 people, of which 800 are from Hyderabad. But for a society wedding the list is rather modest. “Usually, weddings in known families have about 3000 guests at the reception. So, I am guessing a lot of people have not got invites,” Ahmed added.
While the event may be high profile, the Hyderabad elite will not give it undue importance. “It is the wedding season and I end up attending a wedding every night. Sania’s father is my childhood friend so I will attend the reception to bless the couple,” said Sajid Baig, another invitee.
In fact, the hype has made some shy of the event. “I am not too sure if I will go. We have to carry the card for security reasons. It will be very crowded because of the media and it is just a lot of effort,” said Rashid Ali, another invitee, who is related to the Mirzas.
Surprisingly, the mediators, who rescued Shoaib Malik from what would have become an ugly legal battle, have not been invited. The intervention of these community representatives ensured a quick divorce between Ayesha Siddiqui and Malik. “The elders of the community are not happy with the way the wedding was conducted and may not attend the reception,” said Adib Khan, one of the mediators. Khan said that elders were upset that the nikaahnama did not state it was Shoaib’s second marriage. Also, the mehr amount of Rs. 61 lakh, which is meant as security for the bride, was extravagant and would now set an expensive precedent in the society.
Early on Wednesday morning, a large bouquet of flowers arrived in an autorickshaw at the Mirza household. The flowers were from Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan congratulating Sania and expressing their regret at not being able to attend the reception.
Even the three Khan brothers, Salman, Sohail and Arbaaz, are tied up. So is SRK.
Tennis star Leander and his wife Rhea Pillai are skipping the reception. Mahesh Bhupathi, who is playing the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco, may attend the reception if he does not have a match on Thursday.
This leaves only a few B-town buddies such as Tabu, Neha Dhupia and Rakshanda Khan, who will be there to wish the couple.