Before the lights were dimmed and the show started at the impressive auditorium in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday, President Pranab Mukherjee, 79, was seen seated with his long-time political peer, BJP veteran LK Advani, 87.
The two veterans of the Indian politics were present to watch Amitabh Bachchan's latest film, Piku. The film is a slice-of-life story where the actor plays a septuagenarian father to Deepika Padukone.
Mukherjee watched the film about the Bengali father-daughter duo living in Delhi with his daughter Sharmishtha.
Bachchan sat between the two Mukherjees to watch the film which, in his own words, "is a story of much relevance to the contemporary India. Here we tried to show an empowered woman who takes care of his aged father, manages the household but also goes out to work and enjoys economic freedom."
While Advani is known as a movie buff, Mukherjee has finally got time off from his packed schedule thanks to his stint at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Earlier, his daily schedule gave him time only for writing diary, voraciously reading books and listening to small doses of Rabindra-sangeet.
"The Honourable President tonight watched 'PIKU' and may I say with great reserve of modesty, he absolutely loved it! Most particular he seemed to have enjoyed the 'perfect' Bengali-Hindi accent, which he felt was flawless. He later invited us over for dinner and we continued to discuss the film and its merits," Bachchan blogged.
Before the movie began, responding to an impromptu request, he recited his late father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Madhushala. The crowd, needless to say, was mesmerised.
Mukherjee later came to the dais and presented Bachchan and Sircar uttariya and mementoes.
"I absolutely love the protocol of order and designed fan fare that comes along with the Head of the Country, the President. As you begin to approach the massive portals of this majestic building, its sheer magnificence overwhelms you. I may have visited it more than I would imagine, during my early years when we would come to watch films in a small auditorium within the Bhavan; the swimming pool where each summer heat was defeated in the bright cool waters; the many investiture ceremonies, the swearing in ceremonies, personal visits, and on. A joy and privilege. There has since been great improvement in the building of a separate structure that houses all the important cultural activities, and it is a joy to see the President taking personal interest in it …" Big B wrote in his blog.