Fifty years ago, spotting Bollywood stars was probably not as tough a task as it is now. The old timers would insist that, on a good day, all that the fans needed to do was show up at this one hotel in the suburbs, Sun n Sand, and wait for Amitabh Bachchan to turn up at the Sunset Room for dinner.
About how the venue came into being, Rajesh Advani, the hotel’s managing director says, “In 1959, this land was bought to build bungalows. The deal for the first one was even sold to Saira Banu’s mother. Then a Greek man named Jack Voyantzis, who owned the Ambassador Hotel, met my granddad and suggested we build a hotel. We refunded the advance and in 1962, Sun n Sand was ready in Juhu.”
On November 24 this year, the venue, which is now more of a city landmark, turned 50. To mark the golden jubilee, the hotel re-launched its bar as the Beach Comber. The poolside is still as popular. This is where most of the Bollywood after-parties were held, as it was the first of its kind half a century ago. “From day one, films began being shot there — with actresses jumping off diving boards etc,” recalls Advani.
The Sunset Room, which still exists, was the spot that hosted celebrities from various fields. From Indira Gandhi and Clint Eastwood, to Gregory Peck and Pearl S Buck, even Sachin Tendulkar’s wedding reception was held here. However, only one man made the hotel “his home for 15 years — Dev Anand”. Here are some snapshots of those years.