Back in the day, meeting a star felt like a dream - one that only came true in a few amazing ways. You could sneak onto sets, hang out at Mukesh Mills, and follow any large crowd to find a Bollywood biggie. But now, getting to an actor is harder. Sets are off-limits - and you have a better chance of seeing Kareena Kapoor in Gstaad than Mumbai. But for the determined fan, there are still ways to do it.
Eat at the right restaurants: Hakkasan, China House, Bombay Baking Company (at the JW Marriott) and Yellow Tree Café are Bollywood magnets. You can bump into Karisma Kapoor at Indigo Deli in Bandra or say hello to John Abraham at Suzette in Bandra.
Go for early morning darshan at Siddhivinayak: If you land up at Siddhivinayak temple in time for the 5am aarti, close to a big TV or film release, you'll probably spot the Bachchans, Ekta Kapoor or Shilpa Shetty. And because they're about to have a date with God, they'll be fresh faced sans makeup too.
Enter every contest: When a film releases, there's a massive publicity blitz, and often, a brand offers up a chance to win a date with a star. At the time of Dabangg 2's release, fans got to meet Salman via radio and TV promos. During Rowdy Rathore, a meet-and-greet with Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha was up for grabs.
Go to hip bars and nightclubs: Go to Olive at Bandra if you want to drink alongside Ranbir Kapoor, or Aurus in Juhu if you want to bump into Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan. China House is still frequented by celebs. Sonam Kapoor and sister Rhea have been spotted partying there several times.
Join the right gym: Gold's Gym, Deanne Pandey's, Leena Mogre's and Zarine Watson's fitness centres in Bandra are the places to head to. Even the gym at the Marriott is high on the list. Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor have worked out there, and a lot of the younger newer hopefuls do to. Senior Bachchan works out there as well, but between 12am and 4am.
Go for an early morning or late night run: Carter Road, Pali Hill and Joggers Park must become your hangouts. Then, get ready to say hi to Ranbir Kapoor, who could be out for a spin. Recently at the 'Mumbai Car Free Day' at Carter Road, Salman Khan stepped out on his cycle. Even otherwise, when Salman's in town, he rides around Bandstand in the early hours.
Visit celebrity salons and nail bars: Farhan Akhtar's wife Audhuna is the owner of B:Blunt (Khar and Juhu), so you can expect to find celebrities here. Aamir Khan happens to be one of them. Likewise, Sapna Bhavnani's Mad O Wat will have Katrina Kaif coming in, while Hakim Aalim's salon will have Shahid Kapoor. Also, heroines are obsessed with their nails and everyone from Kareena Kapoor to Sushmita Sen get nail extensions done from Glory's in Bandra. They usually happen to be the last appointments, around 9pm.
Support their NGOs or causes: Stars believe in charity. So if you volunteer at one of their NGOs (either one started by them or one they support), then you definitely have a chance to interact with them. Choose from Salman Khan's Being Human, Vidya Balan's Nanhi Kali or Kajol's Siksha. Celina Jaitley supports the gay parade, so you can walk alongside her literally.
Create something unique: Nothing gross like a massive tattoo of Aamir Khan on your back. Rather, make a unique collage or some other piece of art. Try sending it to their homes, offices or sets. A fan who once made a sketch of Emraan Hashmi managed to meet him after a few days and present her gift in person.
Stand outside their homes on festival days: When stars celebrate a festival, they do so in a grand manner. So pick between standing outside Sanjay Dutt's house during Mata Ki Chowki, Salman Khan's home during Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi or Ekta Kapoor's house during Diwali. Also, you can attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve at St Peter's Church in Bandra to spot Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh, or go to St Andrew's Church (also in Bandra) to catch Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan and Amrita Arora Ladak. During the Mount Mary feast, Imran Khan often steps out with wife Avantika.
Try these methods, for what they're worth
Letters to the house: Send them something they want to take note of. But no letters in blood. That's why Salman took a break from replying to fan mails.
Tweet to them: Even Big B replies to tweets. If you're lucky, he may just follow you. Nargis Fakhri even met one of her Twitter fans in Singapore.
Have your kids join fashionable schools: Either École Mondiale or Dhirubhai Ambani International. Aamir has put his daughter in Podar International.
Become an extra in a film or ad: Anushka and Deepika are known to be friendly with crews. Contact agents like Mukesh Chhabra or Shanoo Sharma.
Hang out at the airport: If you want to spot Katrina, Saif and other stars, park yourself at the international airport any time after 10pm and before sunrise.
From HT Brunch, March 17
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