The biggest wedding in Bollywood will be a small affair, but only by Big B’s yardstick. About 100 guests are expected. “It will be a low-key affair, but by Bachchan standards,” a source close to the family told the Hindustan Times.
The invitees to the April 20 wedding of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai include only two politicians: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh will also be there — but as family, not as a politician. His name figures on the invitation cards alongside the Rai family and the Bachchan parivar: Teji, Jaya, Amitabh and brother Ajitabh. The invites bear the name of not just Singh but also his wife Pankaja and daughters Drishti and Disha.
For the political community, however, the absence of the Gandhi name in the guest list will mean the final parting of ways between the families whose ties go back to the days of the freedom struggle. Much water seems to have flowed down the Ganga since Priyanka Gandhi’s equally private 1996 wedding, attended by Jaya and Amitabh with their newly married daughter Shweta and her husband Nikhil Nanda.
A family friend of the Bachchans dismissed as “untrue” reports in a section of the media that Ajitabh sent an invitation to the Gandhi family through Priyanka.
Even from the film industry, the invitees are either close friends of the bridegroom or his parents: Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Esha Deol, Dimple Kapadia, Danny Denzongpa, Romesh Sharma, Goldie Behl, Sonali Bendre, comedian Mehmood’s brother Anwar and Shammi Rabadi.
Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and even Aamir Khan have not been invited. “It is a very private affair, a gathering of close relatives and friends, including those from Amitabh’s days as a struggling actor and Jaya’s stint at the Pune film institute,” the family friend explained.
From among industrialists, Anil Ambani and Subrata Roy of the Sahara Group are expected to join the Bachchans with their spouses.
The ceremonies, spread over three days, will be performed at Prateeksha, the Bachchans’ Mumbai home, starting April 18 with the mehdi rasam and sangeet the following day. The wedding will be solemnised at 5.30 p.m. on April 20.
No media presence has been planned yet. Lucrative offers for exclusive coverage rights were politely refused.