Of all the greetings that Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray received on his 50th birthday on Tuesday, one stood out - "best compliments" from none other than Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who had been targeted by the party this year.
The birthday wishes were conveyed not through a traditional greeting card, but in a half-page advertisement released in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna. It said, "With Best Compliments From...Red Chillies Entertainment", the film company owned by Shah Rukh.
Coming as it did just a few months after the Sena had launched an all-out campaign against the superstar, the impact of the ad (Page 20, left hand side) was not lost on either readers or Uddhav.
"I am accepting best wishes from everybody," is all that Uddhav chose to say when asked about the ad this afternoon.
The olive branch extended by Shah Rukh - in the form of the advertisement - comes nearly six months after the Sena had launched an all-out campaign against the superstar following the release of his blockbuster, My Name Is Khan, in February this year. The party was angry with him for speaking in favour of Pakistani cricketers for the Indian Premier League.
The issue had pitted the state government and the Shiv Sena against each other in a controversy that raged for nearly 10 days and prompted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to make a visit to Mumbai on Feb 5 and thumb the saffron party in its bastion.