It was 6 am. There we were at Haji Ali, sprinting across as high tide waves slapped our faces hard..but we had to get to the durgah. Going back is not propitious. And so we were there on the eve of his film’s release. The film was a major hit..it felt wonderful, it was the baba’s coming of age.
With her, I’ve been like a stuck voice machine..just a close-up look at her and there I’m aaahing, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen..” and then I bite my tongue, “apart from my mum who’s just a memory.” And then she goes, “Oohhh..how sweet”, runs her hand over my evening stubble. That’s some feeling. Just for that stubble caress, I’d jump though hoops of fire.
Right, so is this piece about to elongate into a gush-gush piece? How terrific the duo is! How baba’s khaala gives him all the duas in the world! Or how I’ll feel that stubble touch till my dying day and one-day chat about it to other seniors in the Nana-Nani Park! Sure, there is the danger of going into gushland..but the simple point to make is that if Abhishek Bachchan wants a modicum of privacy and Aishwarya Rai feels likewise, let’s give it to them. Of course, that’s easier said than paparazzied. I’ve advanced the notion of privacy.. and will now just go with the flow of my feelings and all that jazbaatein.
Just a grown up boy
Yup, so there I was at an awards function..Filmfare if you must know..trying to find a decent enough personality to go upstage and hand over the trophy to the Sensational Newcomer (Female) of the Year.
It was foregone conclusion that Abhishek would join the movies some day..since he was there as part of the audience, looking all grown up (serious in his teens, but chuckling away at all the faux pas on stage), how about persuading B Jr to present the trophy?
Meera Joshi, the fearless Nadia of the team, went up to him and grabbed his hand..enough..Abhishek melted like a candle with embarrassment. “Look ma,” he told his mum and sister, “Please help.” They did, he was excused that evening.
Aishwarya, I remember, at another edition of the award function, serene, smiling.. though I wasn’t getting that stubble touch that day in a hurry. She seemed a bit nervous..her brother and gang surrounded her. My hand was in a plaster cast, when someone quite unpleasant announced, “Move away from her or I’ll break your other hand too..”
Drunk to the gills, this apology of a man had to be dragged away first by Rishi Kapoor and then by the security guards. No medals for guessing who this hero (ha!) is..but that’s the evening when I really saw Aishwarya vulnerable.. Bambi-eyed.. she’d come to the event just for us staffers at the magazine. Yeah, at the evening, I got a peck on the cheek..wish I hadn’t shaved.
Another venue, another place: Abhishek is outstanding to watch movies with..so there we were at a preview theatre in Chennai, rolling all over the carpet over the unintentional humour about a villager who suddenly becomes an urban vigilante.
Behind us there was Jr’s heroine, her enormous mum and an even more enormous aunt. The heroine tapped him on the back to ask, “But please..what’s so funny?” At that remark, Abhishek and I went into crazier convulsions..it’s possible to get hysterical with baba.
Little girl’s laugh
Aishwarya laughs out loudest when makeup whiz Micky Contractor cracks one of his non-potatoes jokes..or goes into one of his outraged acts in Parsi Gujarati. He was narrating this incident about a character actress who gave him a tough time because she believes her left profile is better than her right one.
Micky’s expletives, peppered with a takeoff on the Profile Kumari had Ash break into her infamous fit of giggles. Actually, when she laughs, her face looks absolutely different.. it becomes a little girl’s again.
Open for debate
Has Abhishek ever had a bone to pick with me? Plenty. If he disagrees with a review, he’s made it known to me..the upside is that a debate is possible with him..he’s open and can revise his opinion.
Aishwarya I haven’t had any bickerings with..except perhaps a slight hurt was left when we discussed a script threadbare..she was all for it..I waited, waited and waited..went along with another heroine..so okay, I waited for a year..but now when I see the outcome, I think she was right in giving me the avoid.
She just wouldn’t have looked or felt like Shabana Azmi’s daughter (read Tehzeeb)..even if Ms Azmi and she did team up in Umrao Jaan...and see what happened.
In show business, legendary for its fluctuating and need-based relationships, there can be constants. Abhishek will be my baba, I’ll be his khaala(don’t even ask me how he got on to this nickname).
He’s getting married tomorrow ..and come hell or high water, I’ll be sprinting to Haji Ali durgah..for duas.