US President Barack Obama stole the show at the state banquet hosted in his honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday evening. His speech, in his signature style of wit and sharpness, again heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The Prime Minister is a style icon. I would also like to wear Modi kurta,” the President said in reference to the PM’s pet dress. Incidentally, Modi wore his favourite kurta at the airport while receiving the US President.
In the star-studded event, President Mukherjee spoke about the bilateral ties and friendship. “You have made history thrice-over today by becoming the first US President to grace our Republic Day celebration; by being the first US President to visit India twice while in office; and by holding a second Summit-level meeting in the shortest-ever time span of four months.”
Obama, in lighter vein, mentioned that this time, he has been saved from dancing. “Last time when I came to India we danced with some kids in Mumbai. One newspaper headline said, ‘President Obama comes to India’. Another one said, ‘Michelle Obama rocks India’.”
A large part of his speech was devoted to the PM as Obama quipped, “I came to know he once fought against a crocodile. So, he’s tough and he also has style.”
It was a star-studded affair at the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan turned as more than 200 eminent invitees were welcomed by President Pranab Mukherjee his US counterpart Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.
Among the guests, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Congress leaders like Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, industrialists Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Anil Ambani and Ratan Tata, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Dr Naresh Trehan and many key bureaucrats were also present.
From Rabindranath Tagore to Micheal Jackson, the military band played a curious mix of background music. The all-time international hits which were played included We are the World written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder’s Part Time Lover and Will.i.am produced song “Yes We Can” inspired from Obama’s own speech. Tagore’s ekla cholo re also found its way.
The menu comprised of Galauti Kabab, Soufiyan Fish tikka, Dal Raisina, chiken malai tikka, Chicken korma, stir fried brocoli, paneer malai tikka, veg kabab, Mustard fish curry, Gustaba, Mutton Rogan josh, Hakka veg, Kadhi Pakora, chole, Dahi Gujia, Papad, Polao, tandoori roti/naan, Rabdi and Malpoa.