Mumbai may have been buzzing the whole year but come New Year and most of the city's movers and shakers will take off for party spots elsewhere. Quite a few are headed to Mauritius or the Far East, while many are staying closer to home in Alibaug or Goa.
Among Goa's 'it' parties is the one at Gazdar Villa near Taj Holiday Village, which sees a sea of designers and the fashion frat from both Delhi and Mumbai socialising, dancing and networking. Rajeev Samant, of Sula Wines, is expected to throw his New Year bash at Morjim like he usually does, while Amit Digvijaysingh will host a bash at The Beach, a five-star resort and spa. All the better to recuperate in, the morning after.
Gautam Singhania is also headed for Goa. The Raymond head honcho, who has thrown some of the best parties the city has seen, has "mellowed", according to a party regular. "He has a daughter now and wants to spend more time with his family. Besides, wife Nawaz was never really the partying kind," says a member of the swish set.
For the mother of all parties, head to Dr Vijay Mallya's villa near Candolim, North Goa. Never mind that Mallya just hosted a party on his yacht, the Indian Empress, and another at the racecourse. Goa is also playing host to socialite Bina Ramani and her designer daughter Malini, designer Manish Arora, socialite Devika Bhojwani and her husband Suresh.
Mukesh Ambani will also join the bling-wagon in Goa, while Kumaramangalam Birla, who's usually in South Africa on December 31, has decided to stay put in Mumbai this year.
Those who want to avoid the usual suspects are heading to different locales. As Diwan Rahul Nanda says: "I stay away from regular parties on New Year as I can't take my daughters along and I simply must have them around when I ring the New Year in. I make it a point never to go to Goa or stay in Mumbai because I'm inundated with invites that I cannot refuse." Nanda is headed to Shimla with his family. Similarly, restaurateur Rahul Akerkar will head to Alibaug to ensure he gets enough time with his family. "Like every year, I'll be at our farmhouse. I take my family and a few close friends. No loud parties for me," he says.
Fellow restaurateur AD Singh and wife Sabina are going to Delhi. "Sabs and I will be at the Olive New Year Eve Party. Sabs helps do up the restaurant and has been shopping for that all month. It normally takes the team and her two or three days to set it up. This year the theme is the red carpet, which symbolises glamour and style," says Singh, adding that there will be about 500 people at the party. “"hese include 60 friends and family."
"Several celebrities are headed to Singapore where the bars are open all night and the laws are strict so there's no drinking and driving. It's a safe, fun place," says radio personality Vinod Advani, who is headed to Singapore too. Others like model Shamita Singha will spend the 31st working, but will be partying in the evening in Hyderabad. "I am doing a show for a jewellery brand in the morning and in the evening I will fly to Hyderabad because I am hosting a party for 10,000 people. I will be back on January 1 and then take a week off in Goa or Dubai," she says. But right now she is preoccupied with just one thought — what she will wear. She's meeting up with designers to decide that.
From the film frat, Akshay Kumar is off to New York with wife Twinkle and son Araav, while Abhishek Bachchan will be shooting in Prague with Priyanka Chopra. Naturally, Aishwarya Rai will fly down to be by his side but Chopra will return to perform with Nelly Furtado.
Shah Rukh Khan, who usually parties in Delhi, is staying put in Mumbai this year as he has to prepare for Kaun Banega Crorepati.
So if you want some action, glamour and glitz, you know where to head... straight out of the city!
(With inputs from M Sabrinath and Seema Sreedharan)
"Party invitations that comprise an envelope and a piece of paper are passe. Many clients want extravagant invites and demand innovative ideas. It could be coconuts for a Caribbean party invite or a beer bottle cork for a dance. We have even sent out bottles of wine as invites, but not everything has to be high-budget. One low-budget invite was one that simply said 'party till you drop and leave the hangover to us' accompanied by two dispirin tablets," says Deepti Dilip, of Thinkers, a creative agency that designs invitations.
Top of the pops
• Maarten Reuchlin, consul general of Netherlands, threw one of the best parties the city had seen in recent years. It was a black-tie affair, with a live band in attendance. His home in Fort could accommodate 200 people and it was filled to capacity.
• Gautam Singhania's annual pre-New Year bash at his lakeside Powai bungalow comprises a night-long celebration that concludes with a champagne brunch the next day.
• Vijay Mallya's parties are big on glamour, booze and babes — it's where the country's top stars and socialites rub shoulders with corporate India.
• Parmeshwar Godrej's parties only have the crème de la crème. If you are lucky, you might shake hands with Richard Gere or share a glass of bubbly with Goldie Hawn.
When the clock strikes 12…
Gautam Singhania — Usually known for his big year-end bashes, he will be in Goa with family. Party regulars say he's 'mellowed' down and wishes to spend more time with family now.
AD Singh and wife Sabina — hosting a new year bash for 500 people at their Delhi Olive. The theme for the party is Red Carpet, so there's bound to be lots of glitter and glamour here.
Dr Vijay Mallya — hosting a party at his villa near Candolim, North Goa with the usual fanfare.
Rahul Akerkar — heading to his Alibaug farmhouse to spend some quiet time with family.
Diwan Rahul Nanda — has deliberately avoided Goa and is going to Shimla with family.
Abhishek Bachchan — will be shooting in Prague and Aishwarya Rai will join him
Mukesh Ambani — also heading to Goa
Shamita Singha — is hosting a party for 10,000 people in Hyderabad and will then take a week off in Goa or Dubai.
Akshay Kumar — is going to New York with family
Shah Rukh Khan — usually parties in Delhi, but this time will be in the city preparing for Kaun Banega Crorepati.