I started attending parties in 1979, and I’ve been parting ever since. But, over the last decade, the party scene in Mumbai has changed drastically. Back in 2005, there was no WhatsApp; people knew there was a party happening at a particular place and would just drop in. Everybody went out to dance and have fun. There were no time constraints. Page 3 was huge. It was a phenomenon. That’s why even the movie, Page 3 (2005), was such a huge hit. I used to attend two or three parties on an average night. It was a big thing to be on Page 3. But at the same time, no one was a wannabe. There were hundreds of people who I used to party with. Even Bollywood stars wanted to be part of the Page 3 culture. I remember, the best parties those days were hosted by people like Gautam Singhania (industrialist). He used to party all night at his house in Powai. Kailash Surendranath (film-maker) and Aarti Surendranath (socialite) used to host big parties at their Warden Road house. Those days, the media was savvy and very friendly. There were few of them (reporters), and they knew people by their first names. We (socialites) weren’t pushy either. They (reporters) knew their job well. Nightspots like 1900, Cellars, Athena, Indigo and Olive were the favourite party places. Parties used to be well-organised and they ran smoothly. Guests would not be forced to go through multiple checks and questioning by security officials and PR executives.
No party scene anymore
The Page 3 scene in Mumbai is dead now. Over the years, Bollywood has completely taken over the party scene. Actually, there is no party scene anymore. Movie screenings and trailer launches are the norm now. On the other hand, people who used to party back then have grown old. They don’t want to step out of their homes. And there is no one to take over their mantle. Also, when I go clubbing, I see a lot of teenyboppers, for whom drinking and dancing form part of their partying life. These people go to parties to get drunk.
Designers, artists and theatre actors, who formed an integral part of the Page 3 circuit, are passé. Times have changed. Now, you have to text message the invites to people, and ask them to block their dates. Then, you have to send them repeated reminders. Unless you are a freeloader, you have to run after people these days to make sure they attend your parties. There is no privacy. There is angst, jealousy and a rage among people to become famous. Bollywood people are the real society now; they are everywhere. They come to attend even the launch of a bottle of mineral water. Everything is ‘Bollywood-ised’. Earlier, Bollywood celebrities wanted to be part of our society; they used to come to our parties. Now, they are bigger than the biggest. Everybody is running after them, including top industrialists.
Ranveer Singh at a party hosted by Deepika Padukone. (HT photo)
Media outlets have multiplied. You will see hundreds of shutterbugs at an event, and there is chaos. The behaviour of the photographers has changed for bad. The gentlemen photographers, who used to mingle with society people and work simultaneously, are gone.
These days, I haven’t completely stopped going to parties. I go where I am wanted. I don’t want to be a filler. I get invited for movie premieres. What do you go and do there? Just stand and pose for pictures? The movie success parties which happen so often are all about being seen. You can’t do anything beyond that. I believe fun can’t go on forever. Life has to move on. Everything has to change. Many five-stars have shut down their nightclubs. Now, there are standalone bars. The good part is that I don’t miss anything or anybody from the past. Retro music is becoming popular among youngsters. But, on the other hand, there is nothing left. Everything has become over the top.
(Kishin Mulchandani is a popular socialite)
Singers Sonu Kakkar and Neha Kakkar at a Page 3 party