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An un-starry encounter

I always believed that film stars should be seen on screens rather than met at close quarters like at a social do, writes Vijay Dutt.
PTI | By Vijay Dutt, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2005 08:31 PM IST

I always believed that film stars should be seen on cinema screens rather than

met at close quarters like at a social do. According to most accounts their starry ways are quite irksome. Some of the film magazine stories about their antics at parties also put one off. But, I got a pleasant surprise at Subhash Ghai's birthday dinner party, which was hosted by his daughter Meghna at Sir Michael Caine's restaurant Deya and managed by the Media Moghuls.

I did not go to the premiere of Kisna and the dinner that followed the screening. But I suppose one does not say no to a birthday celebrations. And I am glad I did go. I have met Ghai a couple of times and always found him a down to earth person, eloquent but never pompous as some noted producers are, who try to be intellectual and condescending.

So Ghai being polite and playing the part of a co-host perfectly, asking for drinks and bringing them too, was not something unusual. What did surprise me was Vivek Oberoi's behaviour. It was most un-starry. He did not get drunk, did not sneak away with some giggling young lady, all too anxious for his favours. Nor did he sit in any corner expecting everyone to come and pay obeisance to him. The very fact that he was there much before most guests arrived was something no star would "condescend" to do.

I recall a press conference that was arranged over two years ago at an Indian restaurant in West End. We were told that the hero, quite famous star and sought after at that time, and his father would meet the press and talk about certain things which would make good copy for us. The restaurant had arranged fierce-looking bouncers, expecting hysterical girls to tear his shirt or something like that. But the girls did not turn up, nor did the hero.

After an hour-long wait only the dad turned up to assure us what a great son he had given to the nation. But the son could not come because he had severe headache. This was at about 3 pm. So we were taken aback to see a very agile, fresh-looking hero at a show just three hours later.

Equated to such standard, Vivek Oberoi came up not as an obnoxiously behaved hero but as a nice young man, conscious of his star status but equally careful in trying to project himself as any other young person out to enjoy the evening. In fact a young lady called me the following morning to ask whether he was trying to suppress his real self. He was flirting with all girls, not with any particular one, also running to the bar asking for drinks for other guests on his table rather than plying himself and getting inebriated.

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