Armani or Ash, it's Indian

Published on Sep 29, 2004 07:41 PM IST

Bollywood adds to excitement in everything. The latest is Aishwarya at Tussauds, writes Nabanita Sircar.

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PTI | ByBASERE SE DUR|Nabanita Sircar
The much-promised Indian summer or rather the hope of any kind of respectable summer is fast dwindling from British skies, but people are keeping their spirits alive by preparing for the festive season of Dashera, Diwali and Christmas.

The skies may be grey but the thought of India cheers one up, so no wonder it is being celebrated. First, it was none other than Giorgio Armani who took Indian fashion to Milan with his new Emporio range. His passion for India is oozing through his latest creations, with jodhpurs being the main theme of his collection at the Milan Fashion Show.

While sequins and crystals intricately embroidered in India are bringing a sparkle to catwalks, it's time for Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice to brighten up the festive season. Already screened at Jane Austen's fourth Bath Festival on Sunday, the film will definitely come under the microscope once it is released on October 8. For people in India, gearing up for Dashera and Diwali, it will be Balle, Balle - Amritsar to LA (yes, that is the Hindi translation of the film, to be released simultaneously).

Yet for a good number of Indians in the UK, the season of celebrations is often marked with grand gestures of charity - a trend I hope will continue to grow. Last week the Indian charity Pratham held its second annual charity dinner at the Hilton, Park Lane, in London. Attended by about 600 guests, the charity raised more than £200,000, which will go towards educating children in India. A round of golf with Vijay Singh was auctioned at £15,000, which would be worth every penny for any golfer. But some obviously star-struck Bollywood fan actually paid up £15,000 for a dinner with the hunk Hrithik Roshan. Imagine the scenario where a strange, definitely drooling, fan is trying to hold a conversation with the star, over dinner. It is hilarious. But at least it is for a cause. The same, though, cannot be said about the way some of our Bollywood superstars become star attractions at shaadis  of the rich and famous.

Latest case in point was, of course, none others than the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla et al performing at the famous wedding ceremony of LN Mittal's daughter Vanisha. This is a unique phenomena restricted to our desi  stars. Imagine a Tom Cruise or Richard Gere doing the same! It kind of belittles an art form. I agree it nevertheless brings in moolah for the stars. May be they could spare a thought and a few bobs to some charity. That might just add some respectability to this bizarre trend.

A touch of Bollywood adds to excitement in everything in Britain. A few years ago it was Amitabh Bachchan who became the first Indian actor to grace London's famous Madame Tussauds. All sorts gathered to have a glimpse of the Big B and his wax replica at the launch. There was a gentleman, a Pakistani, I distinctly remember who had a collection of Amitabh memorablia, from his film posters to magazine articles, photographs and everything possible you can think of. He proudly related to us, scribes present, at the inauguration, how he had made the collection over the years and that his little son was also following the dad's footsteps.

This time it will be Aishwarya Rai's turn. A week before the release of Bride…. Ash will be at Madame Tussauds.

Basere se dur, I am sure Bollywood fans will be queing up for the event.

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