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    Dec 2009


    Default Salman plays it safe with Ash at Tendulkar's party

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    Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th century on March 16, in the fourth match of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh in Mirpur; but at a party thrown by the Ambanis to celebrate that ton of tons on Monday – a different kind of game was played out.

    And the leading player at this glittering do, hosted by Nita and Mukesh Ambani at their Altamont Road residence Antilla in Mumbai, was none other than Bollywood’s big scorer Salman Khan.

    The party, as is known, was the Ambanis’s gesture dedicated to the Master Blaster and their Mumbai Indians IPL skipper, in honour of his achievement. And invited to it, were the A-list of Page 3 types, including the city’s who’s-who, Bollywood stars, cricketers, and captains of industry.

    Bollywood, it must be mentioned – led by Amitabh Bachchan himself, was among the first cricket aficionados and Tendulkar fans to tweet congratulatory messages, when the master batsman scored his 100th ton. So its presence at the Ambani party was natural.

    What was not natural, however, was the attendance of Salman at this party. The last time the Ambanis hosted a similar bash for Tendulkar in 2009 at their Cuffe Parade residence Seawind, and Salman was conspicuous by his absence. That party was anchored by Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan and also had an impressive Bollywood line-up.

    And not only did Salman show up this time, but he played the perfect gentleman by keeping a respectable distance from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who had come with husband Abhishek. According to a source, "Salman was at his sober best, he was dressed in formal attire, and with great dignity walked into greet and meet hall and took a corner seat." He was joined by his Dabangg co-star Sonakshi Sinha, her father Shatrughan, and old friend Raj Thackeray; while Aishwarya and Abhishek sat at the opposite end with Hrithik and Susanne Roshan and Ekta Kapoor.

    "When Salman was asked to share a few thoughts about the man of the evening, he took the mike and spoke extempore, keeping the audience in splits with his ready wit and charm. And, though she sat just a few feet away from him on the podium, Salman studiously refrained from looking in Ash’s direction,” added the source. Abhishek was seen applauding Chulbul Pandey's heartfelt speech.

    Even after the ceremony, when vegetarian delicacies and wine were being served at the roof top food court on Antilla, Salman successfully kept aloof from the crowd until Aamir Khan accompanied by Tendulkar and the Ambani couple joined him for a short animated discussion. Harbhajan Singh with Geeta Basra, Sushmita Sen and Virender Sehwag were others, who kept the Dabangg Khan busy, with Virat Kohli taking muscle building tips from Sallu bhai.

    Another highlight of the evening was the scene of Priyanka Chopra, the Master of Ceremonies for this grand occasion, who is known to be close to Shah Rukh Khan, giving Salman a hug before the actor graciously departed from the venue stating he had an early shoot for Dabangg 2.

    Our hundred dollar question: was there any tension in the air because of these subtle theatrics? Our source said, “You bet… as much as when Sachin Tendulkar was on 99 and waiting to score his 100th hundred at Mirpur that day!”
    ...being a human...



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