The centre of attention, yet far away - Bollywood's star couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor's five-day wedding celebrations turned out to be an extravaganza to remember for the guests. But there was little that the event offered to satiate the media frenzy around it.
Ever since Saif and Kareena started dating each other in 2007, they were hardly any interviews that ended without the big question about the D-day. But they evaded it and maintained silence till the last minute.
Even as Saif's mother, veteran actress and Begum of Pataudi, Sharmila Tagore, had confirmed the wedding date as Oct 16 way in advance, the speculations continued. As the date drew closer, rumours about their attires surfaced, but any confirmation was away from the prying cameras and sharp ears of journalists, until the eleventh hour.
Given that Saif, 42, is the son of late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, and Kareena, 32, belongs to Bollywood's famed Kapoor clan, the celebrations were bound to be big. And that, they indeed were.
A pre-wedding gala, a covered terrace event at Kareena's Bandra residence Sunday, allowed no peek-a-boos, except for an inkling about the attendees - which included the bride and groom's close family and friends.
What followed was the much-awaited D-day - surprisingly, a simple registered marriage affair, with Kareena dressed in a mehndi green and vermillion suit and Saif in a grey kurta-pyjama.
Kareena's mother Babita and father Randhir Kapoor signed as witnesses from the bride's side, while Saif's mother Sharmila Tagore signed as a witness from the groom's side. The actors, finally husband and wife, now posed for shutterbugs and waved at the media, whole-heartedly.
But they cocooned back soon, now for the reported 'nikaah' ceremony, as well as a party for Bollywood's who's who. Kareena decided to go traditional and she dressed in her mother-in-law's wedding gear, which was reworked upon by ace designer Manish Malhotra.
If the bride's trousseau was dominated by Malhotra's original creations, except the "exchange of vows" on Tuesday at the Taj Palace and Hotel in Colaba, Mumbai, designer Raghavendra Rathore added his royal touch for Saif's wardrobe.
But amidst all the hoopla created by entusiastic media, paparazzi couldn't breach the couple's security arrangements for any scoops. Till the last moment, only a few details could be availed.
Even the guests remained faithful to their hosts and refused to give away any vital information, except for a leaked invitation about the Delhi reception, attended by high profile politicos including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit.
Media, that camped outside the venues both in Mumbai for 'nikaah' and in Delhi for the 'walima', just for a photo opportunity, kept waiting.
This was unlike the last high profile Bollywood wedding of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in 2007, where megastar Amitabh Bachchan played a perfect host. The 'uninvited' media was catered for, with water and food.
Recently, at his 70th birthday bash, Big B also laid out a seperate dinner for journos standing there to cover the red carpet.
However, Saif and Kareena's union will be remembered as a classic case of celebrities' acquired ability to maintain privacy in their personal lives.
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