Joined: 09 September 2004
A face that launched a thousand ships or a thousand besotted suitors. A face that uplifted several brand equities. The aquamarine eyes might look inviting, and are donated. The translucent skin might be blemish free, thanks to a front line soap. But here is the woman whose perfection is her tragic flaw.
If a man chooses her over another woman, it is her fault. If her boyfriend abuses her, it is her shortcoming. If her co-star calls a press conference to expose her paramour, she is deemed the calculating mind behind the tamasha. If her new boyfriend turns out to be the media's favourite dartboard target, they get to her by running him down. Like they say, whatever you do, you are always going to fall a tad short. This has been the way the Aishwarya-media love affair has unspooled. The poor little rich girl v/s the fourth estate who is ever willing to pull her out of her castle, in the skies and roll her face in the mud.
Her own celebrity status has been her failing, and the damsel in distress has only the dragon of superstardom to be protected from.
A new month, a new rumour, and a brand new clarification. I continue doing my job as she continues hers, and we all live happily ever after. The twister had its inexplicable beginnings in the powerful business boardroom. India's premier business family was going their separate ways. Mukesh and Anil Ambani could not see eye to eye, or rupee to rupee. The Prince Charles and Andrew of the Indian corporate kingdom did not wish to function from Buckingham palace. It certainly made headlines to see power play between the brothers drawing first blood. The battle of succession is the obvious one when the patriarch passes over the reins without a clear demarcation of power.
We leave the crores worth of holdings, petroleum, equity, telecommunications, polyester and infrastructure aside and come straight down to matters of the heart. While the elder of the two siblings, Mukesh, burned the midnight oil and stuck to the company agenda, the younger one, Anil, preferred to live life kingsize. He is said to have fallen in love with Tina Munim from the dress circle seating of a South Bombay theatre, while watching the movie 'Karz'. He was in his plush seat, and she, on the silver screen. He is subsequently known to have seen the film 18 times, and had common friends introduce him to his muse. Once the meeting had taken place, a marriage proposal was a foregone conclusion and more than that, was parental opposition. The youngest born Ambani proved himself to be a man who would never breach his commitment. While the business world fumed and fretted, Anil stuck to his guns and his resolve to marry Tina Munim.
Marry he did, and proved to all and sundry that there was not much that would keep him away from what he desired. Two children and many summers later, Anil Ambani was a familiar sight once again in Bollywood. Many believed that he was shopping for a new girlfriend who would go with his image of the sprinting and athletic boardroom honcho. Whatever the reason, it was Sushmita Sen whose name began getting linked with his. There were hushed whispers of how Reliance Jr. had bought Sush her penthouse in the skies and the rock (of Gibraltar) she wore in her ring. Ms. Sen was quick to dish out her denials. "You don't need a man to buy you a ring," she'd thundered. But the din continued to get louder and louder. Till she could not keep it Sush anymore.
In the meanwhile, according to Outlook magazine it seems that the Anil-Tina marriage was long since over, and at the price of a hefty settlement, the marriage was said to be breathing its last. Like life, pageants and Bollywood, in the past, wherever Sushmita goes, Aishwarya has to follow, and vice versa. So when everybody was barking up the Sen tree, it seems the magnate was drawn to Ms. Rai. At least, that's how the story goes. Jab pyar kiya toh darna kya seems to be Ambani Junior's motto. Untying the last matrimonial knot, he was apparently like a kid let loose in the candy store. Usually used to getting what he wanted, Anil wanted Ash this time round, and this time it was for keeps. It was reported that Mr.Amitabh Bachchan, who is Anil Ambani's confidante, approached the Rais with an official marriage proposal. They were willing to accept the alliance had the groom to be single, and Anil went about announcing his bachelor status with a king's ransom as settlement to Tina. He seemed all set to take his second walk down the aisle to the altar, when Mukesh detonated his arsenal. Rather than conjugal status, Anil was fighting for his multi-million crore empire and for public image's sake, had no choice but to return to Tina, his tail between his legs.
Once the dust settled and the boardroom warfare dulled out, we were left with several questions in the air. One assumed that Aishwarya would play the wilted wallflower jilted at the nth hour by scheming fate. "What rubbish! This whole story is entirely untrue," she began clearing the air with each additional word she spoke, "Please, I don't know how I get embroiled in these controversies when I don't even go out looking for them. They just seem to land on me. Thud," she said, with sound effects. "I have met Anil Ambani on only two occasions as I can recall recently. Once, was at the Sahara wedding where it was a social occasion, where everybody was meeting everybody. There was no one to one interaction, except, of course, when he drove us, that is, Amitji and myself to the front gate from the reception area." (Aha, Amitji !) "I mean, considering the mammoth place that the Sahara city is, it is hardly expected of me to sprint from one point to another." The only other occasion I have met Anil Ambani was at Bharat Shah's birthday celebration, where Vivek and Suresh (Oberoi) uncle were sitting at the same table as me. And we all waited for Amar Singhji's speech, and then left. Now tell me, where in all this time do you think I would accept a proposal. I know the media is after my case, but this is a bit ridiculous," she ended dismissively, pooh-poohing the whole story as the figment of some imagination.
We then approached the so-called matchmaker of the alliance, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who was then shooting for Vipul Shah's 'Waqt'. The Big B must have wondered of the times that have fallen on him, that he has to be in the dock for a social act. "I have no clue what you're talking about. I would never do something like that," he assured us.
Like we said, wherever Ash goes, Sush follows, as she is reported to have said that she has met Anil Ambani a sum total of three times, and always in the presence of his wife. Maybe the Ambanis would resolve the issues of their millions, but here is a muddle that outmesses all. While we say this, we must mention that the next invite we get from the Ambanis will continue to read as Tina and Anil. While the beauty queens deny his existence, it is Tina who plays hostess of Ambani house since the stakes have skyrocketed. Meanwhile the playboy needs to run for cover.
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