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December 31, 2013

Billionaire Bashes Of Yore

Text by Wyanet Vaz. Illustration by Soumya Kumar

Verve takes a trip down memory lane to recall the high octane that once shone bright….

As the last decade swept by, so did the carousing, only to be replaced by niche at-home gatherings and luxury brand bashes. We wake up to a hangover of the parties we miss the most.

GAUTAM SINGHANIA’S RIDE INTO THE HORIZON
A swank lakeside house, avant garde decor, the best wines and champagne money can buy, food stations weighed down with delicacies – all set up by Raymond group’s Gautam Singhania to usher in the New Year. The night-long celebration ended with a champagne brunch the next day. Each year people from across the country waited with bated breath to be invited. At least a thousand weren’t disappointed. The guest-list at the annual bash was usually the veritable who’s who of corporate India – the Ambanis, the Mittals, the Birlas, and the crême of the advertising world and media. And then, the phenomenal parties at Powai just stopped around the same time that his daughter was born. No connection there, but Gautam mellowed down and moved into another phase.

DR. VIJAY MALLYA’S KINGDOM OF GOOD TIMES
For the mother of all parties, one would head to Vijay Mallya’s sprawling villa near Candolim, Goa. Big on glamour, booze and babes, it was where the country’s top stars and socialites rubbed shoulders with industrialists and Page 3 celebs alike. Chartered Kingfisher aircrafts ferried in guests. Caviar, champagne, lobster and lamb chops, Burmese khow suey – all this and more flowed at the liquor baron’s heavily guarded seaside lounge. A true connoisseur of the good life, this charismatic billionaire inspected every detail. The fireworks at midnight and the electro beats of the world’s best disc jockeys made for sparkling highlights. No wonder people went to unimaginable lengths to gatecrash and partake in the Goan revelry.

ASHISH RAHEJA’S ISLAND OF LIMITLESS JOY
It was easy to get there, but it wasn’t really easy to get there. Everybody who was anybody in the top echelons of society was at the parties, and we know many aspirants who would do anything to get in. The pre-Christmas festivities were planned by an in-house team hired solely to work on the party. Cards were printed five months in advance, the menu planned six months ahead, and the DJ was booked with a year to spare. Annually held at Raheja Exotica at Madh Island, it would take you three hours to reach the spot, having to bludgeon down a sea of cars all heading to the same destination. But, the fanfare was always worth the ordeal, with the lavish food court accompanying truckloads of alcohol.

PARMESHWAR GODREJ’S DANCE WITH THE STARS
A true barometer for judging your ranking on the social scale is, if you have been invited to Parmeshwar Godrej’s party or if she has been to yours. Among her talked-about parties are the ones she threw for Liz Hurley, Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Most memorable was her Arabian Nights theme party with a beautiful ambience, gold-plated cutlery and huge chandeliers adorning her sea-facing bungalow in suburban Juhu. The highlight at all her parties would be hobnobbing with Madonna, Imran Khan and maybe even, Richard Gere.

Tags: Hosting, Parties

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