Smita Thackeray, daughter-in-law of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, held a lot of sway over the Hindi film industry at one point in time. Whenever she threw a party, the who's who of the industry would make it a point to attend.
After the exit of Thackeray's trusted lieutenant, Narayan Rane, from the Sena and now, with Raj Thackeray's revolt, the party's future seems a little uncertain.
Sadly but truly, the unspoken rule seems to be that when one's power diminishes, so does one's clout over the film industry.
Today, there are no takers for Smita's latest production, Sandwich, starring Govinda, Mahima Chaudhry and Raveena Tandon. The film, earlier titled Hum Do Hamaara Ek, is complete. But it has no distributors.
So exit Smita, and enter Sangeeta Ahir as the new 'power woman' in Bollywood.
Sangeeta is the wife of Nationalist Congress Party legislator Sachin Ahir, a powerful Mumbai leader. Ahir is also the nephew of underworld don-turned-legislator Arun Gawli.
Sangeeta was earlier married to Sudhakar Bokade, who made the hit film Saajan with Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit.
Sangeeta has now ventured into film production with Mahesh Manjrekar's Vah! Life Ho Toh Aisi, starring Sanjay Dutt, Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao.
So when Sangeeta threw a party on Saturday, the who's who of the film industry and Maharashtra politics was present. Among the guests were Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, and Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Text: Syed Firdaus Ashraf | Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar