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All roads lead to Sahara Shahar
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | February 15, 2004 00:45 IST
All roads led to Sahara Shahar, the glittering private estate of Sahara group owner Subrata Roy, whose younger son Seemanto married Chandni on Saturday.
"It is like a festival in fairyland," was the observation of a journalist who was flown in from New Delhi to participate in this mother of all weddings.
Nearly 5,000 guests, including around 1,500 VIPs, attended his first son Sushanto's marriage on February 10.
The number was even larger on Saturday night.
Estimates of the expenditure incurred on the two weddings ran wild, touching up to Rs 2 billion.
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray arrived earlier in the day to bless the newlyweds.
But three ladies were missing -- Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and All Indian Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Another disappointment was the absence of former US president Bill Clinton, who was expected to join the celebrations.
While Aishwarya Rai, who has been camping in Sahara Shahar for the past five days, continued to play hostess, it was Amitabh Bachchan welcomed everyone on the public address system. He greeted all the guests in both Hindi and English.
The star, his wife Jaya and son Abhishek, tennis player Leander Paes and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh looked after the guests.
Seventeen chartered flights ferried VIPs from Delhi and Mumbai, while Sahara choppers carted many between the Lucknow airport and the private helipad at Sahara Shahar.
An entire terminal of the Lucknow airport was virtually taken over by the Sahara group, whose reception committee members swarmed the place.
And once again, some 45,000 designer candles from actress Twinkle Khanna's creations adorned the artificial lake in the sprawling 200-acre Sahara Shahar, where some 500 florists were on the job to bedeck the entire complex in orchids, carnations and roses.
According to an insider, 110 varieties of cuisines together with Swiss and Belgian chocolates and the choicest of French wines were included in the spread, while a Spanish and Mexican band played in attendance.
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