Salman goofs up!
Sukanya Verma in Bombay
For once, her dancing shoes were locked away.
Helen, one of Hindi cinema's ultimate dancers, had others dancing to her tunes -- quite literally, too -- at the DD Metro Nine Gold and G S Entertainment show to honour her. There was one jarring note, though -- the golden girl herself was absent.
Although members of her family, Salman Khan, Sohail Khan and wife Seema, and Arbaaz Khan and Malaika, were present.
Called The Golden Girl of Indian Cinema, the felicitation began almost two hours late-- all thanks to the sudden rains lashing Bombay. TV and stage actor Aly Khan, emcee for the evening, decided it was a sign from the heavens above, blessing the show, adding, "If France had Helen of Troy, then there is only one Helen of India." (Helen of Troy in France?)
Mini screens placed all over the Andheri Sports Complex splashed Helen's films, her songs and interview clips of stars who have spoken about her, from Shammi Kapoor, Jeetendra, and Sridevi, to Sunil Shetty, Urmila Matondkar and Shilpa Shetty.
The show traced Helen's journey in films. From the cutesy Chinchin choo girl of the early 1950s, the budding 1960s' actress, the sizzling cabaret star of the 1970s and the villain's moll of the 1980s to the character artiste of the 1990s.
TIME for the first star performance of the evening. Time for a spontaneous and charming rendition of Mera naam chinchin choo by Urmila Matondkar, in a glittering black and silver outfit.
The tempo stepped up. Aishwarya Rai came on with Mehbooba Mehboobaand Yeh Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana.
Rather a letdown, one felt, with her disinterested look and her robotic movements. Not to forget her concern about her costume and pushing her hair off her face.
But then, Shilpa Shetty more than made up with Aa Jane Jaan. and a sizzling Mungda, which had the audience crying for more.
The naughty Suku Suku and the seductive Piya tu ab to aaja had an enthusiastic Raveena. The end of her performance saw her blowing kisses to the audience.
ADDING more glitz to the show was the presence of Helen's contemporaries like actor/politician Sunil Dutt. Despite being unwell, the gracious star made an appearance in a simple white kurta-churidar.
Thespian Dilip Kumar accompanied by wife Saira Banu were also present. Saira Banu recounted that she was a big fan of Helen while in school, adding, "When I got the chance to work with Helenji in my debut film Junglee, I would find myself watching her on the sets even when I wasn't required.
"One day, I bought all the bouquets from a florist and sent them to her, with the words, 'From your biggest fan'."
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan then made a dashing appearance, remembering the time he and Helen worked in Imaan Dharam, "a film which no one really remembers," as he put it.
He signed off with, "I hope and pray that even my son's sons work with Helen." That guaranteed a deafening applause from the audience.
IF Amitabh was the highlight of the evening, Salman Khan was its climax. Or anti-climax, as it turned out.
Looking suave in a grey suit and sporting a French goatee, glasses and a newly-acquired accent, he goofed up, calling Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Hum Dil Mein Sanam!
Worse, he introduced Helen as "the one and only Mrs Salim Khan," quite forgetting his own mother, Salma Salim Khan (Helen is Salim Khan's second wife).
He rushed to cover up, saying "I always say that there is one Khan above the three other Khans -- Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir -- and that is Helen Khan."
Famous last words? Uh-huh.