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April - May 2004


Marriages of the Century : Sons of Subrata Roy Sahara

by Rajan Patel

They say that marriages are made in Heaven. Well some wise man definitely said that, but when you have a wedding which is carried out in a "Heaven -like" manner, literally, this is what happened recently in Lucknow with the grand wedding ceremonies of Shri Sushanto and Shri Seemanto, sons of Ms. Swapna Roy, Dy. Managing Worker and Shri Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker & Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, that were solemnized at Sahara Shaher, on the 10h of February, 2004 and the 14th of February, 2004, respectively the curtains are finally down on the 'Marriages of the Century' - the most glittering extravaganza ever witnessed with a dazzling spectacle of color and glitz.

Newly Weds Sushanto & Seemanto Roy, With Their Parents & Respective Wives
Sushanto Roy Dancing With Vivek Oberoi
In His Baraat

For the past four days, Sahara Shaher was the most prominent address of opulence and grandeur, with the imposing statue of 'Bharat Maa' brightly lit and standing tall and stately against the picturesque background and surroundings.The sheer brilliance of artistry made for a sensuous experience to be lived and treasured over and over again. It gave the impression as though time had come to a standstill and the eyes of the entire nation had riveted towards the festivities of the occasion.

More than 11,000 invitees from all over the country and abroad graced the occasion, which included more than 1500 VVIPs/VIPs. Even as they were led through to the main entrance gate, the esteemed invitees were given a warm and enthusiastic welcome by Shri Subrata Roy Sahara himself, along with the CM of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shri Amitabh Bachchan, Shri Anil Ambani, Shri Kapil Dev and Ms. Aishwarya Rai.

The Grandoise Sahara Shaher, Lit Up
At Night, During the Festivities
Guests Lining Up In The Auditorium To
Bless & Congratulate The Newly Weds
The gracious & esteemed presence of luminaries such as Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India; Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Hon'ble Vice- President of India; Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Hon'ble Dy. Prime Minister of India; Shri Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena Chief - who left Mumbai after almost a decade to be a part of the celebrations, truly illumined the ambience of Sahara Shaher and further embellished the occasion. Never before had one witnessed such a huge gathering of stars descending at Lucknow, which included politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, cine celebrities, sports & media persons and leaders from various other fields, prominent among whom were as follows -
Film & TV Personalities - Smt. Saira Bano & Shri Dilip Kumar - Actress / Actor; Smt. Jaya & Shri Amitabh Bachchan - Actress / Actor; Smt Hema Malini - Actress; Shri Dharmendra - Actor; Ms Aishwarya Rai - Actress; Ms. Kareena Kapoor - Actress; Ms. Rani Mukherjee - Actress; Ms. Shilpa Shetty - Actress; Ms. Manisha Koirala - Actress; Ms. Urmila Matondkar - Actress; Ms. Sharmila Tagore - Actress; Ms. Asha Parekh - Actress; Smt. Sridevi & Shri Boney Kapoor - Actress / Producer; Ms. Dimple Kapadia - Actress; Shri Anil Kapoor - Actor; Shri Raj Babbar - Actor, Shri Ajay Devgan - Actor; Shri Jackie Shroff - Actor; Shri Sunil Shetty - Actor; Shri Jeetendra Kapoor - Actor; Shri Prem Chopra - Actor; Shri Amrish Puri - Actor; Shri Abhishek Bachchan - Actor; Shri Aftab Shivdasani - Actor, Shri Sanjay Kapoor - Actor; Shri Feroz Khan - Actor; Shri Fardeen Khan - Actor; Shri Tushar Kapoor - Actor; Shri Shekhar Suman - Actor; Shri Suresh Oberoi - Actor; Shri Vivek Oberoi - Actor, Shri Kadar Khan - Actor; Ms. Padmini Kolhapure - Actress; Ms. Aruna Irani - Actress; Shri Asrani - Ms. Mahima Choudhary - Actress; Ms. Sonali Bendre & Shri Goldie Behl - Director; Ms. Bhagyashree & Shri Himalaya; Actress; Ms. Celina Jaitly - Actress; Ms Lara Dutta - Actress; Ms. Yukta Mookhey - Actress; Ms. Nandita Das - Actress; Shri Arjun Rampal - Actor; Shri Javed Jaffrey - Actor; Shri Yash Chopra - Producer/Director; Shri Subhash Ghai - Producer/Director; Shri Ramesh Sippy - Producer/Director; Shri Rakesh Roshan - Producer/Director; Smt. Smita Thackeray - Producer, Shri Sanjay Khan - Actor / Producer; Shri Bharat Shah - Producer; Shri Muzaffar Ali - Producer/Director; Shri Raj Kr. Santoshi - Director; Shri Aziz Mirza - Director; Shri Shyam Benegal - Director; Shri Govind Nihalani - Director;Shri Prakash Jha - Director; Shri Lawrence D'souza - Director; Shri Prem Sagar - Producer; Shri Ramesh Talwar - Director; Shri Ravi Chopra - Director; Shri Satish Kaushik - Director; Shri Manmohan Shetty - Producer; Shri Rituparno Ghosh - Director; Ms. Aparna Sen - Director; Shri Anu Malik - Music Director; Shri Adesh Srivastava - Music Director, Shri Bappi Lahiri - Music Director; Shri Nitin Mukesh - Singer; Shri Sonu Nigam - Singer; Shri Pankaj Udhas - Singer; Shri Udit Narayan - Singer; Shri Babul Supriyo - Singer; Ms. Usha Mangeshkar - Singer; Ms. Anuradha Paudwal - Singer; Shri Gajendra Singh; Ms. Rakshanda Khan & Ms. Ruby Bhatia - T.V. Artistes.
Amitabh Bachan & Subrata Roy Sahara
Dancing In The Baraat
Saurav Ganguly Enjoying His Dinner
With Sachin Tendulkar & Ravi Shastri
· Sports Personalities - Ms. Nadia Comaneci - Renowned Gymnast, Mr. Edwin Moses - Renowned Athlete, Eminent Members and Mr. Iain Banner, CEO of Laureus World Sports Academy. Shri Jagmohan Dalmiya - President, BCCI; Shri Bishan Singh Bedi -Cricket; Shri Kapil Dev - Cricket, Shri Ravi Shastri - Cricket; Shri Sachin Tendulkar - Cricket, Shri Sourav Ganguly - Cricket, Shri Leander Paes - Tennis, Shri Rahul Dravid - Cricket, Shri Virendra Sehwag - Cricket, Shri Mohd Kaif - Cricket, Shri Yuvraj Singh - Cricket, Shri Zaheer Khan - Cricket, Shri Hemang Badani - Cricket, Shri Ashish Nehra - Cricket; Shri Parthiv Patel - Cricket, Shri Ajay Jadeja - Cricket, Shri Amit Bhandari - Cricket; Shri Dhanraj Pillay, Shri Baljit Singh Dhillon, Shri Baljit Singh Saini, Shri Gagan Ajit Singh, Shri Prabhjot Singh and other members of the Indian Hockey team, Shri P.K. Banerjee - Football, Shri Chunni Goswami - Football; Shri Abhinav Bindra - Shooting; Ms. Anjali Bhagawat- Shooting.
Media Personalities - Shri Subhas Chandra - Zee TV; ; Ms. Shobhna Bhartiya - Hindustan Times; Shri Arun Purie - India Today, Shri H.R. Shah - TV Asia, U.S.; Shri Mahendra Mohan Gupta - Dainik Jagaran; Shri Prannoy Roy - NDTV, Shri Peter Mukherjea - Star T.V., Shri Prabhu Chawla - India Today; Shri John Elliot - Fortune Magazine; Shri Markand Adhikari - SABe TV; Shri Kunal Dasgupta - Sony TV, Shri Rajat Sharma - Sr. TV Journalist, Shri Pradeep Guha - Times of India, Shri Ashok Agarwal - Amar Ujala; Shri Ashok Dasgupta - Aaj Kal; Shri Prabhash Joshi - Jansatta; Shri Chandan Mitra - Pioneer; Shri Girish Agarwal - Dainik Bhaskar; Ms. Nalini Singh, Shri Alok Mehta - Outlook; Shri Saeed Naqvi; Shri Kamleshwar; Shri Manoj Raghuvanshi, Shri Deepak Chaurasia, Shri Rajeev Shukla; Shri Raghu Rai - Famous photo journalist, Shri Manohar Sham Joshi - Writer.
Subrata Roy Sahara With Deputy PM
LK Advani and Ravi Shankar Prasad
Subrata Roy Sahara In Conversation With
India's PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee
The occasion of the marriage of Shri Sushanto and Shri Seemanto is now indelibly entrenched in everybody's thought. The grand event began with the pre-wedding ceremonies of Shri Sushanto and Ms. Richa, the daughter of Lucknow-based Shri Aamesh Ahuja of the Ahuja family, on the 9th of February, 2004. The Nanhi Mukh ceremony of Shri Sushanto was conducted at Swapna Kuti, the grand residence of Ms. Swapna Roy and Shri Subrata Roy Sahara. This was followed by the Haldi Rasam of Shri Sushanto when he was adorned in rich turmeric paste. In the evening there were a host of activities at the Fun World Ground including a Housie session.
On the 10th of February, 2004, at 5 P.M. in the evening, the baaraat proceeded by car from Swapna Kuti and then assembled at the Helipad and from there it proceeded towards the auditorium, the site of the ceremony on foot. The baaraat was welcomed at the auditorium gate. The marriage ceremony commenced in the auditorium at 11 P.M. followed by the Mala Badal (exchange of garlands) and the rituals. Shri Amar Singh and Ms. Swapna Roy along with other family members & relatives were there on stage.
The following day, the entire ceremony shifted to the bride's house with the welcoming ceremony of Shri Sushanto's bride for Baasi Biye in the morning, followed by Bidaai in the evening and Bou Baran at Swapna Kuti. The Fun World activities continued today also.
On the 12th of February, 2004, the Samuhik Vivah Samaroh witnessed the kanyadaan of 101 under-privileged girls of the society belonging to the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities that was successfully conducted, as an emotional endeavour of Sahara India Pariwar. On this occasion, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Hon'ble President of India sent 101 floral bouquets as 'Aashirwad' for each of the couples.The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Hon'ble Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav ji graced the occasion with his august presence as the Chief Guest and inaugurated the ceremony with the breaking of the traditional coconut and lighting of the ceremonial lamp, witnessed by thousands of people, which included esteemed personalities like Lady & Lord Swraj Paul, Shri Amar Singh, Ms. Ritu Nanda, Ms. Jaya Bachchan, Ms. Aishwarya Rai, Ms. Nadira Babbar, Shri Abhishek Bachchan, Ms. Shweta Nanda, Shri Bishwajit, Ms. Rachna Bannerji, Shri Prosenjit, Shri Sonu Nigam and eminent member of the Laureus World Sport Academy, Ms. Nadia Comaneci.
His Excellency, Shri Vishnukant Shastri, Hon'ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh also graced the occasion and did the first 'Daan' through Pandit ji. At 8 A.M. in the morning, all the 101 brides arrived in their resplendent ceremonial attire and assembled in front of an imposing statue of 'Bharat Maa'. At 10:30 A.M. all the Baaraatis arrived at the Sahara Shahar gate. The arrangements for the marriages were made at 101 mandaps that were set up in the lush greenery in the foreground of the 'Bharat Maa' chabi and the Saamuhik Vivah ceremony began at 11 A.M. A photo-session for the couples was followed by a grand, sumptuous lunch for them and their families. On this solemn occasion, Ms. Swapna Roy, the mother of Shri Sushanto and Shri Seemanto, in an emotional speech, strongly proposed that every year we should organize the Kanyadaans of 101 girls. The proposal met with everyone's applause and was unanimously accepted.
On the same day, during the afternoon, the Bou-Bhat of Shri Sushanto's bride was performed at Swapna Kuti that was bedecked in splendour. This was followed by a grand Bahu Aagaman Sangeet for the brides of Shri Sushanto and Shri Seemanto at the auditorium, with the participation of eminent artistes and the family members along with a number of distinguished personalities from various fields.
On the 14th of February, 2004, the younger son of Ms. Swapna Roy and Shri Subrata Roy Sahara, Shri Seemanto entered into the holy bond of matrimony with Ms. Chandani, the daughter of Lt. Col. Malkiyat Singh Toor at Sahara Shaher, Lucknow with the same pomp and revelry as was visible during Shri Sushanto's wedding.The pre-wedding ceremonies commenced on the 13th of February, 2004 with the Nanhi Mukh ceremony of Shri Seemanto at Swapna Kuti, followed by the Haldi Rasam. In the evening, the activities at Fun World continued.The evening activities included a Ladies Sangeet session with Shri Seemanto's bride, who was dressed in all her bridal finery, at Hotel Clarks Awadh, with the relatives of the bride and the groom, participating in spontaneous verve and vitality.
In the same sequence as during the marriage of Shri Sushanto, the baaraat proceeded by car on the 14th of February, 2004 from Swapna Kuti at 5 P.M. and reached the Helipad reception. From there, it proceeded towards the auditorium on foot where the baaraat was given a grand welcome at the auditorium gate. The marriage ceremony commenced in the auditorium at 11:55 P.M. followed by the Mala Badal (exchange of garlands). As was during the wedding of Shri Sushanto, Shri Amar Singh and Ms. Swapna Roy along with other family members & relatives were there on stage.
The following day, was the welcoming ceremony of Shri Seemanto's bride for Baasi Biye in the morning at 11 A.M. at hotel Clark's Awadh. At 5:30 P.M. in the evening, was the Bidaai at the same venue. This was followed by the traditional Bou Baran or the welcoming ceremony of the bride at Swapna Kuti. The Bou-Bhat of Shri Seemanto's bride took place the next day at 1:30 P.M. at Swapna Kuti. On the 15th and the 16th of February, 2004, activities at the Fun World continued in a spirit of fun and frolic
The ceremonial attire for Shri Sushanto was designed by Shri Rohit Bal and for Shri Seemanto by Shri Subyasachi, who also designed all the bridal finery for Ms. Richa and Ms. Chandni.
During both the marriages of Shri Sushanto on the 10th of February and Shri Seemanto on the 14th of February, there was absolutely foolproof and watertight security measures within the premises, at the gate and all along the outside perimeter of the premises. The security measures ensured that entry was strictly on invitation with each and every corner under close scrutiny. There was constant to and fro movement, between the airport and the marriage premises. From the airport to Sahara Shaher premises and back, luxury buses and cars were organized for the transportation of VIPs/ dignitaries. For proper accommodation of VVIPs, special staying arrangements were made in state-of-the-art luxury suites/rooms at Sahara Shaher and in luxurious rooms in Hotels. For transportation within the premises for VVIPs, luxury and special Golf Carts were deployed.
The majestic dinner that was laid out was a gourmet's delight with as many as 110 varieties of cuisines, comprising Indian, Mexican, Italian, Mongolian, Lebanese, Chinese & American dishes to suit a variety of choices & tastes. The entire fooding was arranged by the Chef, Shri Hemant Oberoi and his team from the Taj Group of Hotels and for the first time ever, in both the marriages, arrangements for a sitting dinner for over 5000 guests were made, under strict hygienic conditions. As a part of the festivities, more than a lakh and forty thousand beggars were distributed food across the country.
The auditorium where the marriages of Shri Sushanto and Shri Seemanto were solemnized was luxurious and grand with an exquisite décor. The fragrance of perfumes and flowers permeated all-around and the melodious strains of a musical piece with the chanting of mantras (composed by the leading Bollywood composer, Shri Aadesh Shrivastava) created a perfect ceremonial ambience.
The entrance of Sahara Shaher, a huge gate aptly named Bandhanwaar with two pillars on either side was erected that appeared to be the bastion of a royal palace, having the seven sacred vows of the marriage engraved from top to bottom. In the hues of the evening dusk, the pathways within Sahara Shaher shone bright with a host of mashals, torch lights, lamps, wax 'handis' and prism glasses. Paramount Flora and Ferns and Petals provided tonnes of flowers to adorn the entire venue that was bedecked in numerous fragrances.
The ambience of the entire Sahara Shaher was enlivened by prominent theme-decoration companies like M/s E-factor, who looked after the decoration of entire venue with mashaals and other accessories; M/s Back Stage Productions who looked after the construction of alcoves (huts) and chatris behind 'Bharat Maa' chabi; M/s Gurlein Manchanda, who looked after the entire auditorium & mandap décor in a fusion of traditional & contemporary styles, including the furnishing; M/s Pink Rose Apparel, who looked after the decoration the inter-junction between the helipad and the auditorium and M/s Aucky, who looked after the decoration of parapets in the rooms with ethnic bandhanwaars.
But there was more to come yet. The evening reverberated to a litany of pulsating music & dance, capturing the essence of different moods and rhythms. A soul-stirring musical extravaganza by 121 foreign musicians of a British Symphony orchestra group from Birmingham, U.K., was a major highlight, on a huge, 7-feet high, aesthetically designed revolving stage that was set up in front of the imposing statue of 'Bharat Maa'. What took everyone by surprise was the British Symphony orchestra playing around 20 Hindi film and patriotic songs including numbers like 'Bande Mataram…', 'Sare Jahan Se Achcha…' popular songs like 'Mera Juta Hai Japani…', and marriage theme-based numbers like 'Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna…., 'Le Jayenge Le Jayenge Dilwale…..' and 'Roop Hai Tera Sona Sona….'.. This was probably for the first time in history that a foreign Symphony Orchestra played so many Hindi songs.
On another adjacent stage, artistes from U.K. gave a series of Flamingo Dance, Classical Ballet Dance & Tap Dance recitals. Besides these, a unique Heliosphere act with artistes performing acrobatics suspended from Helium gas-filled balloons took one's breath away. Noted choreographer, Shri Shiamak Davar and his troupe gave a scintillating dance recital that was pulsating in its rhythmic robustness. Another virtuoso performance by Shri Chitti Pillai and his orchestra at the wide & expansive sports ground floored the audience with the subtle nuances of their sensitive and soul-stirring musical symphony.
One of the major highlights of the evening was a grand firework display by the Morani brothers that lit up the skies in bright, radiant colours. The huge and expansive canvas of this mega event was captured on celluloid by noted Bollywood Director, Shri Raj Kumar Santoshi. This was truly the most glorious event ever to have been witnessed in Lucknow, which shall forever be remembered for its sheer lavishness & splendour, the pomp & pageantry with the unprecedented gathering of heroes/dignitaries from all fields, who graced the occasions to bless the young couples, now embarking on a life of eternal togetherness.

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