Monday, June 14, 2010

What’s In A Name?

In a country where possibly 7 out of every 10 people are addicted to Bollywood, well versed in the who’s who (or should that be who’s doing whom?) and what’s what of tinsel town, trust B-C, Bin and self to stick out like sore thumbs yet again.

B-C was to cover the launch of a spa in the city recently and I tagged along for lack of anything better to do. The press release boasted the presence of several “high-profile” Bollywood celebrities - Ritesh Deshmukh (which I confess was the only name I recognised on the list), Ashish Chaudhary, someone else, someone else, yadda yadda….

B-C made it through the barricade of big bouncers with me, increasingly wondering why I had turned up there, in tow. A long painful wait ensued during which I foraged around the snacks table, obliging the generous waiters who quite obviously thought I was a reject from a home for consumptives, and followed B-C on a guided tour of the spa, quite easily envisaging it to soon turn into a house of pleasures providing Bollywood wannabes and C-graders for a suitable price.

Finally, the first “celeb” arrived - fashionably late. His name was not on the list of expected VIPs. To our credit, B-C and I instantly recognised who he was, although his actual name completely eluded us. “Salman Khan’s brother”, B-C scribbled on her notepad. His name?

“Arbaaz Khan!” I declared triumphantly before B-C clicked her tongue dismissively. No. “Altaf?” I ventured again. No, B-C indicated with a quick nod of the head, her own brow furrowing in thought. “It’s definitely something with an A” I said again, determined to get this right and as self-assured as the time I’d smugly declared “They’re all Ganeshas!” while standing in front of a row of what I was later informed were idols of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.

“Ayaaz?” No. This was futile.

“Let’s text Bin” suggested B-C, telling me, in not so many words, that when it came to Bollywood knowledge, I was as helpful as Paris Hilton on a Mensa test. While she shot off a text message to Bin, I sent one to Cousin Binky - “What is the name of that weird-looking brother of Salman Khan?”

Sohail Khan” came Cousin Binky’s prompt reply. Right on the money! Cousin Binky saves the day!

Bin’s not-so-prompt response, on the other hand, took the cake, the baker and the whole goddamn confectionery.

“Sulaiman!” she texted back gleefully.

Tsk. There isn’t much else to be said. It must be hard being Salman Khan’s hardly famous brother.