Alka Yagnik’s birthday celebration highlights the melody of friendship

Alka Yagnik with filmmaker son-in-law Amit Desai, daughter Sayesha and brother Samir. Photo: Alka Yagnik / Israni Photography

Alka Yagnik, one of the most popular singers ever in Hindi cinema, celebrated her birthday on April 20 at the Estella restobar in Mumbai. To put it simply, it was one of the finest parties and get-togethers in recent years, where the affection and bonhomie between film and film music stalwarts was transparent, and as free-flowing as the cocktails and the food.

In a small but warm speech, the birthday girl stated said, “All the people here today are very close friends and colleagues. But we hardly get to meet nowadays. This get-together was because I thought that we must come and enjoy together as life can be unpredictable. My birthday is just an excuse for meeting up.”

She had also told me earlier that brother Samir and his family, and her own daughter, restaurateur Sayesha and her husband, filmmaker Amit Desai had put the whole event together. Luckily, the hot spell over Mumbai had broken that night, and it was a cool evening at the superbly-decorated seaside venue, with the only warmth there percolating from the guests’ sentiments! And Samir, indeed, did a fabulous job of looking after every guest with his own personal touch of warmth.

Viju Shah, Abhijeet, Sameer Sen, Sanjay Tandon, composer Anand (-Milind) and Shailendra Singh. Photo: Alka Yagnik / Israni Photography

Alka’s personal popularity and standing was clear from the fact that almost everyone from the music world and more, was there to wish her personally, even if Govinda, Mrs. Jaya Laxmikant and Rajeshwari Laxmikant, filmmaker Subhash Ghai, Himesh Reshammiya and Adnan Sami came in only for brief periods. Govinda’s wife, Sunita, however, stayed on.

The guest list was top-lined by veteran composer Anandji and wife Shantaben. Most of the guests stayed on until late night and there were endless pictures taken, most of them by the celebrities themselves as the mood became increasingly celebratory and festive as the evening went on.

The plethora of names who made it a point to attend included singers Anuradha Paudwal, Sadhana Sargam, Sapna Mukherjee, Sunidhi Chauhan (a late entry), Akriti Kakar (with filmmaker husband Chirag Arora), Mr. and Mrs. Manhar, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan with wife Deipa and Sudesh Bhosle with wife Hema (all of whom are also connected through common mentors Kalyanji-Anandji), Shailendra Singh, Suresh Wadkar with wife Padma, Mr. & Mrs. Abhijeet and Sonu Nigam.

Anju and Anu Malik, Anandji and Kumar Sanu share moments. Photo: Alka Yagnik / Israni Photography

Composers Rajesh Roshan, Anu Malik, Viju Shah and Lalit Pandit came with their wives, and along with Anand-Milind, Sameer Sen and singer-composer Raahul Jatin, son of Jatin Pandit, also stayed for long. Seen enjoying themselves were also Mrs. Chitrani Bappi Lahiri with children Rema Lahiri and Bappa Lahiri, and also lyricists Amit Khanna and Javed Akhtar, and Sanjay Tandon, president, ISRA (Indian Singers’ Rights Association).

Actresses Padmini Kolhapure, Poonam Dhillon and Rituparna Sengupta (with whom Alka shares a great personal friendship) and actors Raviraj Kande and Omkar Kapoor were also present.

Here’s wishing Alka a long and fruitful life and here’s also hoping that more and more names in the industry decide to emulate her and come together—just for the sake of it. Life will indeed be much more melodious if the music of friendship is played on a loop.






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