And the Award For The Most Surreal Experience Goes To…

The past few weeks have been pretty ordinary for me. You know how it is. Sometimes you hit that humdrum phase in life, when all you do is wake up, go to work and hang out with Shah Rukh Khan at Mannat.

Alright, I’m kidding. I meant Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor.

This happened because I was part of the writing team that scripted a recent Bollywood award function, hosted by the two stars. I must refer to these as the Slimfare Awards, because we in the media hate to acknowledge the existence of rival companies, unless we beat them in sales.

Anyway, I was pretty kicked about this, because as an ardent Bollywood fan, I’ve always wanted to have a bunch of stars gather under one roof so that I can make fun of them. My other Bollywood ambitions include something with Katrina and a bubble bath, but let’s not go there.

The brief was pretty straightforward: be witty, crack jokes at stars, but without offending anyone – not an easy task in an industry where most egos are as fragile as Pakistani democracy.

Bad things happen when celebrities get offended. For example, the last person to get offended at an award show was Ashutosh Gowariker (this also took him about six hours) who famously asked host Sajid Khan to shut up. This offended Sajid Khan so much that in order to prove his awesomeness, he went and scored himself a Jacqueline Fernandez. We can all agree that this was one of the lowest points in human history and must never be allowed to happen again.

Another problem was that with 562392 film awards happening at the same time, we had to make sure our script stood out. On the plus side, we made Ra.One jokes in front of SRK, which he took very sportingly, probably because we are not Farah Khan’s obnoxious wife.

As a writer and fan, it was great to be working with SRK. Sure, we sat through marathon meetings wherein he and Ranbir dissected every word of the script, made us rework it, and then rework it some more, and then again, and again, until 15 minutes before the show. (I have a feeling that less work went into the Constitution of India. This explains the appalling lack of anatomy-related puns.)

But the best part came after the meetings, around 1 a.m. or so, when SRK called for drinks. So there we were, a bunch of nobody writers, sitting by the Mannat pool, getting drunk while Shah Rukh regaled us with some of the funniest Bollywood anecdotes ever. It is at times like these that you pause and look back at everything in your life that has led to this moment, trying to remember if you did any hallucinogens recently, because that can be the only explanation for the fact that it is now 5 a.m and the biggest superstar on the planet is giving you a guided tour of his mansion.

And then came the day of the awards. We were squeezed into a little space backstage, watching SRK and Ranbir own the room with their charisma. The laughs were coming thick and fast and that’s when it happened.

Time stood still. Rainbows appeared out of nowhere, while flying unicorns sailed across the room, farting out bursts of summer-scented sunshine, all of which paled in comparison to the ethereal aura that had gently swept across the room.

Madhuri Dixit was on stage.

As you can tell, I’m gay for Madhuri. I don’t usually get star-struck, but when she did an impromptu dhak-dhak bit ten feet away, I was *this* close to rushing on stage and asking her to marry me. I didn’t, only because Dr. Nene seems like a nice man and I don’t want him to be alone.

Later that night, Ranbir won the Best Actor award, which was presented by Rekha, who then won an award for Most Awards Presented By Anybody. Rekha is proof that with the right kind of love and affection, zombies can be a part of regular society too.

We worked hard on the awards, so do check out the telecast on 19th Feb. We hope you like it. If not, you can mail in your suggestions to Mannat, Bandstand, Bandra.



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