Eight members of Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar's family, plus a couple of his close friends all flew down to Mumbai from Pakistan on Saturday for a special screening of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in which Ali plays one of the leads.
The show for Ali Zafar was organized by Yash Raj Films, who have constantly espoused the cause of Indo-Pak amity. Yash Chopra's last directorial venture Veer-Zara underlined the theme of love between the two countries.
And now Ali Zafar says he has experienced nothing but love and hospitality in India in spite of the spectre of 9/11 looming ominously over the calendar and the latest terror attack at the High Court in Delhi.
The screening was followed by a party that Ali threw for the crew of his film and his guest-entourage from across the border. Katrina Kaif, Imran Khan and his wife Avantika, the film's director and a huge crowd of revellers partied the night away.
It was whispered that Aditya Chopra who never attends parties also dropped in for a few minutes, on Ali's special request.
Speaking amidst a clamour of excited voices, Ali said, "Yes, both my parents, my wife, my brother, manager and my PR person are here in Mumbai for a special screening of my film at Yash Raj. Only my mother-in-law couldn't come. She had to stay back to baby sit my baby boy who's too small to travel."
Sadly, Ali's mother fell prey to food poisoning in Mumbai and couldn't attend the screening and party. "But that's okay," Ali consoled himself. "I am disappointed that she couldn't be here for this very special screening. But I've something even more special planned for her as soon as she gets well."
Apparently, Aditya Chopra insisted that Ali visit Chandan Cinema to check out audiences' reactions. Says Ali, "I do want to visit Chandan with my mother and the rest of my family and friends."
The invitees for Ali's party on Saturday night included Aditi Rao his new co-star in London Paris New York.
"But she couldn't make it because her grandmother was unwell," says Ali who is now going to be in Mumbai quite a lot shooting for various films.
How on earth did he manage to get visas for so many of Pakistani co-travellers? Says Ali, "It all because of the goodwill of the Indian government. Not for a minute was I questioned about who was travelling with me. I want to thank everyone in India for making me feel so welcome."
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