They never did confirm the date but celebrations for the endlessly discussed Aiia Bhatt-Ranbir Kapoor wedding appeared to have kicked off on Wednesday with friends and family, including father of the bride Mahesh Bhatt and mother of the groom Neetu Kapoor, seen driving into the couple’s apartment complex.
With no concrete information from either family, it was all about the optics.
Hordes of media personnel kept vigil outside the Bandra apartment 'Vastu', situated in a usually quiet lane that today was the cynosure of attention with telephoto lens focused closely on occupants behind rolled up car windows. That many of the guests were dressed in yellow and green finery gave credence to speculation that it was the ‘haldi’ and ‘mehendi’ ceremony.
According to Yusuf Ibrahim, Alia Bhatt’s security in-charge, the team has been asked to provide protection for four-five days.
"The wedding is indeed happening… The families have started arriving," Ibrahim told PTI without getting into any more details.
The speculation is that the wedding might happen on Thursday.
For reporters and photographers tasked with covering the star wedding, the last several days have been akin to piecing together a jigsaw - white curtains used as screens on windows, celeb designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee branded bags going in, stray comments from family and studied silence from Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor.
Reporters stationed outside the building spotted Neetu Kapoor as well as her daughter Riddhima Kapoor Sahni and granddaughter Samara who arrived together. Ranbir Kapoor’s cousins, actors Kareena Kapoor Khan and Karisma Kapoor, and Aadar Jain and Armaan Jain along with their mother Rima Jain reached shortly after.
Filmmakers Karan Johar and Ayan Mukerji, the couple's close friends, were also inside.
A fleet of vans covered in white curtains were seen entering the apartment complex, leading many to speculate that the bride was travelling in one of those vehicles to avoid getting 'papped'.
Around 3.30 pm, Mahesh Bhatt and Alia Bhatt’s half-sister, actor Pooja Bhatt were photographed reaching the building.
Apart from a battery of media persons outside the residence, and the couple's private security, policemen were deployed for security. “We have put police security in an attempt to maintain law and order as well as controlling the crowd at the venue, where the wedding of the couple is scheduled," a Mumbai Police official said.
The couple’s security team as well as police personnel present on ground tried to make a clear passage for the guests' cars which were being repeatedly blocked by the paparazzi. To prevent any pictures from the wedding getting leaked, red stickers were put on mobile phones of all security staff members stationed at the building to distinguish them from the media.
An apartment in Vastu where the couple lives on different floors was illuminated on Tuesday evening while the Kapoor family’s sprawling bungalow in Chembur has also been decked up with flowers and lights.
For many journalists, particularly women, stationed outside to capture any details they could, it was a harrowing experience - and not just because so few details were forthcoming. As morning stretched into evening, several journalists rued the lack of essential facilities, especially washrooms. One good Samaritan living in the building adjacent to 'Vastu' opened the doors of her home so women reporters could use the toilet and offered water to media personnel.
The day began with Mukerji releasing a gift on Instagram, a teaser of a romantic track from his upcoming movie ‘Brahmastra’, which stars the couple and is produced by Johar.
"For Ranbir and for Alia! And... For this sacred journey they are going to embark on soon! Ranbir and Alia... my closest and dearest people in this world... My happy place, and my safe place... Who have added everything to my life... And given themselves completely and selflessly to our movie! We just had to share a piece of their union, from our movie, from our song Kesariya, to celebrate them... as a gift to them, and to everyone (sic)," the filmmaker wrote.
The video ends with a message from the team of ‘Brahmastra’ wishing the couple "all the love and light".
Johar, who has produced ‘Brahmastra’ via Dharma Productions, shared the same teaser on his Instagram page. “Love is light and I know the amount of light you have brought into each other’s and our lives with your love. To new beginnings and more #RanbirKapoor @aliaabhatt #brahmastra (sic),” he wrote.
Neetu Kapoor, on her part, went down memory lane about her own engagement to her late husband and veteran actor Rishi Kapoor. “Fond memories of baisakhi day as we got engaged 43 years back on 13th April 1979 (sic),” the veteran actor wrote on Instagram.
As in previous celebrity weddings, when hashtags such as 'Virushka', 'Deepveer' and 'Vickat' became trends, the social media celeb buzz of the day was 'Ranlia' and 'Ralia', a portmanteau of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt's first names.
The two started dating while filming ‘Brahmastra’, which has been in the making for eight years.
[With Inputs From PTI]