A palace prepped up like a bride, attendants in shahi sherwanis waiting on you
and one of the best singers in the land to charm you and transport you to a different
world... a setting fit for a king indeed. But settings for kings too don't come
without their custom-built fallacies. And nothing (alas!) is perfect.
With tags like Rs 4,500/- for a couple's pass and Rs 3,000/- for a stag pass, the do at Falaknuma was without doubt the most hyped in town for the New Year's eve. And with one who could croon better than any gracing the event, quite a few people were actually ready to shell out the dough. There was a pinch here and an ouch there, but finally on D-day, Hyderabad's social elite found themselves right where things were happening.
Keeping up shahi and Indian traditions, the show was fashionably late by an hour and a half. The audience was threatened with some painful compeers and DJ Amit before the star of the evening took the stage. "Aa bhi ja," shouted the crowd, and "Tu kaun hai," sang back he. And the evening took off like nothing in Hyderabad ever had. With a band that recognized every cue of his and synched perfectly, Lucky Ali was in fine form.
Dressed as casually as it gets, the man was totally at ease and got the crowd cheering for him, and singing with him with such ease that you'd think the entire thing was fixed. The ladies were in raptures and the men tried their best to sing along and match his melancholic cadences. But not everyone is Lucky Ali, and that is why they were paying to be there and he was being paid to be there!
The songs came one after another and time flew past. One year died down and another rose like a phoenix. There was some confusion as sporadic cheers rose, a few here, a few there. Lucky Ali took a pause in his song to wish the crowd, and 10 minutes after midnight a few crackers were let loose. Err... Happy New Year?
The New Year looked ominous already as the star wound up his show and DJ Amit took centerstage again. Most of the audience fled to the food stalls where another shock awaited them. The 18 courses promised had dwindled down to half a dozen and the cutlery too had run out. Good spirits and the festive bonhomie had people taking it all with good grace, using dessert plates for dinner and forks for fruit salad. The food, though a tad cold, was pretty good. And at the end of it all, the drive back was an interesting mix of dodging drunk maniacs and humming "Aa bhi ja".