Grand celebration for Anandji’s 90th birthday
Under a cool springtime breeze, the celebrations for the legendary Anandji’s 90th birthday were held in grand manner at the Jade Gardens in Mumbai’s Worli on March 2. This delayed coverage is solely because the pictures of the occasion arrived later than promised!
Anandjibhai, as he is popularly known, was elegantly dressed in a dark Indian style suit and accompanied on stage by his graceful wife Shantaben. The composer’s incredible robustness came to the fore as he was mostly standing tirelessly as family, friends, associates and celebrities came to greet him—for over five hours!
The multi-cuisine and massive buffet spread had Gujarati, South Indian, Bengali, Maharashtrian and North Indian delicacies alongside continental and oriental items. Instrumental music, mainly from Kalyanji-Anandji hits, played softly in the background and a cake was cut as a part of the small formal ceremony.
A photograph of Anandji’s late daughter, Rita, held prominence on stage and her London-based husband and family were also present. As a part of her remembrance was her favorite dish, aamras, that was perhaps the most in demand in that massive food spread.
The atmosphere was informal and joyous and among the incredible array of guests were noted industrialists, tycoons and doctors. From the film and music industry, the list was led by Asha Bhosle and Jaya Bachchan and also included children from Anandji’s music group, Little Stars.
Among the many guests were the younger admirers of Anandji, like composers Anu Malik, Lalit Pandit, (Anand)-Milind and Shamir Tandon and singers Shaan and Sonu Nigam. The associates and protégés present included singers Alka Yagnik, Sadhana Sargam, Sapna Mukherjee, Nitin Mukesh, Sudesh Bhosle, Akriti Kakar, Divya Kumar, Anup Jalota, lyricists Sameer and Javed Akhtar, singer Mahendra Kapoor’s son, actor-singer Ruhaan Kapoor and filmmaker Prakash Mehra’s son Punit.
Jackie Shroff, Indian Performing Rights Society’s chief Rakesh Nigam, Indian Singers’ Royalty Association chief Sanjay Tandon, Rajil Sayani, son of Ameen Sayani, Johny Lever and mimic Chetan Sashital (both also mentored by Kalyanji-Anandji), were also present along with Anandji’s and Kalyanji’s family members, of which the illustrious musician names, brother Babla and nephew Viju Shah, were prominent.