Highlights Of The Wedding
• The royal theme is going to be a leitmotif throughout as a nod to the family’s heritage.
• The Mehendi night is going to be really special as it will take guests back to the Mughal era.
• Wedding favourites Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra and Faraz Manan have been roped in to prepare the trousseau
• The wedding will have both, contemporary parties and traditional rituals.
• The food is being catered to from Taj Lands End in India since most of the events are taking place at this beautiful hotel.
• Expect a lot of celebrities from cricketers to film stars at the various events.
Is 2018, the year of big, beautiful weddings? A time to reaffirm faith in love, family ties and their myriad expressions? Going by the trend this summer, it would certainly seem so. A few weeks ago, the entire subcontinent was glued to their television sets and social media accounts following the wedding of Sonam Kapoor to Anand Ahuja. And let’s face it, it was quite a treat to see A-listers like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh and others dancing and having uninhibited fun, while the bride and groom beamed with happiness as they entered a new chapter in their lives! Then it was the turn of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle to exchange vows in a ceremony that the world watched with stars in their eyes.
Well, there is one more fairytale wedding waiting to unfold this month and it actually involves royalty! Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Ul Mulk Holdings, a multi-million dollar group with diversified business interests in property, commodities, power generation, renewable energy and cricket (he is the founder of the popular T10 Cricket League that had its first edition in 2017) is currently busy with a project that’s probably the closest to his heart – the marriage of his son Adnan to Mumbai-based Nida Farooqui. The massive gala will take place in Mumbai across four days (with possibly more surprises thrown in) and has all the elements of a true blue royal wedding designed to stun you with its extravagance. The grandeur is not surprising considering the Ul Mulks’ legacy that dates back to the era of the Nawab of Kurnool, a region in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
We bring you exclusive details of what is undoubtedly going to be the society wedding of the year in the UAE!
Opulent Weddings: A Family History
Shaji Ul Mulk is no stranger to big weddings. A few years ago, he had married off his daughter (also named Nida) in style at a big ceremony at Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah that was attended by the likes of former Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf and other dignitaries. The hotel had been transformed into a Mughal era palace, there were dancers, awesome designs and jaw-dropping décor that made headlines. Now, exactly five years later, he is all set to repeat the act, in a bigger way for his only son Adnan. Organised by Cineyug Celebrations, an arm of event management company, Cineyug, this one is also going to be a celebrity-driven, lavish bash with guests from all over the world flying in. (Check Pg 62 for the detailed break-up of events and ceremonies)
“Yes, it is going to be a royal wedding, though of course the word ‘grand’ is quite subjective,” laughs Shaji Ul Mulk, when we talk to him about the preparations. “My objective is to pay tribute to our family history, to showcase our traditions and create a semblance of the past.”
The Ul Mulk family
It’s perhaps got to do with his family history (see facing page). As royalty, big weddings perhaps run in his DNA and is part of the culture. Ul Mulk recalls that Nawabs of that era got married at an unimaginable scale. The whole town would be invited and the festivities would go on for two-three weeks. When his grandfather got married, the celebrations had continued for days across villages with members of other royal families also attending to bless the couple. How grand was his own wedding? “Pretty big, there were 4000 guests,” he chuckles. “My wedding was more modern, it was held in Hyderabad as that’s where my wife hails from. It is traditional to hold the wedding in the town of the bride.”
Of course, it would not be appropriate to compare the sumptuousness of the 19th century to the modern approach of the 21st but that doesn’t make it any less magnificent. The Ul Mulks have planned an event that not just pays homage to their royal lineage but also doffs a hat to present day mores and values. Thus it has the regular functions and rituals but conducted on a grand scale with celebrities and guests from India, Pakistan, the UAE, UK and other parts of the world. The lead up to the wedding began when Adnan announced his decision to marry Nida. Apparently, he had met the Mumbai based IT professional at a wedding and it was love at first sight. “We didn’t realize he had any such plans. We always assumed he might tie the knot with a Dubai girl. But one fine day he came and told us about Nida whose family is into the IT field. One thing led to another and here we are!”
The engagement was held at the Palazzo Versace last November and was attended by celebrities like Shahid Afridi. That winter engagement is now being succeeded by an opulent summer wedding.
Celebrities & Guests
What’s a big Indian wedding without the celeb quotient, right? The Ul Mulk wedding isn’t going to be left behind as far as star value is concerned. Noted lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar, a long-time family friend, will be there to support and cheer them. One of the highlights of the wedding is the title (or Khitab) being conferred on Nida. According to tradition, this title is given to the ladies who enter the royal family and Adnan’s wife will be honoured with the same.
Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk with Shahid Afridi and the bridal couple at the engagement
As far as celeb attendance go, rumour has it that Dia Mirza will be emceeing the event. Of course, the big names will be revealed only closer to the actual dates as sources say, the family has a long relationship with Bollywood stars and a lot of them are expected to grace the evening. Some of the glamorous names who will be present include Urvashi Rautela and Elli Avaram among others. Singer Jonita Gandhi will be entertaining guests and performers are being flown in from Germany for an exotic touch to the proceedings, say sources.
Javed Akhtar will be attending the wedding
The guests are definitely going to be pampered a lot. The family is not just hosting them but is also making arrangements for their gorgeous outfits. The men will all be gifted sherwanis to wear which are especially being prepared by the label Libas Riyaz Gangji according to their specifications. “The guests are going to be looked after really well,” says a source from Cineyug Celebrations. “
Fun, fiesta and festivities… this big party has all the ingredients of a full-fledged blockbuster. Keep watching our social media and online space (www.masala.com) for regular updates on UAE’s very own Royal Wedding!
Left to right: Nawab Alaf Khan Bahadur, Nawab Ibrahim Khan and Nawab Daud Khan Panni
The Ul Mulk family history is fascinating to say the least. Shaji Ul Mulk traces his roots to the Nawab of Kurnool in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It’s said his family ruled South India’s Kurnool area and fought the British colonial powers alongside the legendary ruler of Mysore in South India - Tipu Sultan. But years before that, the royal connection started with Nawab Daud Khan Panni, Emperor Aurangzeb’s loyal commander. When Aurangzeb conquered Deccan and Kurnool was annexed, Daud Khan Panni was appointed the Nawab of Kurnool on whom the title ‘Nawab’ was conferred. With him, commenced the long reign of the Nawabs. After the Mughal empire weakened, the Nawabs of Kurnool declared themselves independent of the dynasty and ruled by themselves for over 200 years. Back then, Kurnool was the capital of the whole state including Hyderabad and Mysore.
What: Welcome Dinner – Soulful Suifiyana Musical Night
Venue: Taj Lands End
Highlight: It is, as mentioned before, going to be an occasion for the families to be introduced to each other’s history and legacies. It will also give the guests who are coming from all across the world, an insight into the lives of the Farooquis and the Ul Mulks. There will be lots of music, live performances, dhols and entertainers.
Dress Code: Men will be expected to wear white churidar kurta while women will be dressed in their pastel best. Sufi caps are optional but preferred.
What: Mehendi and Sangeet – Musical Night, An evening of Mughal Decadence
Venue: Taj Lands End
Highlight: The royal touch comes in the Mehendi night with its Mughal theme. From the décor to the costumes of the hostesses, from the food to the music, everything will take you back to the era of opulence and affluence. A culturally rich evening, guests can expect a Mughal-e-Azam like ambiance with a special entry by the bridal couple, fit for a prince and princess. It’s going to be a sight you are unlikely to forget.
Dress Code: Mughal Era Attire. So guests can bring out their brocades and emeralds, jamas and farshis.
What: Haldi Ka Rasam
Venue: Taj Lands End
Highlight: An important and touching part of Indian wedding celebrations, the haldi ka rasam sees the bride being slathered with turmeric paste which is symbolic of being a cleanser for the body and soul, it signifies the bride’s preparation and welcoming into adult married life.
Dress Code: Floral yellow for the ladies and shades of white and yellow for men
Venue: JVPD Grounds
Highlight: The real deal. The Nikah will be the most traditional part of the entire event.
Dress Code: Royal sherwanis for men and glamorous sari for women. You can expect a sea of colours and some stunning ethnic wear.
What: Walima – Ebony and Ivory
Highlight: A proper celebration of the Nikah, this will have the family and friends coming together to bless the couple in the evening
Dress Code: Black and white Tux for men and evening gowns for women. Imagine how glitzy it is going to be!