When the party season kicks off, we sure mean business. Busy evenings, glorious outfits, camera flashes and beautiful people everywhere. Not the best time to wish for a quiet night in; we really have no choice but to put our best foot forward.
So the first stop is the much-awaited cinematic celebration — the Dubai International Film Festival 2014, this year being the 11th edition. My thoughts immediately go back to its debut when I covered the event for my television show on the other side of the red carpet as I interviewed the stars. Walking the red carpet on Wednesday in my royal blue Meher & Ridhhima gown was different, yet I have enjoyed being on both sides.
Every year, I have been a regular admirer, supporter and fan of this festival. It makes me immensely proud that Dubai is the able host of an event of this magnitude, where talents from the Arab world, India, Pakistan and Hollywood all come together seamlessly. The red carpet opening night was an event to be remembered. Indian singing legend Asha Bhosle and Egyptian actor Nour Al Sharif were awarded lifetime achievement awards.
A quick change and I was on my way to GQ at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The brainchild of Indian doubles star Mahesh Bhupathi, IPTL or International Premier Tennis League, has attracted some of the sport’s biggest names such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. They will represent four franchisee-owned teams: Manila Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Indian Aces and the UAE Royals.
And anyone who has had a crush on the handsome Goran Ivanisevic will be happy to know that he is just as charming as he was when he was playing tennis in the late ’90s. I got to chat with him and the world number one Novak Djokovic no less, and even got an invite to his after-party. Doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic invited me to a game, to watch — mind you, not play! Mahesh looked like a satisfied person that evening. He told me how happy he is with the way this has shaped up, as the competition has moved to its final leg in Dubai over this weekend. ‘Crazy but fun’, as described by Roger Federer, IPTL surely has Dubai going insane and flocking towards Hamdan Sports Complex.
Many interesting conversations later, it was still hard to tear myself away from the star-studded evening. It was one hard evening for my poor feet in those killer heels. But I’m not complaining. How often does one get to hang out with the finest names in film and sports all in a day’s work? And with those happy thoughts, I trotted back home with a mental promise of yet another hectic week of work and partying.