December 28, 2011

Ambani brothers dance to mother Kokilaben's reunion tune

Junagadh: A traditional raas garba was Kokilaben's way of bringing the Ambani family together on the eve of Dhirubhai Ambani's 80th birth anniversary. The get-together at Chorwad in Gujarat on Tuesday was the biggest family show since 'ownership issues' between Mukesh and Anil Ambani divided the Reliance empire in 2005.

The two brothers hugged and talked earnestly as their wives and children joined the dance. On Tuesday, the two brothers hugged each other at their ancestral home in the coastal town of Chorwad, where their illustrious father Dhirubhai Ambani spent his childhood. They performed havan at the home, which is being converted into a museum in memory of their father, and even paid homage at the temple of Goddess Chorwadi, or Chorwad Bhavani.

The two brothers and their families, along with matriarch Kokilaben, will spend two days at the two-storied family home to commemorate Dhirubhai's 80th birth anniversary on December 28.

The last time that this coastal village had really come alive was way back in 1996, when Dhirubhai Ambani, along with Mukesh and Anil, threw a sumptuous feast for four villages - Chorward, Kukaswada, Kanek and Jujarpur. Dhirubhai had made it a point to thank all old friends and villagers, who had kept badhaas (vows) for his fast recovery after he suffered a heart attack some time before that.

After 15 years, Chorwad is once again bustling with excitement with the Ambani brothers coming together in the town. Miles away from Mumbai, where talk of their six-year-old squabble is slowly dying out, it was nothing short of a homecoming for the family. The Ambanis performed a havan and pooja in the presence of family guru Rameshbhai Oza inside the house. Talking to mediamen on Monday, Kokilaben had said "there is love between Mukesh and Anil" and that the family stands united, triggering speculation of an important business announcement.

The excitement in the town was visible since morning with hordes of villagers lining up across the narrow coastal highway for a glimpse of the brothers. Anil arrived at around 9.30 am with wife Tina and two sons. He entered the house after seeking the blessings of his mother.

Mukesh Ambani landed in his chopper at around 1 pm and drove straight to the house with Nita and three children. He received spontaneous applause from villagers gathered outside the house. The entire function remained a fiercely guarded family affair.

"Kokilaben has a strong emotional bonding with this house - Dhirubhai no delo. She lived with Dhirubhai here after their marriage. Both Mukesh and Anil will stay here for two days," said Parimal Nathwani, group president, Reliance Industries.

While the family remained closeted inside the house, several villagers were seen making desperate pleas to the company officials to let them meet the Ambanis. "My brother is an excellent cricketer. I want to meet Nitaben as I strongly believe that she would help him get a chance in IPL," said Vikram Kher, a shopkeeper from Mangrol. Gaurang Joshi, an engineer, had been camping outside the house since morning. "Dhirubhai is a great source of inspiration for me. I only want Kokilaben to give her blessings on a piece of paper." Joshi's grandfather knew Dhirubhai very well, he said.

Kukaswada sarpanch Bhima Bhadarka said, "I had gone to meet Kokilaben in Mumbai a few years ago. We all are very happy that both brothers and their entire family have come here. We are praying for their well-being."