A galaxy of film stars from Bollywood and Sandalwood, a host of politicians including AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh descended on Kalghatgi in Dharwad district on Monday to bless newly wed couples in the mega “All Religion Mass Marriage” organised by Kalghatgi MLA Santosh Lad.
As many as 465 couples from various communities including Hindus and Muslims from the district of Dharwad and neighbouring districts entered the wedlock in the mass marriage, which was witnessed by thousands of people.
The event was organised by S. Lad Educational and Charitable Trust, the second annual event to be held in Kalghatgi since Santosh Lad changed constituency to get elected as MLA of Kalghatgi.
Bollywood stars Jackie Shroff, Sohail Khan, Jimmy Shergil, Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Meghana Naidu, director Subhash Ghai, Kannada film stars Murali, Sharmila Mandre, Anu Prabhakar, Mohan, director Nagatihalli Chandrashekhar and several others participated in the event as guests.
Most of the speakers, including Mr. Digvijay Singh, lauded the initiative of Mr. Lad of celebrating his birthday by organising the mass marriage.
Mr. Singh, the former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes, Chairman of the Legislative Council Veeranna Mattikatti, film star and MLA B.C. Patil, the former Minister Amaregouda Bayyapur and others who addressed the gathering, asked the couples who entered the wedlock to provide good education to their children.
Jackie Shroff, Sohail Khan, Jimmy Shergil made brief speeches congratulating the newly wedded couples, while Kannada film star Murali sang a song from his film.
Such was the rush near the stage that the police had to repeatedly use canes to disperse the people who were trying to force their way towards the stage to have a glimpse of the actors.
Despite the huge rush, elaborate arrangements were made for providing food and drinking water to the large number of people who had gathered to witness the event. There was a fair like atmosphere in the area, with several street vendors setting up their stalls on the roadside.
Learning by the previous year's experience, the police had made elaborate arrangements to streamline vehicular movement on the Hubli-Karwar Road between Kalghatgi and Hubli.
Since morning the police diverted the movement of trucks and other heavy vehicles through alternative roads and only public transport buses and vehicles ferrying people to the venue of the mass marriage were allowed. The organisers maintained that they had conducted the marriages of those couples who had valid documents to prove their age.