Apple of their eye: Tim Cook gets star treatment from celebs at Shah Rukh Khan's party

FP Staff

May,19 2016 10:55 38 IST

Bollywood laid out the red carpet for Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday night — and then queued up to greet him. After a busy day that started with a darshan at Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, and filled with several business meetings, Cook headed to Mannat — Shah Rukh Khan's palatial seaside home — for his date with the Hindi film industry.

Aamir Khan is driven into Mannat on Wednesday night, for the dinner with Tim Cook. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Aamir Khan is driven into Mannat on Wednesday night, for the dinner with Tim Cook. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Who set up the Tim Cook-Shah Rukh Khan meeting?

Perhaps the most discussed meeting on Tim Cook’s itinerary for his India visit was the meeting with Shah Rukh Khan. This, apparently, was at Cook’s request. Media reports on Tuesday stated that Cook’s team had reached out to Shah Rukh Khan for a meeting in the run-up to the Apple chief’s India visit.

However, Shah Rukh suggested that Cook be his guest at a dinner party instead. Sources close to the superstar had mentioned that the gathering would be an informal one, rather than a stiff, formal affair.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had her Sarbjit premiere the same evening. After making an appearance there, she made her way to Shah Rukh Khan's party. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had her Sarbjit premiere the same evening. After making an appearance there, she made her way to Shah Rukh Khan's party. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Whether Cook wanted to meet SRK simply as a cultural exercise, or to discuss a possible collaboration between Apple and Red Chillies (the superstar’s production house/studio) isn’t clear. While plenty of photos from the party itself were shared, Shah Rukh has stayed mum on what (if anything) was discussed between Cook and him.

How it was planned

Cook, it is reported, has been somewhat surprised by the “rockstar reception” he got in India — however, his team had taken several precautions to ensure that some modicum of their chief’s privacy would be maintained.

AR Rahman. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

AR Rahman. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

For instance, a complete recce was made of the Mehboob Studio area as well as of the entry and exit points to Mannat. The gates that were designated for Cook’s use are not meant for the general public, or even “regular” VIPs — these were private, hidden entrances. The routes that Cook would be taken by were worked out on Monday itself.

Meanwhile, security at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in South Mumbai, where Cook was put up, was tightened and the section where the Apple chief was staying, cordoned off completely. The Taj recently played host to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on their India visit, and is no stranger to high-profile guests. However, even by their standards, the arrangements for Cook were labelled extremely hush-hush by those in the know.

Amitabh Bachchan. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Amitabh Bachchan. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Back to Bollywood

From what they’ve shared on social media, it seems clear that the guests at Shah Rukh Khan’s dinner were very excited to meet Tim Cook.

While Shah Rukh Khan shared a group photo, thanking all the guests and Cook for a lovely evening, others, like Sania Mirza posted selfies they’d taken with Cook.

Sania had headed to the dinner after spending the day shooting with Farah Khan (also a guest at the do) for Kapil Sharma’s show.

The Bachchans — Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya — also had a busy night as they first attended the premiere of Aishwarya’s film Sarbjit, before heading to Mannat for the dinner with Cook.

Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit, AR Rahman and Vidhu Vinod Chopra were also present at the bash, while Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej and Akash Ambani, among others, rounded off the non-Bollywood attendees.

The menu for the evening was crafted by celebrity chief Vicky Ratnani.

Cook’s other filmi engagement

Mukesh Bhatt shows Tim Cook around Mehboob Studio. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Mukesh Bhatt shows Tim Cook around Mehboob Studio. Image by Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Tim Cook’s team had got in touch with Mukesh Bhatt in the run-up to his India visit, saying that he wanted to get a glimpse into how the industry worked.

A tour was organised around the sets of Raaz 4 at Mehboob Studio and Cook met with Bhatt (who is the president of the Film and TV Producers Guild of India) there. Bhatt said that Cook was keen to see how Apple could partner with Indian film industry.

Bhatt reportedly had to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding what he knew of Cook's India itinerary.