MINI MATHUR shares with NICHOLA PAIS the ingredients that go into serving up the fun, relaxed, occasionally riotous parties she hosts with husband KABIR KHAN.
Entertaining is an important part of one’s life, be it on a personal level with friends and family, or in work circles with professional associates… What is its relevance in your life?
For me, entertaining is about catching up with people we enjoy and like. No real, deep bonds can be forged until we sit and break bread and sip some wine together. Neither Kabir nor I enjoy entertaining for professional interests or general networking. That is deathly boring and one can’t possibly look forward to those evenings… There are enough occasions to do that. Entertaining for us is letting people into our home and heart. To relax, laugh and catch up on stuff.
Do you entertain a lot? How sociable a person are you?
I am an extremely sociable person compared to Kabir who is a bit of an introvert. But he is good with places where he can talk to people, not just bob his head and smile vacantly. I manage both, hahaha!! But yeah, neither of us enjoys nameless, faceless events where you don’t know half the people and the noise doesn’t allow for any real connect. I was an MTV VJ for years, so been there, done that.
Do you and Kabir prefer hosting parties at home or at a restaurant/ other venue?
Kabir and I have never hosted a party at any other venue but our home. We have an informal, cosy home that we are very proud of and it has a crooked terrace that is full of plants and trees and flowers. Nothing can be as nice as opening your home to friends. Even people we may not know intimately warm up instantly when they see chaos… kids running around, me lighting tea lights, arguing with Kabir about what music to play. Which hotel can offer that???
What are the hallmarks of a great party?
A varied mix of people; some who know each other and some who don’t. Homemade food, served hot and at the right time, not when it’s time for people to roll out. A well-stocked bar. Fantastic music. And most definitely, some mad dancing to warm things up. I know a party has done well when there’s talk of breakfast 😉
So what would you list as the ingredients that go into creating a successful, memorable celebration?
My friends call me a hyper hostess. I always over plan and I don’t relax till all the guests are in and have a drink in their hands. The home must look fresh and smell lovely.I must have a good idea of what each one likes drinking. Vegans and vegetarians must have enough options! I plan the menu carefully and everything is mostly home cooked. I even shop for ingredients and make the sangria jar myself. I love a beautifully set dining table where guests can sit and eat .Which is why I can’t just have any random person over. It’s memorable when people feel cared for, like they spent an evening at their own home.
What is your preference – cozy small parties, or larger more upscale do’s?
Anything we host has to be personal and cozy but not necessarily small. For smaller do’s, I fret a lot about who to invite along with who… sometimes bad combinations can kill the dynamics of an evening. I don’t believe in the “Call everybody every time” principle. But larger celebrations call for a wider circle of friends… but nothing overly large and impersonal. Upscale do’s with lots of people, where the host doesn’t even register a guest’s absence is a waste of time for everyone. So intimate, chatty evenings over large soirees anyday!
As the hostess of the party, what must one keep in mind pre- and during the party?
I flit around making sure everyone has been introduced to each other, everyone has a drink, food preferences, that the lighting is working and the music is the right volume and pace. Only when the party is nice and swinging do I relax and go with the flow. I’m a bit of a joke – everyone keeps asking me to SIT DOWN like they would to a hyper dog.
Would you say you have mastered the art of hosting great parties?
It would be pompous to claim any such thing. Lots of room to learn, always!
Any memorable parties that stand out in your memory for certain special reasons?
I remember an Eid party right after EK THA TIGER was released where we all danced so much that my silver hoops were found stuck on a tree the next morning and lots of overhead glass tea lights were broken! Then there was the time when I got all the ‘Indian Idol’ contestants home for dinner to just let off steam… what a night!
In the film industry, whom would you single out for being great hosts?
I think Saif Ali Khan and Kareena know how to entertain really well. Saif masterminds everything beforehand and it is delightful for an OCD host like me! I love the warmth and openness of all the gatherings and parties at Salman’s home. They are so chilled out and fun, with family and parents and kids. I look forward to Eid, Holi, Ganpati and birthdays. Arpita and Alvira always do a brilliant job!
Arshad Warsi and Maria’s Christmas lunch is an event we look forward to all year. There is no other way to experience the cheer of Christmas. The food, the laughter, the exchange of gifts is so personal.
Katrina has a beautiful home and she manages to look after every detail with such ease that I’m always left gaping. She is a late bloomer but whoa, no one can beat her planning!