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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Belgium hosts Bollywood wedding
Amber Palace
The Amber Palace of Jaipur was recreated
The opulence of Bollywood was recreated in Belgium for a lavish double wedding thrown by India's wealthy Shah family in a replica of an Indian palace.

The Amber Palace of Jaipur was built around an exhibition hall in Mechelen for a week of celebrations for 5,000 guests, costing a reported £10m.

Devdas
Sets from the film Devdas were transported to Belgium
Diamond businessman Vijay Shah was the host of the event as he watched his son, Vishal, and daughter, Priya, marry.

The wood and silk mock-up of the Amber Palace was designed and executed by Bollywood designer Nitin Desai, who was a set designer on such movies as Devdas and Lagaan.

Original sets from Devdas, India's most expensive film, were shipped over to form a backdrop to the party.

Set designer

Also involved in the preparations were designers Sandeep Khosla and Abu Jani, who have worked on James Bond films as well as creating an Oscars ceremony dress for Dame Judi Dench.

Special guests from cream of Bollywood were also expected to be in attendance, but no big names have yet been revealed.

Vijay's brother Bharat Shah, said to be Bollywood's biggest financier, currently faces charges of conspiracy with an alleged gangland boss.

But the Times of India newspaper said the country's Supreme Court granted permission for the film producer to go to Belgium for the wedding, which started with a huge party on Friday.

He has been on bail since April while the case against him continues in a special Bombay court.

Illustrious guest list

The Shah family are involved in the diamond trade and have links to the business's nexus in Antwerp, 16 miles away from Mechelen.

The Times of India said Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Urmila Matondkar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai were expected to be among the 5,000 guests.

"We have invited the crème de la crème from across the world," Bharat Shah, who has always denied wrongdoing, said before the celebrations began.

Bharat Shah
Bharat Shah was said to have been given bail to attend the wedding
It was recently revealed that police are also investigating allegations that the film producer received gangland funds to make Devdas, the most expensive Bollywood film ever.

The whole film industry in Bombay is in the process of dealing with allegations of widespread criminal involvement.

Shah has asked for police protection, along with other stars, after receiving underworld threats.

Gangsters are also known to have issued extortion threats to actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, and Salman Khan, as well as actresses Urmila Matondkar, Juhi Chawla and Sonali Bendre.

See also:

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