Last week, Lara Dutta was one of the special invitees at Hollywood actor John Cusack's brother Bill's wedding. According to the B-Town grapevine, Bill had been dating actress Celina Jaitly, a couple of years ago. Says Lara, "It was a moving experience. I got to attend my first Thanksgiving with the Cusack clan. I know Bill through work and I was in LA attending the NBA match. After the match, I went to New York for Bill's wedding."
Lara wore a fawn-coloured traditional Tarun Tahiliani saree at the wedding. Lara adds laughingly, "It was a Catholic wedding; I was the only one in a saree, so people kept staring. No one expected me to wear a saree and yes, don't ask me what it was but I gave Bill and his bride a very traditional Indian gift too!" John and Bill Cusack were not the only Hollywood stars Lara met. She says, "I was thrilled because I got to meet one of my favourite actors Jack Nicholson at the NBA game at Staple Centre.
We were all sitting in the same area where Andy Garcia and Jack were also sitting. Jack is a very enthusiastic sports-watcher. It was an LA Lakers vs Sacramento Kings game and Dino, Jack and I were supporting the LA Lakers. Dino and I were treated like royalty and taken on a guided tour at Staple Centre.
We got a chance to see the inner sanctum the locker rooms of the basketball icons like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I got a chance to dance with the Laker cheerleaders and choreographed a segment with Hindi steps."
However the icing on Lara's cake was when she got to talk to Jack. "At half-time, when we retired to the Chamber Lounge, we bumped into sport stars like David Beckham and Jack Nicholson. Jack is great fun to be with. He was very nice and chatted with us about Indian films. Andy said he watches Bollywood movies. No one treated us like a kid but as actors."
Lara feels that the NBA is doing a great job in promoting basketball in India. "I love basketball. NBA is doing some amazing work like putting up Hoop Schools which are educational centres in backward areas and coach young talent. Soon, we will see an NBA player emerging from India."