William and Kate join cream of Bollywood on red carpet


The Duchess of Cambridge has brought a touch of regal glamour to a night where Bollywood's brightest stars were on show for the start of the royal couple's India tour.

With William by her side Kate walked the red carpet in Mumbai wearing a glittering blue gown by British designer Jenny Packham and was matched by the leading ladies from Asian cinema.

The night attracted Bollywood royalty including King Khan, as actor Shah Rukh Khan is known to his fans, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, dubbed one of the most beautiful women in the world.

The charity gala night was staged in Bollywood's historic home Mumbai and hosted at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, scene of some the bloody 2008 Mumbai attacks but now a symbol of defiance to the terrorists who killed 31 guests and staff.

The reception and dinner capped an eventful first day in India for the Cambridges and contrasted with an earlier visit to a slum where they walked narrow claustrophobic alleyways past the tiny two-room homes of families.

They also tried their hand at some football training but failed to hit a cone with a ball - which left Kate lamenting: "We both missed. That's terrible."

The Duke and Duchess joined Tendulkar in the city's famous Oval Maidan park for a game of cricket with a group of children at an event showcasing three charities working with disadvantaged youngsters.

Kate showed her prowess with the bat as did William but they both lost their wickets to the world-famous sporting celebrity who proved he can still bowl as well as bat.

The Bollywood night celebrated India's film industry and was hosted by the British High Commission and British Asian Trust, which supports grassroots initiatives in Asia that enable disadvantaged people to transform their lives, and has the Prince of Wales as its founder and president.

Such was the attraction of the royal couple that British High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith jokingly warned the stars against "besieging" the royal couple.

All eyes were on Kate when she arrived wearing the blue gown, with beading detail added in India in tribute to the country, and matching earrings by Indian jeweller Amrapali.

Bollywood superstar Khan was so delighted to meet Kate and William he invited them out on the town with him.

Asked what his first impressions of the Duchess were, Khan said: "Is it OK to say she's extremely beautiful and elegant? Well she is. If they spend more time here I think they'll love it. I could definitely show them a good time. I'll take them out."

Khan, 50, said: "This was the first time I'd met them. He was talking about the collaboration of the British and Indian film industries.

"I was talking about my kids who are studying in London. It's a very short visit and I said they should come back and spend longer here.

"They said they'd love to but they'd had to leave their children at home as their schedule was so jam-packed."

William, smart in a dinner jacket and black tie, and Kate posed on the red carpet, before they attended a champagne reception for some of Mumbai's well-heeled residents.

Among the other guests were Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor, Aamir Khan, actor Rishi Kapoor and film director Farhan Akhtar.

Diners were encouraged to donate to three local charities William and Kate had met at the Oval Maidan - school transport organisation Magic Bus, the Door Step School, which educates youngsters who support their families by working, and India's Childline.