White House keeps suspense alive on Manmohan Singh's banquet details

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Washington, Nov. 24 (ANI): As the White House gets ready to witness the first State dinner of the Obama era in honour of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speculations over the list of invitees and attire to be worn by the glamorous guests kept the rumour mills abuzz.

According to The Times, the dinner to be held in a tent village on the South Lawn of the White House will have music from the composer of the Slumdog Millionaire theme, food from an Ethiopian-born Swedish chef and cedar chips sprinkled on the roofs of the portable lavatories. There may also be the faint patter of drizzle on canvas.

Invitations to the banquet for Manmohan Singh are the most sought after in town.

Michelle Obama personally supervised the compilation of a guest list 400 names long and the creation of a menu of global cuisine that would "include a curry dish".

According to sources, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the billionaire founders of Dreamworks SKG are said to be on the list.

According to sources in the Indian delegation, billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata will be part of 13-strong group of business leaders whose presence in Washington with Singh underlines the central theme of the first state visit: commerce.

The dress code is formal and the identity of Michelle Obama's designer was being kept secret.

"We still want our guests to be surprised. We just want the guests' experience to be perfect," her spokeswoman said.

While the White House is mum about who will be among the 300 or so lucky invitees to Obama's first state dinner, word is already leaking out about who's not on the A-list.

Republican lawmakers John A. Boehner, Eric Cantor, Sen. John McCain and Adm. Mike Mullen are some of the names who have not been invited for the banquet.

Although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be there, her husband, Bill Clinton- a fierce Obama critic during his wife's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination - will not attend. (ANI)

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