In the final moments before take-off Mustafa Aolad made his usual round of checks.

He ensured gauges were in working order, made contact with air traffic controllers and glanced distractedly around the cockpit as a Hindu priest blessed his Douglas Dakota DC-3 aircraft.

By the time he touched the vintage passenger-liner down on the runaway half an hour later his career was following an unlikely trajectory.

Mustafa, 45, a chartered pilot from Wallington, had enhanced his reputation as the master of mile-high Bollywood wedding ceremonies.

The flight last week seemed one of his more demanding aviation tasks. Kanti Majithia, 66, was marrying his sweetheart, Sarla Pabari, 62, and the couple, with a precision little short of military, had set out instructions for their big day.

In the morning the congregation would be served a traditional Indian breakfast by staff kitted out in colonial tunics or uniforms befitting the biggest cruise liners of the early 20th century.

The cuisine was to be laid out at the Jaipur restaurant, chosen because its broad verandas, high ceilings and Belgian chandeliers recalled the classical architecture of the British Raj.

After a hot cup of cha, a fleet of white stretch limousines would then whisk the 30 guests to a local registry office for a formal ceremony.

The bride and groom were to follow in a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. And then Mustafa would help them reach new heights of good taste, with a marriage, quite literally, made in the heavens.

He says: "The theme of the wedding was to capture the romance of the bygone era when romance was the order of the day.

"My crew were waiting at the local airfield, along with a priest, so we could help the young couple to fulfil their ambitious dreams of getting married in an aircraft from the golden age of aviation. It was in Royal Airforce markings and escorted by a World War II fighter.

"We were attempting to recreate a scene from the Bollywood blockbuster Sangam, and obviously located the aeroplanes of that era. The 30-minute flight culminated in the couple exchanging wedding vows in the aircraft 2,000ft up."

Indian weddings, still an important indicator of social prestige and wealth, were once the preserve of the bride's mother, who diligently booked florists, caterers and musicians.

Now, with wedding planners muscling in on the lucrative industry, local pilots such as Mustafa are increasingly fielding calls from middle-class families striving to put Bollywood into their weddings.

A former pilot in the Bangladesh Air Force, Mustafa never seemed destined to live out his days ferrying hordes of hedonistic British holidaymakers to the Balearic islands.

He first achieved minor fame in this country with his "Chopperdom" flying restaurant that winged baltis and biryanis around Britain.

The success of the dial-a-curry service can perhaps be measured against the calibre of celebrities it served. Shortly after its launch in 1992, reports circulated of Syd Little and Ed Large, Cliff Richard and John Major sating their curry cravings by ordering the long-haul takeaways.

Soon international stops were added in Australia, New York and Los Angeles. Stars such as Hugh Hefner, Ice T and soul-singing scientologist Isaac Hayes all apparently tucked into Mustafa's massalas and marinated spring lamb.

His entrepreneurial zeal came to the attention of to Sutton Guardian readers last May when he remortgaged his suburban home to reassemble a crashed passenger jet into a restaurant in Bangladesh.

Inspired by converted railway carriages, he travelled to an auction and waited for a wrecked Fokker F-28 to come under the gavel.

Over the next two years he would lavish £100,000 and 50 workers on the project, which is documented on the YouTube video-sharing website.

The main difficulty involved transporting the 29-tonne aircraft 230 miles from the crash site at Shyhet airport. It was sliced into four sections and lifted on to lorries with a crane. At its destination in Dhaka, the capital city, the wings, fuselage and flight deck were refitted and refurbished as a restaurant.

His unlikely culinary vision was not shared by Mustafa's family. "Everyone thought it was a crazy idea and it would never get off the ground. They thought it was an impossibility.

"When it finished it was a massive relief for everybody - my uncles, aunties, cousins, my wife. I did feel like I'd proved people wrong."

The eaterie was opened by the Bangladesh cricket team and led to him meeting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Its success appeared to lie in giving diners a taste of the unknown. "Bangladesh is a third world country and only the elite and upper-classes ever get to fly," Mustafa says.

"Ninety-eight per cent of the population have never seen in the inside of an aircraft. The restaurant is not overpriced and it has given thousands of people the chance to see what the inside of a plane looks like for the first time."