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An affair to remember

entertainment Updated: Apr 21, 2007 11:31 IST
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After the premiere of Guru in Toronto this January, Abhishek proposed marriage to Aishwarya and she accepted. That’s when the couple made their relationship public and were engaged on January

W hen Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai acted together for the first time in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke (2000), no one could have predicted that they would be man and wife, seven years later. Because back then, he was seeing Karisma Kapoor and she was with Salman Khan.

He was struggling to live up to the Bachchan legacy, she had made it big with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Taal. Dhai Akshar Prem Ke didn’t click.. they kept in touch. Abhishek and Karisma got engaged; Aishwarya went through a tumultuous relationship with Salman.

Vrinda Rai didn’t approve of Salman; his violent ways only increased problems between Aishwarya and him. While Aishwarya was shooting for Kuch Naa Kaho at Film City, Salman rammed his car into hers.. that’s when Abhishek intervened to smoothen the matters. But it was only when Salman created a huge rukus on the sets of Chalte Chalte, for which she was shooting with Shah Rukh Khan, that the relationship deteriorated.. and ended.

Farewell to past
Due to some differences between the Bachchan and Kapoor families, the Abhishek-Karisma engagement broke up. Aishwarya Rai was then spoken in the same breath as Viveik Oberoi, with whom she was working in Kyon! Ho Gaya Na.. He stood by her as a support after her accident during the shooting of Khakee and the split with Salman. And Abhishek immer-sed himself in work, growing with every film.

Although there were rumours about him dating Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta and Dipannita Sharma, he dismissed them as rumours.

Viveik Oberoi’s frank talk about their relationship didn’t go down well with Ash, who preferred to keep her personal life away from media glare. There was a parting of ways. According to sources, “It was during the shooting of Umrao Jaan that equations changed and they became more than just friends. Aishwarya was constantly in touch with Abhishek while Amitji was hospitalised.” Apparently, love was in the air sometime in the middle of the schedule.. after Abhishek joined the unit in Jaipur.

Are they, aren’t they?
Aishwarya was given special attention at Abhishek’s birthday bash last year. After that, the couple has been in the news constantly for regular updates on their relationship. Stories about their impending wedding gained momentum after uncle Ajitabh Bachchan reportedly got their horoscopes matched by the family astrologer Chandrashekhar Swami in Bangalore.

Gradually they began to make appearances together.. like at the screening of Mission Impossible:3 and X-Men 3.. when they got time off from the shooting of Guru in Chennai. They visited the cancer ward of a local hospital, where they spent some time interacting with the children.

That the couple were very much in love was evident from their frequent appearances at various events; whether it was the launch of lensman Dabboo Ratnani’s calendar or the premiere of Baabul or the promotional functions of Umrao Jaan.

A new beginning
The couple remained non-committal though even when Aishwarya accompanied the Bachchan family to perform a series of pujas with Abhishek at Kashi Vishwanath and Sankat Mochan temples in Varanasi. Sources close to the couple confirmed that they were indeed serious about taking the relationship to the altar.