It was natural courtesy. How was I to know that a simple invitation would make national headlines?” says Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, about the hue-and-cry made over her inviting Colin Firth and his wife, Livia Giuggioli, to dinner.
She says that when they met at the Oscar party, the Firths had graciously told Abhishek and her to drop in on them when in London. Aishwarya was equally hospitable, saying they were welcome to visit her home when in Mumbai.
She had acted with Colin in
The Last Legion
and was impressed with his Oscar-winning act in
The King’s Speech
. Abhishek and she watched the movie in Auckland. After the New Zealand schedule of
, they had the option of touring the islands, or visiting Australia or Los Angeles. They settled for LA as they hadn’t been there in a while.
Abhishek asked her to accompany him to the NBA All Star game in LA. “I had seen my first football game with him too,” she smiles.
At the stadium, they ran into Hollywood A-listers like Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and singer Rihanna. Soon after, they were invited to walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards.
Aishwarya had once been asked to present the award to the Best Film in the Foreign Language category. But she was filming
The Mistress Of Spices
and couldn’t get away. Over the years, she’s received other invitations but was always too busy.
“This time, since we were on a break and Colin was a strong contender, we decided to be there,” she says. “It was unplanned and made our vacation eventful.”
She points out that back home, an actor is likely to win a lot of awards. But bagging an Oscar is usually once-in-a-lifetime experience. “And because it’s precious, emotions run deep. Colin was overwhelmed. He said, ‘My career just peaked’,” she says.
Seated in the third row at the centre, she had threatened to shout out an inside joke from
The Last Legion
if Colin won. But eventually she just raised a traditional toast to him.