Aishwarya Rai, who is currently busy with the Bachchans' Unforgettable concert, says that as a co-star she had often asked Abhishek to experience a world tour. And when he finally agreed to it, they are dancing as husband and wife.
Excerpts from an interview:
It seems jetlag was invented for you and Abhishek?
Ha! I grabbed this opportunity to come back home because Abhishek had to attend an event. I came back to see my father. That's been a gnawing concern all through ever since my father fell ill. The first couple of the Unforgettable shows were really difficult because I didn't get enough time to rehearse. But after that it's been fantastic.
In spite of the fact that you couldn't rehearse enough?
I was ill for three weeks before we left. I was on antibiotics throughout. I barely had five days to rehearse before we left. Only I know what it took for me to look chipper at the press conference.
How could you dance after getting up from your illness?
The first two shows were really tough on me. I had to do everything in my power to not let my post-illness weakness show. I practically learnt my steps during the shows. I just had the last three-four nights to first watch the acts and then try to learn them.
You must be torn between the anxiety for your father and the ecstasy of dancing live?
I am. My father is such a strong man. And so is my mother. They're both going through his illness and recuperation together. My father is the strongest man I know. His faith in the power of healing is so strong. I feel his strength and also the love of all those who have sent their genuine concern. He has gone through his second cycle of chemotherapy and now he's going through his third. It's not easy for us.
Wouldn't you've preferred to stay home at this time?
My father wouldn't allow that. My parents are made of incredible substance. When I was toying with the idea of backing out of the tour, they put their foot down. My dad was like, 'No way. Life goes on. There's no way I'll let you take steps back'.
The international press has gone ga-ga over your dancing?
I enjoy dancing and I'm having the time of my life. But I wanted to come back to Mumbai for a while to spend time with dad. If it was London, it would be a hopping flight. But from the US, you lose time because you cross the meridian line. So much as I'd like to come back every week from the concerts, I can't. But I just had to see dad. And this weekend we just had one show. Now we return to do a show in Houston.
How is it dancing with Madhuri Dixit?
For the two of us it's like old times again. We felt we were both back to doing Devdas together.
You hadn't forgotten your Dola re steps?
You know muscle memory never lets a dancer down. If you're a dancer, you never forget steps for a song or dance you've done before. When the music plays the body just takes flight. And that's the best way to dance.
Dancing with the whole family - is that a new high?
It's a wonderful experience. We've danced together on screen and also performed together. But we've never been on a concert tour together. These concerts are special because we're doing them as a family and it's the first concert Abhishek and I are doing after marriage. Even the audiences all over now respond to us as a couple. They keep showering us with blessings and good wishes.
And when we perform to the Guru song, you should hear how they coo and clap. You know, when we were co-stars, I always told Abhishek a world tour is something he must experience. It's just such a high to connect on such an intimate basis with your audience.
In fact, for one of my world tours I had even asked my organisers to ask him to come onboard. He'd say, 'Not yet, not yet'. And now who would've thought when he's finally ready for his first world tour, we'd go together as husband and wife.
Your best shared moment during the concerts so far?
After the performance at Amsterdam, I looked at Abhishek and asked how it felt. And he reminded me that I had urged him to go on stage from long before. 'And now we're on stage as husband and wife,' he said. That was a memorable moment.
A section of your friends in Mumbai continue to believe the shows aren't doing well?
What do you do? I've spent a entire career fighting off false perceptions about my life and career.
Do you improvise in the programming for each concert?
Well, we added Dola re in the US when Madhuri came on board. Abhishek and I have also added a romantic act. Most of the show is pre-set, but we're modifying it here and there. As the number of performances increases we're having more and more fun. We're getting more and more interactive with the audience.