Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is presently the desi newsmaker at Cannes. But come June and her father-in-law could be the one making news in France. Amitabh Bachchan will be a guest of honour at the 17th edition of Bal de l’Ete in Monaco, scheduled to be held from June 22-24. The theme this year is ‘Princess of Rajasthan’. Maharana Shriji Arvind Singhji Mewar of Udaipur, with fashion designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Raghavendra Rathore are also on the guest list.
Says Bachchan, “Monaco is not a film festival. It’s an invitation from the royal family to be part of their Bal de l’Ete, a gala with an Indian theme this year, for a local charity and the cause of the girl child. Jaya (Bachchan) and I will be attending, but I’m not sure about Abhishek and Aishwarya. Abhishek has shooting commitments.”
Bachchan, who is the Goodwill Ambassador for the Polio UNICEF campaign, recently gave his granddaughter her first polio vaccine. “I have supported the cause of eradicating the ailment for years and I celebrate the fact that the country has been free of polio cases for a year. So it felt good to be practicing what one has preached,” he says.
Meanwhile, it’s been reported that the school in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, in Aishwarya’s name is finally cleared for construction. Bring up the subject, and Bachchan says that the school is now the responsibility of the village ‘pradhan’ (head) to whom they have donated the land along with a financial contribution. “It has been a frustrating experience that has attracted unnecessary speculation and controversy,” he rues. “I don’t even know what the school will be named if it comes up. I hope it does, but we are no longer responsible or accountable for it.”