Ultimately, what happened inside Prateeksha was a wedding. Two young people vowed, in an elaborate ceremony performed by 11 priests and witnessed by an intimate circle of family and friends, to officially share their lives and in time, bring up a family of their own.
No different really, from any other wedding. Inside Prateeksha, that is.
Outside the bungalow in Juhu, Mumbai — now the best-known address in the country — the police had to use batons to control the crowd of thousands that broke through barricades, climbed trees and generally did everything they possibly could to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom.
But when the groom and bride in question are film star Abhishek Bachchan, the only son of Bollywood’s definitive icon Amitabh Bachchan, and film star and the world’s most beautiful woman Aishwarya Rai, it’s only natural that the film-crazy country considers itself invited.
“There is no monarchy in India, but there are the Bachchans,” said Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman of marketing consultancy firm Samsika. “This is a dream wedding that is happening for real. Everyone wants to participate.”
To participate, to even catch a glimpse of the happy couple, is to share in their fame. That’s why, though the actual invited guests to the wedding hid behind curtains as the Bachchan baraat departed by bus for Prateeksha, members of the wedding band cheerfully waved for the benefit of TV cameras.
That’s why five women from a village near Hyderabad travelled to Mumbai specifically for the wedding, swearing not to leave even to sleep, before they caught a glimpse of the couple. “The village is waiting for news,” said one of them.
Outside Prateeksha, the country celebrated. Inside the bungalow, two young people got married. Just like any other couple in love.