Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was in Delhi on Wednesday to receive the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), requested the French government to reschedule it for later, in wake of the Mumbai serial blasts. "We're very shocked and saddened by the Mumbai blasts. It isn't a moment for honours to be conferred. We accept it with grace and thank the French government … but it isn't the time to be celebrating," said a sombre Ash at the ceremony organised by the French Embassy at the Taj Palace.
Aishwarya, who was accompanied by husband Abhishek and minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah, added, "Our prayers, our concern and our spirit is with the people affected by the terrorist blast. At this moment, it is extremely important for us as Indians to stand strong and tell the perpetrators of terrorism that they cannot shake us and can't break us."
This, incidentally, is the second time the actor could not accept this award. In 2008, she couldn't receive it as her father was ailing at the time.