Ending the half-year-long speculation about their wedding, over the weekend he proposed — a traditional courtesy he believes in — and she assented. The senior Bachchans said they met with Aishwarya Rai's family at La Mer, their Bandra residence on Sunday evening, and formalised the alliance.
Vrinda Rai, who has nurtured the former Miss World's private and professional lives, is thrilled just as Amitabh Bachchan is.
There's a parallel here, in a coincidental way perhaps. Amitabh Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri soon after the hosannas, which followed his Zanjeer performance in 1973. Now Abhishek Bachchan has formalised his relationship with Aishwarya Rai following the unqualified praise he has evoked for his tour de force performance in Guru. Like Jaya Bhaduri, too, the future daughter-in-law is at the peak of her career.
In conversation with Khalid Mohamed on Thursday, three days before he popped the question, Bachchan Jr, remains true to his teasing ticklish and I-won't-lie-to-you-ways...
Okay Abhishek, I'm a newsperson. Tell me what you would ask yourself if you were a journalist.
I would ask you how you do it.
I would be intrigued by how you approach your work. How you write, reproduce an interview, the creative process behind it.
You wouldn't ask for the details of your much-talked-about marriage-to-be?
That would be a rude question… but do let me tell you, I'm certainly not getting married on February 19. I wonder which media pundit decided on that date. Absurd.
You could be putting the media off by saying that's not the date.
To put off the media I wouldn't resort to lying. A wedding date is sacrosanct.
How grown up do you feel now?
I'm 31 going on 31.
What happens when you run into your early girlfriends?
When we meet there are no hard feelings. We're good friends.
What are your feelings about marriage?
I'm certainly looking forward to it.
Now tell me about Aishwarya Rai.
I'm happy we're together...that has never been a big secret.
How would you rate Aishwarya Rai as an artiste?
She's super talented... and she's also a great brand ambassador for our country.
What did you think of Umrao Jaan, then?
I would even jump into a well if JP Dutta had asked me to. I did the film for him. I thought she was excellent in it.. .very true to her character, insightful and honest.
How did you find Aishwarya Rai in Guru?
Is this interview about me or her?... (seeing my jaw drop) okay khaala okay, I'll answer that. Let me say for an actress of her calibre, it's tough to do a role where the focus is not on her entirely. Yet she took it on and has done a tremendous job.
Your team didn't exactly click before Guru, did it? There was no chemistry earlier.
A film is not only about the male and female lead, it's not only about chemistry. Casting is just one of cinema's many aspects.
Would you let her continue working?
That's her decision absolutely...
Finally, you'll have lovely children, won't you?
(Laughs) You...I should clobber you. Yeah sure, I do hope so... I have great genes.