EXCLUSIVE A SPECIAL SERIES FEATURING THE FIVE MOST POWERFUL BOLLYWOOD COUPLES, IN THEIR HOMES, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
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Catch more on www. hindustantimes.com New Delhi, Sunday May 10, 2009, 12 Pages
www.hindustantimes.com PHOTOS: MANOJ PATIL/ANSHUMAN POYREKAR
MRS AND MR BACHCHAN GIVE HT CITY A RARE PEAK INTO THEIR BLISSFULLY MARRIED LIFE
didyouKNOW ◆ Abhishek and Aishwarya got married on
THE CDREAM COUPLE Here’s to the WOW couple
ould you please shut the door? Yeh Mumbai hai, yahan machchar nahi, helicopter hote hain,” says a voice to our photographer who’s standing by the open balcony door. We don’t have to turn around to see who it is. A voice having the gravity that’s trademark of Bachchan men, with that typical mischievous tone, can belong only to one man — Abhishek Bachchan. Soon, the woman—whose beauty is perhaps written about more than the war in Afghanistan—stunning in a gorgeous dull golden dress, joins her man. We are with Abhishek Bachchan and his wife of two years, Aishwarya, in the living room that’s stunningly done up in shades of gold and red with an overall ethnic flavour.
What an accent sir ji
Karan Johar SPEAKS
bhishek tortured my childhood. He’s 4 years younger to me but what a bully. Because I was this fat, sloppy child and he was this young , agile kid thinking he’s a super hero, I was afraid of being around him. Many years later, though we’ve grown up and I adore him...he’s the only one who can push me, shove me..because that’s the Abhishek I’ve known as a child. So we have this warmth, love and ease in our equation. Ash is not from the filmi background, still I’ve known her since my first film. She’s one of the nine actresses I offered the role of Tina in Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai. Ash was the only girl, who got back to me to tell me why she couldn’t take up that role. I thought , “How gracious of this girl to do that.” I’ve always found Ash to be this dignified, gracious and lovely human being. Now that she’s a part of the Bachchan family, she connects so beautifully with this family which is simply royalty. You see Abhishek Aishwarya with Amit uncle and Jaya aunty and you can’t help but think that you are meeting Royalty. You can almost visualize that if all of them stood in a portrait, it would turn out to be the most beautiful royal portrait. I have seen Abhishek mature from a boy to a man after being with her. She has brought about this very refined maturity in his persona, while still retaining his fun element. She derives power from his fun personality and he derives power from her grace. Together they complement each other perfectly and that's what’s powerful. This couple, according to me, is the ‘wow’ couple of the film industry.
So how have the two blissful years of marriage been? “I still wake up in the morning and revel in the fact that I share the same room as Aishwarya Rai,” smiles Abhishek. She instantly echoes the sentiment, “Me too. Just to wake up next to each other is a blessing, an absolute joy.” The couple met for the first time in Switzerland when Ash was shooting for Aur Pyar Ho Gaya and Abhishek, all of 21, was visiting on work. Ash laughingly recalls, “When he started talking, I could not get a word of what he said. He had such a thick accent.” The couple fondly remembers how when common friend and makeup artist Micky Contractor introduced them, he pointed at Abhishek and although he meant to say ‘Abhishek has a great future in films’, he actual words to Ash were, “There’s your future.” Years later when Micky was doing Ash’s makeup on their wedding day, he said, “See, didn’t I tell you years ago this would happen?”
The ‘normal’ Abhishek So what glue binds them together now? “Our common value system,” says Ash. “We were both from
It’s mush-mush time
nuclear families. My dad was a marine engineer, so used to stay away from home a lot. Pa [Abhishek’s dad], was mostly away for work too. But still we both got a very cultured and grounded upbringing. Full marks to his parents for raising him and his sister in such a normal way.” “Oh, so finally you admit that I’m normal,” teases Abhishek and her laughter rings a thousand bells.
Ash —the grandma Abhishek truly has a gift of gab. We ask him what he likes most about her and he counter questions, “How much paper do you have?” Plenty, we assure him and he continues, “Her ability to make you believe that you can set very high standards in your mind about your dream partner and it is still possible to get such a person.” “Awww,” says Ash, clearly moved, “I love this interview, can we go on forever?” Abhishek continues, “My parents are most important to me in life. The way she has fitted into their lives, even before we got married, is amazing. I feel they think of her as more of a daughter than they think of me as a son. Also, she has an obsession of taking care of people. You are the luckiest if you are unwell when she’s around. When you come home in the evening, she’ll ask, ‘how was your day? Are you hungry? Shall I get you something? She’s the grandmother of the house. A close friend Srishti Arya, who’s like a sister to me, actually asked me on my wedding day on the stage, ‘how have you managed to marry your own mother?’”
powerPROFILE Abhishek Bachchan, son of superstars Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan is a successful and critically acclaimed actor. The only winner ever of three consecutive Filmfare awards as best Supporting actor, he’s also recipient of the Yash Bharati Samman, the highest honour by the Uttar Pradesh Government. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a former Miss World and a successful Hindi film actress, apart from being the face of several national and international brands. She’s credited as being the global face of Indian cinema in Hollywood. She has graced the cover of Time magazine and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. Padma Shri Aishwarya Bachchan is a recipient of three Filmfare awards and Rajiv Gandhi Award for excellence in cinema.
It’s Ash’s turn. “I think we are like this child-man and child-woman, who love being their natural self. Like I giggle, and a lot is written about it.” “Oh, stop it,” interrupts Abhishek. “No let me,” she says, almost at a pain to clarify, “whether someone likes it or not, the child in us will always be there. At the same time we are mature when that’s needed.” Abhishek holds his head in his hands, “Sorry, my answer was way better than yours.” She starts again, “you see, we may not be mushy all the time, but,”— and he interrupts again, “hey, say something about me. I said such good things about you. You are making me sound like the world’s most boring person. They won’t get what you just said.” “Oh of course she’s getting what I’m trying to say [she points towards me], a woman always understands another woman.” Aishwarya is right. Even as she struggles to phrase it right (despite his constant but loving interruptions), her eyes proclaim her love much louder than words. She finally finds the right words too, “His clarity in life is incredible. In the first year of our marriage, we saw many harsh realities of life. This man pulled through remarkably. It warms my heart to think I’ve got married to such a strong person. I can’t thank God enough, not for the surname he has, but for the man that he is.” Abhishek claps, “There you go.”
Of family and kids Is he as good a son-in-law as he is as a son? Her eyes lighten up. “My parents love him so much, he’s totally the apple of their eye.” Abhishek adds, “They were formal initially, that whole damaad thing, but I’m quite a charmer. I don’t call before I go over to my in-laws. I just hop over the bed and ask for food. Similarly, although no one can ever take my sister’s place, Ash is a second daughter to my parents. For a young girl who’s moved into a new home, it can be quite intimidating to have Amitabh Bachchan say ‘good morning’ to you every morning [imitates his father’s authoritative voice]. But today, my dad talks more with her than me.” How does it feel to stay in a joint family, a near-extinct tradition in urban India? “Most natural,” says Abhishek, “I know we live in cynical times where people talk about marriages that don’t work and in-laws that ill treat, but I have witnessed only love and respect in my family. When I see my parents with my sister Shweta’s kids, I think there’s no way I can rob my own children, whenever we have them, of this love.” Now that he’s mentioned kids, we’ve got to talk about the national obsession with when they would start a family. “Don’t know what’s with the constant speculation about Ash’s pregnancy. After all, it’s God’s blessing, whenever it happens, everyone would anyway come to know. People don’t realize that this is something that can not be hidden. I mean she’ll gain weight, her stomach will show —so why create such a fuss. When it has to happen, it will.”
Abhishek and Aishwarya feel that the key to successful marriage is ‘Retaining your own strong identity, at the same time being sensitive towards the needs of the partner. If there’s ever an argument, discuss it out and a couple must never go to bed with the fight still on.”
April 20, 2007 according to the traditional Hindu rites of the South Indian Bunt community, to which Aishwarya belongs. North Indian and Bengali rituals were also performed. ◆ Aishwarya is a hoarder, just like her fatherin-law. She saves the smallest of memorabilia —including boarding passes of all her travels— as memories. ◆ Abhishek is an excellent cook and prepares delicious chicken curry. He’s also very well mannered and organized, which he credits to his boarding school upbringing. ◆ Contrary to a stereotypical woman’s choice, Aishwarya is as fond of action movies and football matches as Abhishek. Her first dream date was to see a live match between Chelsea and Manchester United. ◆ One of Aishwarya’s nicknames, apart from the popular ‘Ash’ is Gullu.