October 2017

Ash-Abhi Wedding
[Bollywood-August 2008]

On April 20, 2007 Abhishek Bachchan married Aishwarya Rai in a private ceremony at the Bachchan residence Prateeksha in Juhu. The wedding invitations, were embossed with two entwined A’s and delivered along with a box of chocolate meringues. The card also included a poem about new beginnings written by Amitabh Bachchan’s father and renowned poet late Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

The three day wedding started on April 18th with the Sangeet, at Prateeksha, which is reported to have resembled a bollywood set and included performances by many close friends. The Sangeet was followed by the Mehndi on Thursday. About 15 kilos of special mehndi were ordered from Sojat in Rajasthan. The mehndi ceremony involved only close friends and family. It took place at Ash’s residence, the La Mer Apartments in suburban Bandra. Abhishek’s sister Shweta and Sonali Bendre arrived there with the mehndi along with some members of the Bachchan family in a bus. The ceremony lasted three hours and Aishwarya wore a red and gold zardosi sari designed by Neeta Lulla. At the same time there was a small dinner organized at the Bachchan’s residence Jalsa.

Three saris were designed and woven by master craftsman Chaturbhuja Meher at Sonepur, for Aishwarya, one of the places where the magnificent Pata saris of the state are made. Meher who was honored with a Padmashri Award in 2005 said he has supplied such saris to the Bachchans in the past. One of the three saris was a maroon bridal Sonepuri sari, locally known as Radhakunja that took three months to weave, according to Meher.

Aishwarya chose her favorite designer Neeta Lulla to design her wedding dress. Her mother, Brinda Rai, had Kolkata based designer Sharbari Datta design the clothes that were gifted to Abhishek from the bride’s family. Sharbari designed traditional outfits for Abhishek such as sherwani, achkan, amrakha, and shawls. The clothes are very classy and aristocratic. The sherwani Abhishek wore on his wedding was designed by Mumbai based design and tailoring house Kay Sons. The fabric was woven by the 400 year old family of master weavers in Varanasi.

On the wedding day, Aishwarya arrived at Prateeksha along with her family in a Mercedes at 2:00 pm. Her families bungalow in Juhu was decorated with orange, yellow, and marigold flowers and banana leaves, typical of the Bunt community to which she belongs. At around 5 pm Abhishek stepped out of the other Bachchan residence, Jalsa, dressed in a gold embroidered white sherwani with sehra covering his face. He sat on a horse with his nephew Agastya. Amitabh and other members of the baraat wore saffron turbans. The marriage procession moved to Prateeksha in a number of buses. It took the baraat at least half an hour to reach Prateeksha where they danced to dhol beats. Aishwarya came to the mandap in a doli where the saat phere were conducted.

The next day, Aishwarya wore a cream colored lengha for the bidaai. The entire Bachchan family had a lavish lunch at the Rai residence which included continental Mughlai and traditional Mangalorian dishes. Abhishek and Aishwarya offered prayers at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara Tirumala near Tirupati. Amitabh has said that the couple will move in with him and his wife instead of a getting a home of their own. He also said that she will be taking her husband’s name to become Aishwarya Bachchan. The couple has put off their honeymoon because of work commitments as well the ill health of Abhishek’s grandmother Teji Bachchan. A reception for other friends will probably be held some time next month in Mumbai.

[As seen in June 2007 of Rivaaj]

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