In line with the trend of Bollywood celebrities acquiring property in Dubai, power couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai became the latest stars to join the list and attended a “Residents Party" for owners in Jumeirah Golf Estates's Sanctuary Falls.

At an intimate reception held at the Burj Al Arab, the son and daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan entered the Al Falaj Ballroom with Rai holding onto Bachchan's arm as they made their way down the stairs to mingle with their future neighbours.

Dressed in an embroidered traditional Indian kurta by designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla from her personal wardrobe, Rai was all smiles and poise, making strong eye contact and greeting guests, while Bachchan nodded his head.

The couple were escorted to a sofa as about 70 pairs of eyes present in the room followed their movements. “Who are they?" asked a few non-South Asian guests visibly puzzled by the photographers' interest in the Bollywood pair.

The South Asians around proceeded to explain and dropped global mnemonics such as “Cannes", “Bollywood", “L'Oreal", “Pink Panther" and “Amitabh Bachchan" to help understand the celebrity status of the couple.

Completely at ease, Bachchan and Rai fielded questions from the press in one-on-one interviews one after the other. Fresh out of interviewing at the Cannes film festival and pre-publicity press interactions ahead of their film release next week, their responses were unsurprising, the vocabulary predictable and needless to say, there were plenty of giggles.

Excerpts from the interview:

The inevitable question, why Dubai and Sanctuary Falls?

Abhishek Bachchan (AB): I always say that we don't choose a place. The place chooses you.
Aishwarya Rai (AR) : Absolutely.

AB: Dubai is special to us not just as a place where we enjoy great warmth and generosity in terms of love from the people, but it's become a remarkable place and one that is so close to home for us.

As for Sanctuary Falls, we saw the project and the facilities and just knew that we had to be a part of it.

So it's not a shift for the family out of Mumbai, considering there have been some tensions over politically motivated remarks about your father?

AB: Well, we live in Mumbai and work out of Mumbai. Our jobs are in Mumbai for the whole family, so we won't be relocating in the real sense.
AR: No, no. But, it's so close to Mumbai, so we'll probably be spending a lot more weekends here (laughs).

Right. Now, so much is written, quoted and commented about Aishwarya as a Bachchan daughter-in-law. What's Abhishek like as a Rai son-in-law?

AB: (Smiles) I hope I'm doing okay.
AR: (Laughs) Of course! I'm not saying this because I'm married to him and it's not a biased view at all, but I think the whole chemistry is evident when we're all together. It's evident in the way he conducts himself. I think that when one is a person of substance it's just so easy to integrate as a new family member.

And when we came together, I always say that we acquired two sets of parents, which is exactly how the relationship works. It's not just words, but a genuine feeling. In fact, it feels strange even talking about it, but we're just so incredibly blessed to be in this position.

Your lives as high-profile public figures are constantly under scrutiny. What is a private moment to you?

AB: Super precious.
AR: Although we've managed to live a very private life. To the public I suppose it appears as if we don't have much privacy as most public appearances are documented by the media, but I think our life is as private as we would like it to be.
AB: We respect the fact that we're public figures and we're very aware of the enormous responsibility that comes with it and also realise that we owe our current status to the audiences that love us. But, our privacy is definitely extremely dear to us.

So were you happier with the Indian media's response to your Cannes appearance this year?

AR: (Laughs) I had a wonderful time at Cannes this year as always. It was extra special because my in-laws were also present with us. I try not to let the wardrobe criticism upset me and in the same way try to ensure that the praise doesn't carry me away! If my country is proud then I'm very happy, but people can just say what they want.

Now, you've got a new house to decorate, plan out, fit out and turn into a home… Who calls the shots in terms of making the aesthetic decisions?

AR: It's really a collective decision. Whatever we do. We're all about the family and togetherness (laughs).

Do you find it ironic that the media in a country like India, which emphasises a lot on family values and tradition, tends to freely criticise your public appearances as a film family?

AB: Do they? I wasn't aware of that. That's strange.
AR: Well, it's like I said before, people will always have something to say.
AB: Yes, we live in a country where you have the right to voice your opinion. So one has the choice as to how to deal with it.

And as a family, there's your sequel Sarkar Raj releasing next week. How are you feeling? Excited, nervous?

AB: A bit of both actually (smiles)
AR: I'm always excited (laughs) I've never been nervous before a film. It's been a great experience and I'm looking forward to sharing it with the audiences.

Have you had a chance to watch Sarkar Raj yet?

AR: No, not yet, but I'm sure it will be a great film.

Ash-Abhi's first joint investment

Unlike the new norm of celebrities endorsing real estate properties, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan are reported to have purchased their new villa at Sanctuary Falls.

Sanctuary Falls is a property development of 96 resort-style homes within the Jumeirah Golf Estates. The five and six bedroom villas range from 5,600 to 10,600 square feet.

Imran Shaikh of Shaikh Holdings, the developers of Sanctuary Falls, declined to provide specific details of the villa purchased by Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai on grounds of confidentiality.

As for reports that the villa is the first joint investment by the Bollywood couple, Shaikh stated that he was not aware of other investments by Bachchan and Rai. “I believe Sanctuary Falls is one of their first, if not first, investment abroad," he said.

“The villa prices range from Dh15 million to Dh35 million," said Shaikh and smiled on being asked if news of the couple's purchase was certain to increase interest, and
perhaps even the value of the property.

“We are currently not selling any more villas although we've held back 25 villas which we'll release over a period of 12-18 months," Shaikh said.

“The villas have the entire works. Of course, security was obviously a major concern of the couple. I understand that their international agent was scouting for properties and when they were presented with Sanctuary Falls, the facilities, the privacy and security it offered, I believe there was instant interest from their end," he said.

It might be a while – or even never – before any details of the couple's villa are released into the public domain, however, all 96 villas in the double-gated community will have the option of views of waterfalls, lakes or a golf course.

Each villa will have a fully landscaped garden, arrival water fountains, resort style swimming pools and outdoor seating areas. Owners can customise their villas from three interior décor themes and can also select villas from three architectural styles – traditional, modern and contemporary.

The villas are equipped with Scavolini designer kitchens and Bang & Olufsen home theatre systems. DSA Architects, the architects of Sanctuary Falls, have also designed Dubai landmarks such as the One&Only Royal Mirage, Madinat Jumeirah and the Park Hyatt Dubai.