If Hans Christian Andersen were alive, he could write another fairy tale - how the most beautiful woman in the world and the most eligible bachelor in India have decided to live happily ever after…

Sunday evening brought news of their engagement and with the engagement ceremony over, the spotlight is now on the wedding preparations of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, the superstars of Hindi filmdom.


As millions of fans across the country are wondering whether this will be the mother of all weddings, the buzz doing the rounds is that the reception will be held in one of the palaces in Jaipur.

After all they are akin to royalty in this country, so why not marry in settings that bring back the splendour of the maharajahs?

Another venue could be the sprawling, exotic resort of Amby Valley, Lonavla, about 80kms from Mumbai, a Sahara Pariwar project of Subroto Roy, who is close to Amitabh Bachchan.

Hot topic

Their wedding is the hot topic everywhere - in schools, colleges, trains, shops, bazaars and of course, at the dinner table.

"This is a marriage made in heaven," says 50-year-old homemaker Beena Raman. Mira Sheth, 40, says, "Abhishek seems to have a liking for older women - first it was Karisma Kapoor and now Aishwarya."

Ash is 33 and Abhi will be 31 on February 5.

An advertising professional points out only Abhishek can handle Aishwarya's beauty, fame and talent. Her former boyfriends Salman Khan and Viviek Oberoi couldn't hold on for long.


The announcement of their engagement came suddenly, although everyone had expected it to happen sometime, especially with the way Ash was being seen with the Bachchan family recently.

A ritual the Bachchans and Aishwarya performed at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi seemed to seal the relationship. The ritual is said to have been performed to remove all hurdles in the path of Ash's marriage to Abhishek.

Speaking to reporters, Amitabh said the date of the wedding is yet to be decided. "We are already working out a schedule that would be suitable to Aishwarya's and our families," he merely said.


As of now, his mother, Teji Bachchan, is critically ill in Lilavati Hospital and people say Amitabh would like the wedding to be as soon as possible.

Just a few days ago Amitabh, his wife Jaya and Abhishek walked 15kms from their Juhu home to Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi to offer prayers for his mother's health. Though he has said the dates have yet to be decided, it is likely to take place on February 19, an auspicious day on the Hindu calendar.

Amitabh also told reporters on Monday that his son had phoned to say he had proposed to Ash in New York after the premiere of Guru in Toronto and she had accepted.

He also said, "We knew they were fond of each other. While the whole world knew and talked about it, they have now confirmed their association."

Meanwhile, the engaged couple are back at work - Ash in Karjat for the filming of Jodha-Akbar and Abhishek in Jaipur with his mother for a shoot, leaving the nitty-gritty of marriage preparations to their parents.


This is clearly a wedding everyone's talking about. How grand will it be? After all, they are the first family of Bollywood. What will Ash wear for the wedding? Will Ash quit films after getting married?

Abhishek's career has skyrocketed with his excellent performance in Mani Ratnam's Guru. Will he be able to keep up that pace? After marriage, will Ash come to live with the Bachchan family or will the couple move into a new home? That could well be a sea-facing bungalow on Carter Road, Bandra.

According to Taran Adarsh, film analyst, "Their marriage will certainly not affect their careers. And that is because people do not think anymore along those lines, that if you're married they are no more interested in an actor."

Be warned

Opposites attract, say stargazers, but also warn that Aishwarya, whose Zodiac sign is Scorpio, must not be too possessive as an Aquarian Abhishek would want to cherish his freedom.

They apparently share a strong will and a determination to achieve what they want. Here's hoping they want a good marriage.

Role play

They've just been engaged, but apparently Ash has been playing the dutiful daughter-in-law for long. "For a while now, Aishwarya has been a dutiful bahu (daughter-in-law) at their home, so much so that Jayaji (Jaya Bachchan) has totally warmed to her and has been telling friends that Aishwarya will fit wonderfully into their household.

"Aishwarya has made it very clear to her parents that all marriage details will be decided by them. The same goes for the Bachchans," a close family friend said.

How it began

The romance apparently bloomed gradually over the years, both keeping in touch with each other since 2000 when they worked together in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke.

At that time Ash was seeing Salman Khan after their film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was a box office hit.

Abhishek was in love with Karisma Kapoor and his debut in Refugee was a flop.

They came together in Kuch Naa Kaho in 2002, when a jealous Salman stormed onto the sets of the film to smash everything in his way and Abhi calmed an upset Ash like a true gentleman.

Later, Ash started dating Viveik and Abhi broke off his engagement with Karisma.

A casual phone call to "good friend" Abhishek when she was left out of Bluffmaster is said to have sparked a friendship that blossomed into romance.

Of course, the fact that they starred in three films recently – Umrao Jaan, Dhoom 2 and Guru - did not hurt their love life either.