Sunday 6 January 2008
Was Aishwarya’s co-star too hunky for her family’s liking?
The mysterious postponement of a new film starring two of India’s biggest stars has got the Bollywood rumour mill working at full tilt. Could it be that the new husband and father-in-law of the gorgeous actress Aishwarya Rai disapprove of her appearing in the arms of the hunky star Hrithik Roshan — and have used their considerable influence to have the film’s release delayed?
The postponed film, Jodha-Akbar, tells the love story between the 16th century Akbar Shah and his Rajput Hindu wife Jodha Bhai. It was always planned to open on January 25, just in time for India’s big Republic Day holiday. It has now been put back to mid-February — or even later.
Reasons offered range from director Ashutosh Gowariker being confined to bed with a bad back, to controversy over the title of the film — several historians claim the Rajput princess was never called Jodha but Hira Kunwari — to the soundtrack not being ready.
But many in Bollywood are convinced the real reason is that Rai’s new family — her actor husband Abhishek Bachchan whom she married last April, and his legendary actor father Amitabh Bachchan — are unhappy with Aishwaraya once again appearing in passionate clinches with Hrithik Roshan. By forcing a delay until after the holiday, they hope the film will attract less attention.
This is the second time an on-screen love affair between Aishwarya and Roshan has caused difficulties in the Bachchan household: they were up close and personal in last year’s action thriller Dhoom 2, just after Aishwarya announced her engagement to Abhishek, and the Bachchans were said to be deeply unimpressed at the time.
News of the delay comes as Aishwarya Rai attempts her breakthrough from Bollywood to Hollywood. She has a part opposite Steve Martin, enjoying his second turn as Inspector Clouseau in Pink Panther 2 (despite some dire reviews the first time round), and she is due to start filming in Singularity, a new film from Killing Fields director Roland Joffe. The problem is the film was due to star another Bollywood hunk, Vivek Oberoi. He is said to have been removed from the cast because he was once a serious boyfriend of Aishwarya’s. Those Bachchans have clout.