Ash-Abhishek make first public appearance post engagement

Jan 27, 2007 IANS

Vindhyachal (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 27 (IANS) Bollywood's leading pair of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan Saturday made their first post-engagement public appearance at the popular Vindhyavasni temple in Uttar Pradesh.

The leading stars offered a special pre-nuptial puja at the ancient temple of Goddess Durga at Vindhyachal in Mirzapur district, about 400 km from state capital Lucknow.

"Abhishek applied sindoor on Aishwarya's forehead at the end of the prayer", one of the priests who performed the ceremony told reporters in Vindhyachal.

"Today's prayer was also aimed at ridding Aishwarya of all ills and negative effects including the much-dreaded 'mangali' effect," said the priest.

While Abhishek was dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, Aishwarya also sported a white suit with an olive green chunni.

The occasion was the 51st birthday of the Bachchan family friend, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh who also solemnised the wedding of 51 young couples as part of birthday celebrations at the temple.

Besides Abhishek's parents - superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya - and Aishwarya's parents, actress-turned-MP Jaya Prada and industrialist Anil Ambani and wife Tina were present.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav flew down to the ancient temple town on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border to wish both Amar Singh as well as the young pair.

However, actress Preity Zinta and Sahara group chief Subrata Roy, who were also scheduled to join the celebrations, did not turn up.

While Abhishek-Aishwarya's ceremonies were performed amid tight security, the 51 weddings were performed in full public view and Yadav and Amitabh Bachchan blessed the newly weds.

Opposition leaders, however, termed the mass marriage function as a gimmick to gain political mileage ahead of the assembly elections in the state.

"The whole drama is aimed at using Amitabh Bachchan's popularity to serve the political objectives of Samajwadi Party," Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lalji tandon told IANS.

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Salman Khurshid said: "Would Amar Singh let the people know how many times in the past he had organised similar weddings for the poor? Why was it that the idea struck him only now when elections are round the corner?"

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