Masala! Talks to Abhishek and Aishwarya
T'town's strongest couple reveals what makes their bond so special
It isn't easy being a superstar or a superstar-wife in Bollywood. The pressure of celebrity-hood, the temptations that abound on the sets and off it and the stress of movie-making can take a toll on even the strongest of relationships. However, if there is one couple that has proved naysayers wrong, it is Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Despite the obvious challenges and pressures of belonging to Bollywood's biggest and most famous family, Ash and Abhi have managed to build a beautiful bond that disproves every theory about marriages in the industry. And the birth of their daughter Aaradhya only seems to have brought them closer than ever before.
As far as family matters go, there is one principle that Aishwarya and Abhishek seem to follow religiously: get the simple things right and the rest will follow! So they make conscious efforts to be like any other couple – travelling together, looking after household matters and being responsible parents. T'town's favourite couple reveals some home truths and we were surprised at how things actually work in the Bachchan household!
The new campaign you have recently signed up for shows the two of you leading a very regular life. Is that how you are in real life as well?
Aishwarya: Absolutely! That's precisely the reason why Abhishek and I took up the endorsement. In fact, we gave our own suggestions as well to keep the campaign as realistic as possible. We did not want it to look fake or unreal. If you look at the ads, it shows a mother doing all the pre-checks with regards to the food she serves for the family before she leaves the house. That's the way I am at home; I ensure that everything is perfectly set before everyone leaves for work.
Abhishek, you are shown whistling in the ad. Was it part of the script?
Abhishek: No, it wasn't part of the script. It just happened naturally during the shoot and instead of editing it out, the makers decided to incorporate the scene in the advert. To be honest, my wife Aishwarya Rai is the most beautiful woman in the world but I have never resorted to gimmicks to woo her. On the contrary, I courted her through my gestures, emotions and words. I am used to people whistling at my wife. I mean, look at her and you will know why I am making such a statement (laughs)! But I have never done anything like that I don't think it's right.
Aishwarya: Now you know why I am married to him (smiles).
As a couple, what cuisines do you prefer? Do you ever disagree on the food that's prepared at home?
Aishwarya: You might not believe this but we both love only Indian food. In fact, we totally dig rich Indian food! Our food habits are simple – we enjoy having the typical roti-sabji-daal-rice combo. Moreover, we like home-cooked food. Indian cuisine is so rich and varied, we do not feel the need to try out Thai or Mexican or Italian. We indulge in exotic cuisines only occasionally.
Ash, being a mother, do you plan Aaradhya's food?
Aishwarya: Of course. If I have to go out for an event or for any other social dos, I keep Aaradhya's milk and food ready before I leave. We may be public figures but within the confines of our home I am just like any other mother and wife. We lead a no-frills life.
What do you cook for Abhishek and Aaradhya?
Aishwarya: As I mentioned before, Abhishek and I both prefer simple home-cooked food. You know us for years and you are aware that we are not into dieting. It shows on me too (laughs)! Aaradhya too is being trained to eat ghar ka khana (smiles).
Abhishek, has there been any instance where Ash was upset and you have had to cook for her to pamper her?
Abhishek: (Thinks hard) No, never.
Aishwarya: Actually there has never been a single instance when I have been upset over anything. Of course we have had tiffs for fun and he has done things to pamper me. Abhi knows how to whip a curry quickly. But it's all done for fun.
Ash, when did you actually start cooking?
Aishwarya: I hail from a normal Mangalorean family and have always helped my mother in the kitchen since a young age. So the kitchen has been a very familiar space for me, way before showbiz started (laughs).
Tell us one of Abhishek's favourite dishes and another one that he does not like that has been prepared by you?
Aishwarya: Abhishek should answer that.
Abhishek: Whatever she makes, she does it with a lot of love and that's what makes each dish so fantastic. Aishwarya actually makes great desserts. I still recall an incident immediately after our marriage. There is a Bengali custom (Abhishek's mum Jaya is a Bengali) where the newly-wed daughter-in-law has to make her first meal. Ash prepared excellent halwa for me. Frankly, I have liked everything that she has cooked for me. The emotions with which she cooks are more important than the taste.
As a child were you a fussy eater?
Abhishek: Not at all. I am a very easy eater. Even if you feed me the same dish every day, I will eat it happily.
Do you cook often?
Abhishek: I am a good assistant chef. I can help her in the kitchen.
Abhishek, it is said that a way to man's heart is through his stomach, what is a way to woman's heart?
Abhishek: You have to be kind, gentle, understanding and above all, you should love your wife deeply.
As a couple what's your upmost priority?
Abhishek and Aishwarya: We both value and cherish relationships the most.
WHY ABHI AND ASH'S BOND IS SO STRONG
In an industry where relationships are fragile and are often unable to withstand the tremendous pressures, Abhishek and Aishwarya are an exception. Here's why they are so strong:
THEY ARE NOT PETTY ABOUT THEIR EXES
Both Abhishek and Aishwarya have had controversial past relationships (with Karisma, and Salman and Vivek respectively) but they haven't ever let that come in between their relationship. Of late, Abhishek has even been seen bonding with Salman despite the fact that his break-up with Ash had been acrimonious. Big B too was recently seen chatting with Vivek Oberoi (whose character he introduces in 'Krissh 3' with a voiceover). Clearly, the Bachchans don't believe in letting the past affect the present.
THEY SHARE THE SAME FRIENDS
Abhi and Ash often hang out with the same group of people like Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan and Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Despite their busy schedules, they make it a point to attend the big events together and even socialise with the same group. They also try and spend as much time together as possible and have even invested in a home in Dubai (possibly to get away from the crowd and spend time with each other).
THEY DON'T LET THEIR EGOS GET IN THE WAY
It's no secret that Aishwarya is a bigger brand than Abhishek and career-wise is in a stronger position than him. Abhi is proud of his wife's achievements and celebrates her instead of letting his masculine ego get in the way. He accompanies her to all her international outings be it the Cannes Film Festival or her endorsement commitments. She, in turn, makes it a point to attend his shoots and support his movies. Last year, at the 'Dhoom 3' shoot in California, Ash made a special trip to spend quality time with her husband.
THEIR FAMILY ALWAYS COMES FIRST
After marriage, Ash put her family duties above everything else. And after the birth of Aaradhya she decided to be a hands-on mum instead of facing the arc lights again. She is taking her own sweet time to make that much-publicised comeback. Her endorsements keep her in the public eye but it's always family first for her.
After marriage, Ash's mother and Abhi's mum joined them on a holiday abroad. The Rais and the Bachchans are known to share a warm bond.