Aishwarya - Abhishek make first public appearance post engagement ...

Indo-Asian News Service

imageVindhyachal (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?"