(2006) Chased Aishwarya for 13 years

“Aishwarya is my Helen of Troy whose face stopped me from going to war again,” said J.P. Dutta, director of the period movie Umrao Jaan, here on Thursday.

The Bollywood director who earlier made the war movies Border, LOC (Line of Control) and Refugee, said Aishwarya made him change his genre when she finally consented to do the movie after 13 years.

The Bollywood movie premiered here yesterday, attended by the stars and the director who flew in from Mumbai. Dutta has come under flak from critics on his remake of the classic.

The former Miss World arrived more than 90 minutes late to the press conference to announce the premiere, and immediately the spotlight shifted to her even as Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan was speaking.

Photographers stopped taking his pictures and went to the back of the room to catch her entry.

Wearing a black sari and blouse and long, dangling silver earrings, Aishwarya laughed when asked whether she would be a contender for the Oscars in the future.

The former Miss World celebrated her 33rd birthday a day earlier and said she managed to take time off from her hectic schedule to be with her loved ones.

At one point in the conference Bachchan became irritated. He leaned forward and exclaimed, “Excuse me” a couple of times, when a journalist asked when he and Aishwarya were getting married. “You tell us,” he said in exasperation, “since you have been telling us that since the past year.”

But the body language was very obvious between the two stars. At one point Aishwarya stopped walking towards the exit when she looked back and saw Bachchan still speaking to journalists. He nodded to her across the room, stopped talking and rushed to her side.

Bachchan said he was “humbled” by the “Sexiest Man in Asia” tag. “It is not true, but thank you making me feel embarrassed,” he said. He topped the list of the “50 sexiest men” in Asia in a survey by Eastern Eye, Britain’s most popular Asian newspaper. “It’s shocking. Are people blind?” he had responded.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai share a laugh at a press conference in Dubai yesterday.

- Gulfnews.com

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