(2007) Love Match

Abhiash – on their first public appearance after their engagement – looked like a much in love couple.

The whole country might be debating whether the vermillion on Aishwarya Rai’s forehead, after a visit to a temple, meant that the hottest couple in Bollywood had tied the knot, Ash and Abhishek themselves appeared unfazed and nonchalant. Abhiash, who made their first public appearance after their engagement was announced, were like any other much-in-love couple. The duo was present with the entire family at the French Embassy in the Delhi where the prestigious Legion of Honour was being conferred on Amitabh Bachchan.

Everything you say:
They walked in together and were constantly at each other’s side neither taking their eyes off each other, nor putting their conversation on hold for too long. Ash chatted with Abhi continuously and giggled or smiled at most of his replies. She would start the conversation and wait for Abhishek’s reply, which would make her smile immediately.

As a guest was heard telling another, “Abhishek’s eyes were constantly following Aishwarya and she tells him before going anywhere or talking to anyone. They just cannot take their eyes off each other.”

Are you paying attention?
However, in front of the cameras and family, Abhiash were guarded. It was only when the film that was being screened on the occasion started that they partially lowered their guard. Aishwarya leaned on Abhishek’s shoulder and they were talking throughout. In fact, Ash even nudged him a couple of times for not paying attention!

That’s chemistry:
Abhiash’s chemistry seems to be working wonders. While getting off the stage after a round of pictures, for instance, when they were summoned again, Ash neither called out to Abhi, nor mumble. Her lips read “come” and Abhishek was immediately there with her. The two walked in together, sat and watched the movie together turning only twice (once when Abhishek wanted to say something to sister Shweta and next when they turned to Nikhil). And after the movie, they were back to their conversation together

Aishwarya Rai’s and Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding could possibly be only after three months, says Pradeep Nohate, Aishwarya’s makeup artist.

“Madam is busy with Jodha Akbar’s shooting, which will take three months to complete. All the dates of her marriage that are being speculated about are just that…plain speculation. No date or venue has been finalised. But, the marriage will take place within this year,” says Nohate, Aishwarya’s make up artist for 11 years, whom she fondly calls Pradeep dada.

Dada should know, for he was present when Abhishek popped the question to Ash on January 13 at the New York airport.

“I had gone to get coffee, but when I joined them, madam (Aishwarya) was beaming. She told me, ‘Pradeep dada, Abhishek has proposed to me and I am going to accept his proposal.’ Before informing me, she called her parents and told them the good news,” says Nohate, then adds, “But I was the first person with whom she shared her pleasure personally.”

“‘Tumhe yakin nahi aata na Pradeep dada? (You don’t believe it, do you Pradeep dada?) This was her next question. But actually, I was expecting this news, so it was not a big surprise,” explains Nohate.

The makeup man had accompanied Aishwarya and Abhishek for the premiere of their film Guru at Toronto and for a special screening in New York. When they got back home, the couple got engaged at Aishwarya’s home. Then there was a private gathering at the Bachchan residence Jalsa to celebrate the engagement, he informed.

Umrao Jaan connection

Nohate says that it was during the shooting of Umrao Jaan that he noticed the couple “becoming very close.” “I call her madam, but she is more like my sister and she also respectfully calls me Pradeep dada.”

Nohate hails from Nagpur. Prior to Aishwarya, Nohate used to work for Karisma Kapoor for nine years. He started off as Divya Bharti’s makeup artist for three years. “As madam spends a lot of time shooting, I happen to be near her all the time. We talk a lot,” adds Nohate.

Approve of Abhishek

His opinion on Aishwarya’s fiancé is glowing. “Abhishek is a nice person. He loved the way I had done madam’s makeup in Umrao Jaan. ‘You presented her beautifully,’ Abhishek told me.”

Nohate not only does makeup for the former Miss World in films, but also when the latter endorses products in commercials, award programmes and parties.

“She is beautiful, but it is still challenging to do her makeup as every character is different. I did her makeup first for Hum Panchi Ek Daal Ke (the movie was shelved), then for Mani Ratnam’s film Iruvar. Her mother liked my work and I started working with them.”

Nohate was with the star when she met with the mishap on the sets of Khakee and also when she did her first film with Abhishek, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke. “She discusses her life with me and sometimes asks me for suggestions,” he claims.

Marriage makeover?

Asked about his plans for the gorgeous star on her most beautiful day, Nohate says, “Aishwarya believes in naturopathy mostly. I will do her makeup for her marriage function and I also have to arrange mehendi and few other things. Neeta Lulla is looking over Aishwarya’s trousseau.”

On the agenda now is finding a good mahurat as both the families believe in following the appropriate rituals, he mentioned. “I believe she will continue working after marriage,” claims dada. “Aishwarya picked up Marathi from me. Jodha Akbar’s director Ashutosh Gowarikar and most of the team speak Marathi, so she also joins in.”

After Jodha Akbar, Aishwarya has signed Sarkar 2. “But in that, Amitji and Abhishek will also be acting. So most probably Sarkar 2’s shooting will take place after marriage,” points out Nohate. “Madam promised to act in a Marathi movie that I plan to produce. This will be the greatest thing in my life. I would like to do it with Kedar Shinde, one of the most successful Marathi film directors.”

The makeup man turns emotional. “Aishwarya and I have a mature relationship,” he says, “When my mother died, she gave me strong emotional support. In fact, not just in bad times, she personally attended my son’s naming ceremony. I am very happy that after such a successful career, she is going to settle down in her private life with Abhishek.”

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