When two Bollywood superstars plan a small, quiet wedding, it means paring down the guest list to fewer than 100 people and cutting back festivities from a week to three days.
But this being Bollywood, the April 20 nuptials for Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan still ended with police charging a throng of media and spectators who joined the bride-groom’s party as it wended its way to the bride’s home.
Even before the event, crowds thronged Mumbai’s Juhu district, with police resorting to batons to push them back. A photographer was injured in the crush and one woman who claimed to be a jilted lover was arrested for attempted suicide.
Rai, a former Miss World, and Bachchan, scion of Bollywood’s first family, tried to keep things small, but there was plenty of pomp.
The traditional “sangeet” — or pre-wedding party — included Bollywood-choreographed dances to hit tunes from pics starring not only the bride and groom but also the groom’s father, Amitabh Bachchan.
As is tradition, Bach-chan, wearing cream and gold topped with a ceremonial turban, arrived riding a white stallion; the rest of his official party followed in seven Volvos.
And the private wedding ceremony, while modest in size, included the upper crust of Indian society, from industrialist-film investor Anil Ambani and cricketer Sachin Ten-dulkar to stars Sanjay Dutt and Preity Zinta and helmers Ram Gopal Verma and Karan Johar.
At least the nuptials ended on a tranquil note: The newly married couple concluded the festivities with an April 22 visit to the Tirupathi Ventakeswara temple in the south of the country.
A honeymoon in Venice was planned before the couple got back to the business of being stars at the Cannes film festival.