Though many from Bollywood will be in Mohali to watch the face-off between India and Pakistan in the World Cup’s semis today, actress Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, it is learned, will not be there. Pak Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will miss out on meeting Rai-Bachchan, apparently his favourite Bollywood actress.
The Pakistani PM has reportedly confessed, time and again, that he is a great fan of the doe-eyed beauty. Not only that, Gilani has also apparently written about his admiration for Rai-Bachchan in his book that he wrote when he was imprisoned during the regime of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
“Gilani has clearly written in his book, Chah-e-Yousuf Saay Sada, that he used to watch Rai-Bachchan’s movies on his laptop while he was in prison (during 2001-06) during the Pervez Musharraf regime. Since then, he’s been an ardent fan of the actor. We had discovered that while doing our research in scheduling his meeting with the then external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2008,” says Mukherjee’s former aide.
Rai-Bachchan’s films had earlier played a part in diplomacy in 2008, when Pranab Mukherjee visited Pakistan. He had carried a DVD box of Rai-Bachchan’s movies. “It was a pleasant surprise for Gilani who has always listed Aishwarya and Shahrukh Khan as his favourite film stars. He was very happy and described it as a ‘pleasant surprise’ when he opened the box,” reveals the aide.
But, as luck would have it, Rai-Bachchan and Gilani will apparently not meet even as the Pakistani PM lands in Mohali for the India-Pakistan semi-final today.
According to a source, Aishwarya and Abhishek had originally planned to watch the match in Mohali. But “Aishwarya and Abhishek won’t be going to Mohali to watch the match this time. They might be at home watching the match,” says a source.
Hence, even though Indian officials would have loved it, Rai-Bachchan and Gilani won’t be meeting this time. However, rumours that efforts are on for arranging a meeting were doing the rounds.
“This news (of Aishwarya meeting Gilani) is completely false. She was never scheduled to meet any (Pakistani) dignitary,” texted her spokesperson in response to our query.