That's the cheesy celeb couple nickname for Abhishek Bachchan & Aishwarya Rai. And if you've followed either of those links, you'll notice that people are gaga over their recent engagement. If you haven't bothered to follow the links here's the summary: Abhishek is the Prodigal Son of Bollywood, son of Amitabh Bachchan, who is the hands-down fave Bollywood actor of all time. Aishwarya is apparently TMBWITW (The Most Beautiful Woman in the World) who is at or near the top of the heap of Bollywood actresses.
I was just emailing with a friend yesterday on this topic and an interesting sub-text to this engagement. Before the official engagement, Indian news was filled with daily updates of their rumored pairing. Whereas US celeb news is filled with grainy photos of the couple running around on the beach or shopping together, the Indian news was filled with photos of the couple and the Bachchan family (or their cars) entering or leaving temple.
That's right, the most telling news to confirm that these two were together was that they were going to temple for specific prayers. And the newscaster informed us that the prayers were specifically for Aishwarya.
Well, she's a working girl. No not a prostitute. But she works. For a living. And the Bachchan family apparently wasn't very happy with this situation and needed to address the situation before marriage so that the gods (and their forefather and all of India apparently) would be pleased.
So here's the interesting thing...Aish is obviously strong woman. She's gotten pretty far in her young life. Sure, she's a really bad actress and immensely annoying in interviews, especially in English, but heck, she started off as a wannabe model and is now a top actress earning millions. That's nothing to sneeze at.
But it is apparently something to spit at if you're a traditionally minded, conservative Indian. And that sort of surprised me. Even one of my cousins who I consider to be pretty liberal (she's divorced, remarried, and living in Bombay) had bad things to say about Aish and her working status.
It could just be that people are tired of her. Or that they're jealous.
But after thinking about it some more I saw a true dichtomy (as with everything related to India, there's a dichtomy going on). In this case, it's basically two ways of thought on Aish's status and her actions. And I realized this situation is really an easy way of determining how liberated & emancipated an Indian is. Just ask what they're most annoyed about in this situation:
A) The fact that Aish would put herself through this religious nonsense just to marry Abhishek.
B) The fact that Aish is a working girl who doesn't plan to quit acting once she's married.
If you answered A, you're truly liberated and can't stand the thought of subjugating your very soul. Even though Aish talked the talk, she clearly can't walk the talk. Fuck her and this was her last chance. She's just another traditional Indian girl.
If you answered B, you're truly traditional and it just makes sense that Aish would agree to these religious things since it'll lead to a happier life. Hopefully she eventually realizes that her continued acting will look bad on the Bachchan family and she'll quit the biz. The interesting backstory to this is that when Amitabh got married to Jaya Badhuri, she quit acting, presumably to be a good housewife (and look on as her husband had a years-long affair with Rekha)
My friend? She's clearly in the A camp. This was Aish's last chance and she blew it.
Me? Well, I'm just a narrator, telling the story :) And I found it really interesting that the reaction to a single coupling could tell you all you need to know about an Indian...