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When Aishwarya Rai addressed ‘unsettling’ rumors that she was married to a tree, she stated, “International media would wonder if I’m cursed”

Aishwarya Rai

The 2007 wedding of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan was an industry-altering event. Not only were the months preceding up to the wedding filled with rumours, but when the Bachchans elected to have the ceremony in private at their Juhu home, the severity of the rumours about what was going on escalating.

One of the most lingering scandals surrounding Aishwarya and Abhishek’s wedding is that she was forced to marry a tree before tying the knot with Abhishek as part of a disturbingly mediaeval rite to fend off ‘bad omens’ Aishwarya discussed the incident in an interview with NDTV in 2008, stating that it is particularly uncomfortable when foreign journalists ask her about it during her worldwide travels.

Aishwarya said affirmatively when asked if there were things at the wedding that she had not anticipated. “Some of it was expected, but some of it we never could have imagined,” she said. When asked what she was referring to specifically, Aishwarya responded, “There were a few cases, but why give it more attention?”

Aishwarya responded, “Yes, there was so much of that,” when pressed further about whether she was discussing the tree debate. I felt it was unnecessary. It was completely unnecessary to devote prime time, newspaper space, and magazine covers to all of this. The best aspect was that we are a solid family unit. We are all in the public glare and have abundant opportunity to speak, but rather than contribute to the din, we chose to have the patriarch of the family… Paa did meet with the media at a specific time well after the wedding and responded to all questions.”

She continued, “It’s unbelievable. Although we would like to believe it is a fleeting phase, it is recorded. And I realised that when I had the opportunity to travel abroad, which I did frequently… So, you’re constantly interacting with worldwide media, and when they begin to wonder at the complete absurdity of everything, such as, ‘You got married to a tree, and you have a massive curse on you?’, what do you say? You simply think, “Oh my god, where do I begin?”

A year before their wedding, rumours circulated that the couple had travelled to Varanasi to undertake a “Kumbh Vivah.” An astrologer was mentioned in the Hindustan Times in 2006 as saying, “Abhishek and Aishwarya were in Varanasi at my advice. I had suggested to both families that they undergo this purification ritual in an ancient Shiva temple.”

The Bachchan family has repeatedly disputed the existence of such a ceremony. In 2016, Abhishek tweeted, “And for the record, we are still searching for this tree.” Amitabh informed The Times of India in 2007 that his family is not at all superstitious and that he had never seen Aishwarya’s janampatri. He posed the question, “Where is the tree? Please display it for me. My son is the only person she has ever married. “Except if you believe Abhishek, is a tree.”