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    Mar 2008

    Cool Now we're on stage as husband and wife: Aishwarya Rai

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    Now we're on stage as husband and wife: Aishwarya Rai
    Back for 2 days in Mumbai Aishwarya Rai unwinds with Subhash K Jha.

    It seems jetlag was invented for you and Abhishek.
    Ha! I grabbed this opportunity to come back home because Abhishek had to attend an event. I came back to see my father. That's been a gnawing concern all through ever since my father fell ill.

    The first couple of the Unforgettable shows were really difficult because I didn't get enough time to rehearse. But after that…it's been fantastic.

    In spite of the fact that you couldn't rehearse enough?
    I was ill for three weeks before we left. I've never been so ill in my life. I was on antibiotics throughout. I barely had five days to rehearse before we left. Only I know what it took for me to look chipper at the press conference.

    How could you dance after getting up from your illness?
    The first two shows were really tough on me. I was still regaining my physical energy. I had to do everything in my power to not let my post-illness weakness show. I practically learnt my steps during the shows. I just had the last 3-4 nights to first watch the acts and then try to learn them, prepare my costumes.

    I know you hate going on stage without enough rehearsals.
    But that's the story of my life. I'm so busy with my films I only get 4-5 nights to rehearse before going on stage. This (The Unforgettable tour) was actually the first time I had a couple of weeks to rehearse. Those were taken away from me. We were all smiling about it.

    You must be torn between the anxiety for your father and the ecstacy of dancing live?
    I am. My father is such a strong man. And so is my mother. They're both going through his illness and recuperation together. My father is the strongest man I know. He's my source of inspiration.

    His faith in the power of healing is so strong. I feel his strength and also the love of all those who have sent their genuine concern. He has gone through his second cycle of chemotherapy and now he's going through his third. It's not easy for us.

    Wouldn't you've preferred to stay home at this time?
    My father wouldn't allow that. My parents are made of incredible substance. When I was toying with the idea of backing out of the tour they put their foot down. My dad was like, 'No way. Life goes on. There's no way I'll let you take steps back.'

    The international press has gone ga-ga over your dancing?
    I enjoy dancing and I'm having the time of my life. But I wanted to come back to Mumbai for a while to spend time with my Dad.

    If it was London it would be a hopping flight. But from the US, you lose time because you cross the meridian line. So much as I'd like to come back every week from the concerts, I can't. But I just had see Dad.

    And this weekend we just had one show. Now we return this weekend to do a show in Houston. We flew in through Shanghai.

    How is it dancing with Madhuri Dixit?
    For the two of us it's like old times again. We felt we were both back to doing Devdas together. We smiled about it for while.

    You hadn't forgotten your Dola re steps?
    You know, muscle memory never lets a dancer down. If you're dancer you never forget steps for a song or dance you've done before. When the music plays the body just takes flight. And that's the best way to dance.

    Dancing with the whole family…is that a new high?
    It's a wonderful experience. We have danced together on screen and also performed together. But we've never been on a concert tour together.

    These concerts are special because we're doing them as a family and it's the first concert Abhishek and I are doing after marriage. Even the audiences all over now respond to us as a couple. They keep showering us with blessings and good wishes.

    And when we perform to the Guru song you should hear how they coo and clap…You know, when were co-stars I always told Abhishek a world tour is something he must experience.

    It's just such a high to connect on such an intimate basis with your audience. In fact for one of my world tours I had even asked my organizers to ask him to come onboard.

    He'd say, 'Not yet not yet' And now who would've thought when he's finally ready for his first wotld tour we'd go together as husband and wife.

    Your best shared moment during the concerts so far?
    After the perforamance at Amsterdam I looked at Abhishek and asked how it felt. And he reminded me that I had urged him to go on stage from long before. 'And now we're on stage as husband and wife, ' he said. That was a memorable moment.

    A section of your friends in Mumbai continue to believe the shows aren't doing well?
    What do you do? I've spent a entire career fighting off false perceptions about my life and career.

    Do you get time to chill in—between performances?
    So far I've done four shows. The first two were really hectic for me. I was learning my steps then and there. Even Dola re dola, I learnt my steps on stage.

    In San Franscisco I was relaxed for the first time. From there on it has just been awesome. I've about eight entries per show. That's the maximum ever for me. The whole team is putting their best foot forward.

    Do you improvise in the programming for each concert?
    Well, we added Dola re in the US when Madhuri came on board. Abhishek and I have also added a romantic act. Most of the show is pre-set. But we're modifying it here and there.

    As the number of performances increases we're having more and more fun. We're getting more and more interactive with the audience.

    You do realize, after the legendary Barrymores, the Bachchans are the first entertainment family to perform together.
    Oh my god! Really? You must tell Pa (Amitji) that.



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