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Preview over, ticket to tie knot
- From NY, Abhishek & Ash rush to engagement

Mumbai, Jan. 14: Many Indians stirred out of their beds tonight and rubbed sleep off bleary eyes to hear what they have been cocking their ears for: Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai are engaged.

“Yes, this is true. At the New York premiere (of Guru) last night, Abhishek proposed marriage to Aishwarya. When they returned to Mumbai this afternoon, the engagement took place at Aishwarya’s house,” an excited Amitabh Bachchan told STAR News.

Beaming in a silk kurta-pyjama, Bachchan said: “Only the close family was present. The details of the marriage will be worked out later when both the families can sit together. Please pray for the couple. Abhishek was very excited.”

Makar Sankranti, the day chosen for the engagement, is one of the holiest dates of the Hindu calendar.

The ceremony took place hours after Abhishek and Ash landed around 2 pm.

The actress’s secretary Hari Singh said: “Yes, the engagement took place at Aishwarya’s apartment in La Mer building in Bandra in the evening. We can’t give you more details at the moment.”

La Mer, where Sachin Tendulkar also lives, is a 15-minute drive from Jalsa, the Juhu bungalow of the Bachchans where the action shifted late tonight.

Amitabh, rarely spotted outside his house, was seen welcoming guests who included Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Anupam and Kirron Kher and the designer duo Abu-Sandeep who had dressed up the Bachchans when daughter Shweta got married some years ago.

Close family friends Anil and Tina Ambani and Amar Singh were also spotted at Jalsa. Amar was also present at the engagement.

While neither family had spoken about the relationship, a wedding was seen as a given after Aishwarya accompanied the Bachchans — Amitabh’s brother Ajitabh and his daughter Namrata were also present, as was Amar Singh — to temples in Varanasi in November.

The grapevine had it that special prayers were said to ward off the evil caused by Aishwarya being a Manglik, which astrologers claim brings bad luck to the husband. Both families are religious and are regularly sighted at temples — the Bachchans were recently at Siddhivinayak temple and not long ago, Aishwarya made a trip to the Pushkar temple with her mother.

In the past few weeks, Aishwarya and Abhishek have made several public appearances together, the latest for Guru, which was released last Friday. The film, said to be based on Dhirubhai Ambani’s life, has received a good opening and could prove to be their first hit together.

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