The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Presenter Ash is unknown to Oscars

Washington/Mumbai, Feb. 25: 'Who' asked the lady at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California.

'Aishwarya, Aishwarya Rai.'

No, she hadn't heard the name.

The Oscar spokeswoman denied that Aishwarya is billed to be a presenter at the 77th Academy Awards on Sunday night (Monday morning in India).

Contacted by The Telegraph following persistent reports in India about a possible Aishwarya appearance at the Oscar ceremony, the spokeswoman explained how the planning was done in detail in advance and presenters were never picked at the eleventh hour or left unconfirmed.

The spokeswoman said to look up the official website of the Academy ' ' where the names of presenters and performers have been put up. Anyone who is not on that list cannot be presenter or a performer, she said.

Earlier in the day, word was put out that the Bollywood beauty had been invited by the Academy to present an Oscar award to one of the winners.

But, sorry, madam is unlikely to be able to make it ' she's otherwise engaged.

'She has been invited to present an award but right now Aishwarya is busy shooting for her latest film Mistress of Spices by filmmaker Gurinder Chadha's husband in the UK and so she is not too sure whether she could make it to the award ceremony,' said Hari Singh, the actress's secretary.

Singh added that the Aishwarya camp learnt about the invitation through 'our international agents there'.

An afternoon paper in Mumbai had quoted Chadha, the director of Aishwarya's first international release, Bride and Prejudice, as saying: 'It's a unique honour for an Indian entertainer, and one that Ash shouldn't miss for the world.'

Singh said Aishwarya 'will be shooting for Paul's (Chadha's husband) film on the Isle of Man on that (Oscar) day. Hence, her attending the Oscar ceremony is still doubtful'.

'Miramax (which is distributing Bride in the US) is very keen to get (Aishwarya) to the Oscars. Frankly, so am I. But the problem is my husband thinks our film is more important. And I agree,' Chadha was quoted saying.

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