Aishwarya Rai Bachchan delivers a baby girl

babyb-ash-abhi1Bachchans blessed with a girl The biggest Bollywood news this year has just been delivered. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has delivered a baby girl today (November 16, 2011) at Mumbai’s Seven Hills Hospital.

Abhishek Bachchan tweeted, “IT’S A GIRL!!!!!! :-)))))”.

Proud grandfather Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, “T 561 – I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl !””T 561 – A dada ji … Ecstatic !!!!” Amitabh tweeted thereafter.

Post the big news Twitter has been flooded with wishes for the Bachchan family and Amitabh was quick to that all his friends and well-wishers for their wishes.

“T 561 – thank you all ..!” he tweeted.

The Bachchans went in for the unconventional suburban choice of hospital, side stepping the more popular celebrity choices such as the Breach Candy Hospital.

Reportedly, this is the same hospital where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s sister-in-law, Shrima Rai, gave birth.

It was her father-in-law, legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, who broke the big news on behalf of Bollywood’s “first family.” On June 21 (Tuesday night) @SrBachchan tweeted: “”NEWS NEWS NEWS !! I AM GOING TO BECOME A GRANDFATHER .. AISHWARYA EXPECTING .. SO HAPPY AND THRILLED !!!,”.

Those 104 characters in all caps confirmed the news India waited for ever since the Abhishek-Aishwarya wedding in 2007. Hardly surprising, but awe-inspiring nonetheless that in half an hour Mr Bachchan’s Twitter page received 2,843 congratulatory messages. Fans and the media poured into the boulevard outside their Juhu bungalow the next morning.

Despite the obvious goodwill and excitement surrounding a Bachchan pregnancy, it has not been controversy-free for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. After spending a good part of her married years fending of pregnancy rumours, things came to a head when rumours surfaced of a stomach tuberculosis plaguing her which was preventing her from getting pregnant and delivering a Bachchan baby to anxious in-laws counting down to being grandparents.

A furious Amitabh Bachchan demanded an apology from the Mumbai tabloid which had carried the story and asked for a donation to a national charitable foundation working for tuberculosis. Through his blog Mr Bachchan demanded an apology for the “defamatory” article.

The actor also posted on his blog a letter written by Aishwarya to the tabloid asking for a denial and an apology which the tabloid printed. “Do note that the last few lines of the letter seeking apology have been conveniently deleted in the print,” Mr Bachchan posted on his blog.

The next controversy hit right after Mr Bachchan’s breaking news tweet. Just a month ago, in May 2011, Aishwarya was introduced as the leading lady of Madhur Bhandarkar’s ambitious new project, Heroine. The film was announced in Cannes, no less, during the Cannes Film Festival by Bhandarkar and production house UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala.

By July, days after Mr Bachchan’s public announcement, the producers shelved Heroine. Certain scenes with adult content and physically excruciating were not fit for a five-month pregnant Aishwarya.

The director sank into depression over the loss of his “most ambitious dream project” – and total silence – as the rest of Bollywood furiously debated the inclusion of a no-pregnancy clause in the contract of heroines.

When Bhandarkar did speak finally, he dropped another C-bomb. “The truth was hidden from us,” he said. We learnt about it from news channels like the rest of the world. Filmmaking functions on faith and trust. The film was announced in Cannes on May 13 while we commenced shooting on June 7. There was a gap of 24 days, if we had known the truth things could have been reworked.”

While Mr Bachchan continued to use his blog and Twitter handle to connect with fans and occasionally dispel rumours and tell off those whom he felt were infringing on the family’s privacy, Abhishek and Aishwarya maintained a stoic silence.

Aishwarya discreetly moved away from public appearances, generating much interest in the few initial sightings. These included an appearance in the Delhi with the whole family in tow to collect an award from the French government in July. However, the award ceremony was put off at her request due to three blasts which hit Mumbai the same day. “This isn’t the time to celebrate. Me and my family felt it was correct to request the French ambassador to postpone the ceremony to some other time,” she said.

The festive season saw Aishwarya attend a slew of religious functions – from Durga Puja at the Ramkrishna Mission in Khar to Mata ki Chowki at Sanjay and Maanyata Dutt’s home. She remained protective of her baby bump, throwing her trademark chic style to the wind and opting for loose traditional outfits as new rumours began to engulf the Bachchans.

The name of the hospital the Bachchans picked was revealed along with other “details” such as 11.11.11 being the day handpicked by the family for the birth of the new Bachchan. The “regressive remarks” evoked a reaction from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan through her spokesperson. The rumours were trashed as “Ridiculously insinuating such an esteemed and respected family would actually turn nature’s course for such blind sensationalized beliefs.”

The hospital too strongly refuted the stories on 11.11.11 being the handpicked date.

This time, Mr Bachchan took a softer tone on Twitter, perhaps preparing finally for the great joy at home. Sometimes criticised for being supercilious about family and values, Mr Bachchan tweeted on shopping “for the house” with Jaya Bachchan and said he was enjoying a surprise break.

A recent tweet from Mr Bachchan sums it up for the happy Bachchans who have undoubtedly gathered with family now.

“The strength of a family is its relatives in unison..break that up and you break the family..Happy hours spent with family relatives.”

Mr Bachchan has just received happy hours forever.

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