20 November 2004
Long before any concrete plans regarding the Aishwarya – Dhanush marriage was finalized, the media was buzzing with rumours about the impending nuptials between Dhanush and Aishwarya. Many sections of the media went so far as to spread rumours about a clandestine affair that was blooming between Dhanush and Aishwarya. But, as Dhanush later clarified, this was nothing but the media going haywire. There was no such affair that the couple had to hide. In spite of providing several clarifications and denials to the media, the rumours were still rampantly afoot. The reality was that he knew Aishwarya, but only as his sister’s friend, and they had no romantic liaisons whatsoever. But, when their parents heard of the rumours, they decided to put a full stop to it in a very different way – by arranging a marriage between the two! The two met before agreeing upon it, of course. When they met, Dhanush says he was impressed by her soft nature and kind heart. This was enough to capture the heart of one the young heart throbs of the Indian film Industry. Gradually, their intimacy grew and blossomed into the enduring love that it is today.
Not only that, Aishwarya is also an accomplished dancer and a great singer who has a very mellifluous voice (this is no mean fact in Chennai, where great singers will serenade you from every corner). She also has a degree in Corporate Law from Ashram School of Law. Not only this, Aishwarya is also a few years older than Dhanush, which of course caused a few raised eyebrows among the happy conservatives in our society. When asked about the age difference between his and his betrothed, Dhanush responded with very apparent irritation that the age factor does not bother them at all. And hats off to Dhanush for accepting his wife for the successful, strong woman that she is.
Interestingly, at the tender age of sixteen, showing uncharacteristic maturity for his age, Dhanush had decided that he would tie the knot before he turned twenty-three! When his engagement was announced, he profusely thanked Rajnikanth’s family, as well as his own, for making his dreams come true. Contrary to tradition, Dhanush got married at the age of twenty-two, well before his elder brother did (who was twenty-eight at the time).
In a time where we are still torn by narrow, petty obsessions when it comes to the idea of arranged marriages – like the “fairness” of the bride’s skin, the “higher educational qualification” of the groom, the “right” age, the “right” caste – the Aishwarya – Dhanush wedding truly embraces modernity while staying true to tradition. And for this, we applaud the two families for going ahead and solemnizing this match.
Even after the formal announcement regarding their engagement was made, the media would simply not let go of the idea that these two were having a secret affair! Many in the media went so far as to speculate that the marriage was taking place without Rajnikanth’s consent or approval. Irritatingly, many even claimed that this was the real reason Dhanush made the announcement by himself, without either families present! However, all this media speculation was, thankfully, put to rest by none other the super star Rajnikanth himself, who clarified the next day that his daughter’s wedding would be taking place with his “approval and blessings”.
Dhanush remarks that he is indeed very lucky and that he would never have thought he would belong to such a wonderful family someday. Is he not just the most adorable son-in –law?
The Traditional Tamil Wedding
The wedding between Dhanush and Aishwarya took place at Rajnikanth’s house on 18th November, 2004. The stage was set for a wonderful and traditional Tamil ceremony, and as is the case at any wedding, the entire house was all hustle and bustle from the wee hours of the morning. The entire house was decorated to perfection with beautiful floral arrangements and the traditional “kuruthola” hangings. Dhanush arrived early, and was warmly welcomed by his mother-in-law to be with the traditional aarati.
And then, the guests started arriving. Fans thronged by the hundreds to try and catch a glimpse of the stars who would be in attendance for this event, and of course for a glimpse of Rajnikanth himself. Dhanush looked exceedingly cute and charming in his traditional white shirt and a white dhoti (known as veshti in Tamil). The bride, Aishwarya, truly looked like a princess on her big day. She wore a gorgeous green and golden Kancheevaram silk saree, which is a true classic for any South Indian wedding. Her hair was tied back into a gorgeous, long braid that ran smoothly down to her waist and ended off with a beautiful jada kunjalam. Her hair was decorated with the traditional jasmine (mullai) and the jungle geranium (Vedchi) flowers, and embellished with several hair ornaments all along the length of the braid. She also wore a traditional nettichutti (the South Indian matha patti) that perfectly adorned her forehead. She also wore some very classy and traditional South Indian temple jewellery, which only added to her charm and charisma.
One of the most fun parts of any Tamil wedding is the Kasi Yathra ceremony, where the groom pretends to leave the ceremony in order to take up the life of an ascetic after renouncing all worldly pleasures. The father of the bride then convinces him to stay and accept his daughter’s hand in marriage, and the groom returns to the Pandal (where the wedding takes place). And could there be anyone better to act this ritual out than Rajnikanth himself and the young star, Dhanush! True to tradition, Dhanush walked right out, holding a walking-stick, with an umbrella held over his head. Rajnikanth followed him soon, and started convincing him to stay, much to the joy and amusement of everyone present at the occasion.
After this was the ceremony where the bride and groom exchange garlands. The bride and groom are lifted into the air by their relatives, making it hard for them to actually put the garlands on each other. This is another ritual that elicits a lot of smiles from the guests in attendance.
The muhurrat for their wedding was set between 10:30 in the morning to 12:00 in the afternoon. As more dignitaries started coming in, it was soon time for the main event – the tying of the thaali (magalsutra). Now traditionally, the thali is handed over to the groom by the father of the bride. But for this wedding, it was Rajnikanth’s guru, K. Balachander who handed over the thaali to Dhanush. What a touching way to show devotion to your mentor! Once the thaali was handed over, Dhanush tied the knot, as all those present showered petals on the bride and groom. He also put a dab of red sindoor on her forehead, in a ritual that anyone from India can easily recognize. And voila, they were wed!
Also, as is tradition, the bride changed into a nine-yard Kanjeevaram saree which was gifted to her by her in-laws. Aishwarya looked even more stunning (we wouldn’t have even thought it possible) in a red Kanjeevaram saree. She was a breathtakingly beautiful bride, indeed.
Of course, many celebrities were invited, the foremost of the being J.Jayalalitha, who also happens to be Rajnikanth’s neighbour. Kamal Hassan too graced the occasion to offer his blessings to the newlyweds. Many stars like Surya, Vijay were also present for the ceremony. After the ceremony, it was business as usual for Rajni, who had to hurry away to shoot for his upcoming film!
The Star-studded Reception
If you thought that Dhanush – Aishwarya wedding was a star-studded affair, then that is nothing compared to the scale of their wedding reception. The reception was held on the 21st of the same month, at Mayor Shri Ramanathan Chettiar Center. The decorations were simple, yet elegant. The who’s who of the Tamil world was in full attendance, and the guest list included not only Kollywood stars, but also several eminent politicians.
There were, again, huge crowds thronging outside the venue. With the exception of some very eminent guests, most others had to go through a security check before entering the venue. Every one was asked to show a copy of the wedding invitation they had received. Most people had to wait in a queue for some time before they got to meet the happy bride and groom. But, no body was complaining, and people seemed pretty happy to cooperate. After all, how often do you get to witness a wedding like this one.
With the décor in place, the bride and groom on their seats, the mood was set by some light instrumental music, which was not overpowering. Aishwarya looked simply ravishing in a blood red Benarsi saree, embellished with golden embroidery and sequins, and a dark green border. She also opted for a simple nettichutti to embellish her reception attire, and some simple, classic gold bangles. Dhanush looked very dapper in a white silk shirt and white dhoti with an elegant, classic golden border. Both the bride and the groom looked very happy and relaxed for their reception. Rajni himself was seen wearing a white dhoti and shirt.
Some of the stars who made it for the reception were Sridevi, national award winner Vikram, Madhavan. Many of the big names from Bollywood were also in attendance, like Jackie Shroff, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, and of course, Rajni’s close friend Shatrughan Sinha. One of the biggest names in attendance was definitely Amitabh Bachchan and his lovely wife, Jaya. As soon as walked in, people started applauding. The cheers were even more deafening when Rajni and Amitabh shared a hug. He and Jaya definitely shared goodwill and blessings to the couple. Some of the political heavyweights at the reception included Jayalalitha, DMK leader K.Karunanidhi and his son, Stalin.
A Happy Marriage
That the Aishwarya – Dhanush marriage took place ten years ago is a testament to the strength of their bond. The couple is still going strong, with great new opportunities coming their way. They are also the proud parents to two young boys – Yatra (who is six) and Linga (who is three). When asked about his wife, Dhanush is all praise. In an interview to Times of India, he said, “She is 100 times simpler than her father. She treats everybody as an equal and can be friends with anybody. But I also like that she is extremely complicated. She is a good mother to my sons and is bringing them up extremely well.”
We wish you many more years of bliss and success ahead!