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Jun 17, 2007 at 11:07am IST

Ash-Abhishek engaged | Wish

Mumbai: After months of speculation, it's finally happened.

Bollywood's most-talked about couple, actors Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan got engaged on Sunday evening in a closely-guarded ceremony.

Abhishek's father and superstar Amitabh Bachchan confirmed the news to CNN-IBN.

The engagement ceremony took place at Bachchan's Mumbai residence - called Jalsa - soon after the couple returned from the premiere of their latest film Guru in Toronto and New York.

Among those present were Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya Bachchan, the family's close friend and Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh, Aishwarya's parents, and industrialist Anil Ambani with his wife Tina Ambani.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that the couple is expected to tie the knot shortly.

According to a national daily, the tentative dates fixed for the big day are February 19 or March 7.

"The children have decided. We are very happy and thought we should go ahead with the ‘roka’ ceremony. It was held in the evening," the daily quoted Amitabh Bachchan as saying.

It is believed that Abhishek - who will turn 31 next month - proposed 33-year-old Aishwarya after the premiere of Guru in New York and the actress accepted the proposal immediately.

Guru's release on Friday was preceded by weeks of speculation of the actors' budding off-screen romance.

But everyone, including Amitabh Bachchan , had remianed tight-lipped about the much-hyped romance between the two.

"It's up to Abhishek as to whom he would marry and when he would go about it," the Big B had told CNN-IBN in an interview late last year.

It was in November last year that rumours of the couple tying the knot first started doing the rounds, when a garlanded Aishwarya and Abhishek – accompanied by the senior Bachchans – were seen emerging from Varanasi's Sankat Mochan temple.

Soon after the temple visit, speculation was rife that the couple - who have featured in five movies together so far - had got married much earlier at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai.

But now all speculation can be put to rest and the film industry can gear up for what is likely to be perhaps the biggest wedding of Bollywood.

The couple, along with Amitabh, Amar Singh and Amitabh's daughter Shweta Nanda, have now flown to the temple town of Ujjain to take a holy dip.

A few months ago rumours about Aishwarya and Abhishek’s wedding had gathered momentum after it was revealed that the actor's uncle, Ajitabh Bachchan, had visited well-known astrologer Chandrashekhar Swami in Bangalore with the horoscopes of the two.
In November last year, Aishwarya accompanied Abhishek and his family for a visit to the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi.
They took part in Mangla Aarti and Rudra Abhishek rituals at the temple, believed to be a corrective puja performed especially by the couple since Aishwarya is a manglik.
At the time when the Bachchans went to Varanasi, there were other media reports, which said that Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai had actually got married much earlier at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai.
In an interview to CNN-IBN Entertainment Editor, Rajeev Masand, Abhishek Bachchan had on January 5, said, “I don’t believe in hiding anything and my life is an open book. As and when there is something to talk about I will talk about it…The day I do get married, I will tell everyone. I am not doing anything illegal anyways.”
In November last year, Amitabh had said in London that he wanted Abhishek to settle with a "good girl" of his choice.

<table width="252" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/01_2007/abhiasheng1.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="center">HUNK-Y DORY: Abhishek Bachchan leaves Jalsa for Aishwarya's residence.</div></td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table> <table width="252" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/01_2007/abhiasheng2.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="center">THE DRIVING FORCE: Amitabh Bachchan (seen here at the wheel) drives Aishwarya to her residence.</div></td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table>