Monday, April 2, 2007

Wrong Question

Everyone in the media seems to be obsessed with the upcoming Aishwarya-Abhishek wedding. That's expected -- it's one of the biggest weddings of the decade. But what pisses me off more is the fact that the media keeps posing the same question 'Is Aishwarya going to quit films after marriage?'

I mean, c'mon, puh-leez! This is not the 1970's when Jaya Bhaduri decided that it was improper for a married woman to be working in films, and left her booming career to be a housewife, and later raise their children. All Indian actresses in this day and age continue to work after marriage: Kajol, Karisma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit; albeit, in limited quantity, but that's a personal choice. It's quite foolish to even pose that as an issue. In fact, even Jaya Bachchan has come back to work in films, so it really is not an issue of 'impropriety' anymore, is it?

So asking whether or not Aishwarya Rai is going to quit films is the wrong question. What's a more pertinent in this day and age is 'Will Aishwarya Rai change her name to Aishwarya Bachchan after marriage?'

Hold up ... this isn't the no-brainer that the Bollywood 'film fraternity' would tell you it is. I'm sure most of Bollywood feels that having the 'Bachchan' label is a matter of prestige; almost like being marked as royalty -- so why wouldn't you take the last name? But Aishwarya Rai is an international figure. In the last 10 years, she has established herself -- her brand name -- as Aishwarya Rai. Is she ready to change the name that she has become famous with, to something else?

My guess is she won't. In our society, it has become quite acceptable for women to keep their maiden names. Because of that acceptability, there is reluctance on the part of many women to go through the hassle of changing their names (social security, license, passport, credit cards, etc.) ... not to mention the emotional attachment you harbor for the name. It's your name after all; the quintessence of your identity at a glance, and beyond. I personally feel that you really have to be crazy in love with someone to change such a huge part of who you are for them. I'm not saying I don't think Aishwarya loves Abhishek enough ... who am I to know such a thing or make such a claim? I just don't think she'll do it. She's Aishwarya Rai. She's not just a Bachchan bahu, and she'll make sure people know it.

Result: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. A 'happy medium' that actually leaves neither side satisfied.

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