Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her seven month old daughter continue to be the darling of Indian media organisations looking to get the first definitive photographs of the little girl who is already as famous as her mother - a former Miss World and commonly declared one of the most beautiful women in the world.

The actress has been at the centre of a lot of controversy and criticism, after she failed to lose her post-pregnancy weight. The latest storm to surround the unfortunate mother is her protective behaviour, with several arguing she is going to unnecessary lengths to hide Aaradhya.

Aishwarya has had several people rush to her defence on these recent matters, most notably, of course, her husband, Abhishek Bachchan. In an interview with Gulf News, Abhishek once again came to his wife's rescue. While discussing his new film Bol Bachchan, the actor also spoke about the media frenzy revolving around his daughter. He insisted the only reason they insisted on secrecy was to make Aaradhya's life "as normal a way as possible".

"There is no attempt at secrecy or shielding anybody ... We work in an overwhelming environment," Bachchan said. Meanwhile, interested observers managed a glimpse of Aaradhya last week, when a cameraman for an Indian music channel - E24 - caught her staring into the camera while being cradled by her mother.

"It's a tad unfair. If I don't show my daughter it is secrecy and if I go around showing her the right way, people say that I am flaunting her. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't," the 36 year old Aishwarya told the tabloid.

Such popularity is hardly anything new in the Bachchan household, which is easily one of the most glamorous and powerful families in the Indian cinema industry. Abhishek Bachchan himself must have gone through similar, although not necessarily to the same degree, attention as a child, being the son of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. As a result, Abhishek Bachchan insisted they were particular about the kind of exposure Aaradhya had.

"We had a very normal upbringing till then. With Aaradhya too, we take her out, go for walks etc," he added.

Privacy issues aside, there has been significant interest in Aaradhya's appearance; something heightened by the fact that only a few people, outside the family, have been granted an audience, so to speak. These include American talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. An incidental observer was a fan of Aishwarya's - Anisah Hussain - who was lucky enough to see mother and daughter while they were out shopping in London.