Aishwarya Rai Bachchan may have been criticized in her native India for not losing her baby weight fast enough, but she looked nothing short of dazzling at the AmfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala in Cannes last night.
The Bollywood actress, 38, lived up to her title of “the world’s most beautiful woman” in a gold embroidered sari and coordinating tailored jacket with Mandarin collar.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s hair was piled high on her head and adorned with a slender gold band, while her make-up was understated save the dark eyeliner around her eyes.
The former Miss World, who is married to Abhishek Bachchan, the son of one of India’s best-loved stars, gave birth to her first child, a daughter, in November last year.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan found international fame in the Hollywood film Bride and Prejudice, and Julia Roberts billed her as the world’s most beautiful woman.
An unfortunate recent photograph that captured Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with a double chin, sparked a flurry of cruel criticism, with some suggesting that she has a “duty” to her fans to regain her pre-pregnancy figure.
One website posted a video of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looking less than her usual svelte self, flicking between photographs of her pre-birth, and photos now.
Called “Aishwarya Rai’s shocking weight gain”, the clip, which came accompanied by elephant sound effects, has been seen more than 500,000 times.
Dozens more videos in a similar vein have been posted, each with viewing figures in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
Comments left after the video prove that many of those watching have little sympathy for the star.
“She is a Bollywood actress and it is her duty to look good and fit,” one said.
Another added: “She needs to learn from people like Victoria Beckham who are back to size zero weeks after their delivery.”
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has commendably remained cool-headed about the criticism, and has been open about the fact that she is in no hurry to lose the few extra pounds she gained during her pregnancy.
She has said that she simply wants to “enjoy motherhood”.
Indeed, if last night’s appearance at Cannes is anything to go by, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has little to worry about.
Nor is she short of support in her goal to prioritize her new daughter.
Though there is certainly more critique than praise, many have come out in defense of the star, saying that she, like any new mother, should be focusing on her infant, not her diet.
One wrote: “She is a real women looking after a baby. We should be concern [sic] for her health and happiness especially if she is nursing the baby.”
Another said. “Kudos to you Aish for keeping it real and letting your baby have all the bonding and attention she needs with you. Enjoy your life.”
Media commentators in India have said that expectations placed on the country’s most famous stars are impossibly high.
Cinema professor Shohini Ghosh told the New York Daily News: “There is a glorification of motherhood in India and Indian cinema.
“But people are confused because they don’t know whether to glorify Aishwarya in her new motherhood or lament that she is not looking like a runway model.”
Showbusiness columnist Shobhaa Dé added: “She is held up as the ideal of beauty and so there is an expectation on her to look perfect at all times.”