Bollywood actress and internationally-renowned beauty, Aishwarya Rai, is set to attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival amidst recent controversy regarding the weight she gained while pregnant with her baby daughter and perception of beauty in India.
Aishwarya Rai, who gave birth to her baby girl Beti B in November, has been criticized by fans in Indian for not losing the weight she gained while pregnant. Critics poked fun at the former Miss World 1994 with heartless comments about her new body.
But Aishwarya Rai is not shying away from those who knock her.
The 38-year-old new mother will grace Cannes on May 24 and May 25, reported India Today. She will attend the L'Oreal Paris-amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) dinner to help raise funding for HIV/AIDS research. She will bring her five-month-old daughter with her.
Rai will also flaunt her post-baby body on the red carpet as well. In the past, Rai has been a shining fashion star at Cannes, a festival she has attended since 2002. Reporter Akshata Shetty of India Today noted, There is a lot of buzz about what Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will wear considering her post-pregnancy weight. Rumor had it she would wear a design by Sabyasachi Mukherjee. However, the designer denied that he has any part in Rai's wardrobe.
The baby weight controversy certainly has not depleted Aishwarya Rai's social calendar. After Cannes, she will jet-set off to Monaco for the 17th Bal de l'Ete, scheduled from June 22 through June 24. The theme of this event is Princess of Rajasthan, where Rai will likely don elaborate Indian wear.
Controversy surrounding Rai's weight gain ignited after a YouTube video entitled Aishwarya Rai's Shocking Weight Gain was posted online. The clip documents Rai's baby weight gain in photos, showcasing the most recent ones snapped at a United Nations even, complete with elephant sound effects.
Aishwarya Rai Bachan post her pregnancy seems to be looking rather plump instead of losing some of her flab after the baby's delivery. The Bachchan bahu seems to be taking motherhood very seriously and seems to have shockingly put on at least five to six kilos, wrote YouTube user desimad.
Commenters poked fun at the once-svelte beauty. She is a Bollywood actress and it is her duty to look good and fit, said one. She needs to learn from people like Victoria Beckham who are back to size zero weeks after their delivery, wrote another.
Backlash flared and many were quick to defend Aishwarya Rai.
Aishwarya is like a goddess. She is held up as the ideal of beauty and so there is an expectation on her to look perfect at all times, show business columnist Shobhaa De told the Daily News of the fracas. The role models being held up are Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham . . .this whole business of looking desperately skinny two weeks after giving birth is a Western import.
If Rai shows off her post-baby curves, she could truly revolutionize societal standards for women. It could be a turning point in making us stop and review the absurd expectations we have of our female celebrities, added De.
Rachel Dwyer, professor of Indian Culture and Cinema at SOAS, University of London, agrees with this notion.
I think this baby weight thing is a western obsession with pulling stars down. Women who lose weight are congratulated and those who don't are seen as letting themselves go. I've not heard of it in India before, she wrote in an email to ABC News.
Women are now meant to keep themselves looking beautiful throughout their lives, not just when they are young, she added. Women have a tough struggle.
Check out Aishwarya Rai's best Cannes Film Festival red carpet looks from over the years.