Aishwarya pays surprise visit to father

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Aishwarya Rai took time off from her busy shooting schedule in Kochi for Mani Ratnam's Ravana to fly back to Mumbai for dad Krishnaraj Rai's 70th birthday.

Krishnaraj got the surprise of his life when Aishwarya showed up for a very special family reunion on his birthday on Thursday. Son-in-law Abhishek Bachchan was also expected to attend the occasion, but couldn't do so.

"It's exactly what he (Krishnaraj) wanted. To be with his closest ones. There was no party because he couldn't take it. Only the immediate family and, of course, his daughter's in-laws - Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan - who were expected to drop in to wish him," a close family friend said.

Abhishek and Aishwarya are in the jungles of Kochi shooting for Mani Ratnam's tentatively titled Ravana.

Abhishek said: "I'd have loved to be there because Aishwarya's parents are not just my in-laws. They're a second set of parents that god has blessed me with. Unfortunately, much as I tried I couldn't get away from here even for a few hours."

It's a known fact that Ratnam likes to shoot in complete isolation and at a stretch without any interruption. But when the maverick moviemaker came to know that it was Aishwarya's father's 70th birthday, he quickly gave his leading lady the consent to zip back to Mumbai to be with her ailing dad on this special day.

"Although Aishwarya has been her thoroughly professional self throughout the time when her father has been undergoing treatment for a serious sickness, her heart has been in Mumbai with her father. When Mani heard it was her father's birthday, he let her go without a second thought," said a source.

Aishwarya also took the opportunity to fulfil a long-standing commitment for an endorsement before flying back to Cochin to resume shooting. ... 0080073617

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