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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Bollywood celebrates star wedding
The groom on horseback makes his way to the bride

Two of Bollywood's biggest stars, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, have wed in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Only about 100 guests were invited to the evening ceremony held at one of the groom's family's homes.

But outside, thousands of fans packed the streets trying to catch a glimpse of the couple and celebrity guests.

Ms Rai is a former Miss World, while the groom is son of veteran superstar actor Amitabh Bachchan and actress turned politician, Jaya Bachchan.

The marriage had been billed as Bollywood's biggest wedding in a decade, but the Bachchan family went out of its way to try to keep the proceedings a strictly private affair, erecting a wooden fence around the house to try to keep onlookers away.

But the BBC's Monica Chadha says there were chaotic scenes as a crowd of about 1,000 onlookers broke through barricades and climbed trees to try to get a glimpse of proceedings.

Bachchan and Rai

Police were forced to use batons to try to control them and a team of private security guards formed a human chain around the house which overlooks a main road.

There was drama late on Thursday when a woman claiming to be Bachchan's lover slashed one of her wrists outside his house. She did not appear to have been seriously hurt.

The ceremony began with a procession led by Abhishek Bachchan riding a white horse along the road from one of the Bachchan family bungalows to another, where Rai was waiting for him.

The couple were wed according to Hindu marriage rites, including a ceremonial walk around a fire seven times which signifies that the couple will reunite for their next seven births.

Eleven priests were reportedly called in to conduct the marriage.

Close friends, including industrialist Anil Ambani and politician Amar Singh, as well as fellow actors Kajol and her husband Ajay Devgan, Preity Zinta and Sanjay Dutt, were among those on the guest list.

The groom's childhood friends, including directors Apoorva Lakhia and Rohan Sippy, were there too.

Rai had been expected to wear a special outfit created by her long-time designer, Neeta Lulla, while Bachchan is thought to have opted for an ensemble designed by duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, who are close to the Bachchan family.

A friend of the family said the Bachchans wanted to keep it small as the groom's grandmother is unwell and undergoing treatment in hospital.

'No honeymoon'

The big day was preceded by the sangeet, or music night, on Wednesday, when relatives and friends joined the couple to dance and sing songs.

Amitabh Bachchan and his wife Jaya reportedly performed a special waltz for the couple, while their friends gave special performances.

Thursday evening was the mehndi, or henna night, when the bride's hands and feet are painted with henna in preparation for the big day.

This took place at Rai's residence in Bandra, while a dinner party took place at the Bachchan bungalow.

Reports say the couple will not go on honeymoon because Abhishek Bachchan wants to be close to his grandmother.

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