Netherlands names tulip variety after Aishwarya Rai
After appearing on the cover of Time, Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai, adjudged one of the most beautiful women in the world, was honoured by The Netherlands, which on Thursday named a special variety of the tulip flower after her.
The special tulips were named 'Aishwarya Rai' after the former Miss World during a press conference on the first day of the four-day International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend here.
Presenting Rai with the tulips and the certificate authenticating their new name, Hans van Driem, Managing Director, Netherlands Board of Tourism said that the tulips were a celebration of Rai's beauty.
"Herewith I give you the Tulip - the symbol of the tourist destination Holland. This tulip represents all the beautiful things of Holland. This tulip will be named after one of the most beautiful women in the world - Aishwarya Rai," van Driem intoned before sprinkling the pink tulips with champagne. Accepting the flowers, 'Ash', who has the rare honour of being the Indian actress to appear on the Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman shows on US television, said she was "honoured and thankful" to receive the honour.
When asked why she was being bestowed the honour, van Driem told PTI that Aishwarya was "a symbol of Indian beauty" and that "a special hue of Netherland's prized tulips was nurtured by researchers" for the occasion.
Joking with reporters, Amitabh Bachchan said that the 'second' Aishwarya Rai was 'very beautiful' too.
Aishwarya, star of hits like Taal, Devdas and Mohabbatein who catapulted into global cinema last year with Bride and Prejudice by Gurinder Chadda of Bend it Like Beckham fame, will be performing at the IIFA awards ceremony on Saturday for the first time ever after missing out on what she called "fun times which I had been unable to attend before."
The actress, who has also been a jury member of Canne Film Festival, has just finished shooting for Paul Berges' Mistress of Spices and Jag Mundhra's Provoked.
She told reporters here that she would be heading to India soon to work on director Rohan Sippy's yet to be titled film with Abhishek Bachchan as well as Dhoom 2 - the sequel to last year's blockbuster thriller from producer Yash Chopra.