Put off award function, Ash asks France after Mumbai blasts

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2011, 10:07 AM IST

New Delhi: Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, who was to receive an honour from the French government here Wednesday, requested officials to postpone the ceremony in the wake of the Mumbai blasts. The actress also maintained a minute`s silence to mourn the deaths.

"Thank you all for being here. The current situation has really disturbed and shocked all of us. I thank the French embassy for being supportive and considering the sensitivity of the situation. They have been kind to consider me and my family`s request to postpone the celebration till another time. We as Indians can`t go ahead and celebrate in such a situation," Aishwarya told reporters at the event.

Mumbai was hit by three blasts that left at least 20 people dead and over 100 injured Wednesday evening.

The event for honouring Aishwarya with ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ was being held in New Delhi, but her heart was with those affected by the tragedy.

"The terrible blasts have shook us, but we shall stand strong. They (terrorists) should get it straight that we won`t let them succeed. You cannot break us, we all believe in deep strong Indian spirit. You will not get the better of us. God bless us and Jai Hind," added Aishwarya, who was accompanied by her actor-husband Abhishek Bachchan.

The 37-year-old`s appearance was highly anticipated as it was her second public outing ever since the announcement of her pregnancy. She did not disappoint by being away from shutterbugs, and looked extremely graceful in a yellow and parrot green sari, with the natural glow of an expectant mother.

French Ambassdor Jerome Bonnafont said: "The terrible series of blast has shocked all of us. It seems the time is not right. I pay my condolence and want the Indian people to know that the government of France is with them."

IANS