Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is said to have had a "hospitable" experience when she met French President François Hollande at a special luncheon here on Tuesday, looking radiant and ravishing in a red Banarasi sari.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Their conversation ranged from talking about movies to her experiences at Cannes, a guest at the lunch told IANS, adding that Hollande even made Aishwarya join him at his table.
"The French president was very warm," the insider said.
Aishwarya, who has been in the midst of shooting her new film "Sarbjit", took out time from her busy schedule to attend the lunch, which was hosted by French Ambassador Francois Richier here.
The former beauty queen, a past recipient of the prestigious 'Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters', a civilian award by the French government, was the only Indian actor to be present.
Hollande attended the lunch following his appearance at the country's colourful Republic Day parade on Rajpath as the chief guest.
Other guests at the lunch included designers Ritu Beri, who has earlier received the Chevalier Des Arts et Des Lettres award, one of the highest civilian awards by the French government, for her contribution to the enrichment of Indo-French cultural relations; and Manish Arora, who shares a deep connect with Paris, the source said.
There were other politicians and businessmen at the gala.
For the occasion, Aishwarya chose a perfectly suited ensemble -- a sari from designer duo Swati and Sunaina.
Made in Banaras -- age-old weavers from where are poised for a facelift courtesy Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- the six-yard wonder that the actress wore, was woven with fine mulberry silk and zari made from pure silver threads dipped in gold.
Only natural fibres and eco-friendly dyeing was used in the making of the sari, a source close to the designers, told IANS.
It was only fit that that Aishwarya chose a creation so deeply rooted in Indian technique and craft to meet the president of France, a country that she's had a great connect with for long.
She's a regular at the Cannes International Film Festival, where the first look of "Jazbaa" -- her comeback film post pregnancy -- was launched last year.
An actress who has featured in Bollywood films like "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", "Dhoom 2", "Guru" and "Devdas", Aishwarya is also an ambassador of French cosmetics and beauty company L'Oréal Paris, for which she recently starred in an ad with Eva Longoria.
In fact, she even shot for her international film "Pink Panther 2" in Paris.