The wedding of Bollywood power couple Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan dominated the headlines in Nepal as well, eclipsing the homecoming here of another Bollywood star, Manisha Koirala.
Trumpeted as the "wedding of the year", the former Miss World's tying the knot with Abhishek, son of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, dominated showbiz news in Nepal Saturday, especially the Bollywood-style additional drama of a former girlfriend slashing her wrist in front of the Bachchans' bungalow, saying she was jilted.
"'Lover' cuts wrist ahead of wedding", said the Kathmandu Post, reporting the attempt by a small-time actress and model who uses the screen name Jahnavi Kapoor, to slash her wrist Thursday night.
"Jilted lover?" asked the Himalayan Times, carrying a photograph of Abhishek but not of Aishwarya. Instead, it was Kapoor's photograph that dominated the report, with her left wrist prominently bandaged.
However, it was the official daily, the Rising Nepal, which gave the widest coverage to the much talked about wedding that took place in Mumbai Friday. The daily carried three reports.
Despite functioning under a Maoist information minister who this month expressed his distaste for beauty pageants, the daily Saturday reported the "fairy tale wedding" complete with a photograph of the groom on horseback, his face covered with garlands and ornaments. It also covered Kapoor's "suicide" attempt as well as Bollywood director Shakeel S.
Saifee's plan to make a film on Aishwarya's life.
With the media focussing its attention on the young couple, Nepal's own daughter and film actor Manisha's homecoming went virtually unnoticed.
Manisha, grandniece of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and granddaughter of B.P. Koirala, Nepal's first elected prime minister, came home for a quiet family visit Thursday. However, her popularity has taken a dive in her own country after she and her father Prakash Koirala supported King Gyanendra, who seized power through a coup two years ago and ruled Nepal for 15 months.
Last year, Manisha's visit to Nepal triggered protests. Student groups enforced a "ban" on her films after she campaigned for the municipal election held by the king, an exercise that was boycotted by over 90 ercent of the parties.
The candidate she campaigned for lost and two months later, when the royal regime was ousted, Prakash Koirala lost his post as science and technology minister and was stripped of his MP status by his late father's Nepali Congress party. Manisha's homecoming prompted only a small acid report in a local weekly. "Manisha returning with folded hands again," the Jana Aastha weekly reported, speculating if she was returning to campaign once again for her father.
Prakash Koirala, thrown out of the Nepali Congress, has subsequently formed a party of royalists - Nepali Congress (Rastrabadi).
However, it is yet to register at the Election Commission for taking part in a crucial election that will seal the fate of Nepal's 238-year-old monarchy.