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Aishwarya Rai pregnancy rumors: doctored images and media manipulation

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What do you do when there's no news to report about "the most beautiful woman in the world?"

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If you're the Times of India you simply invent some.

That's what seems to have happened in regards to recent rumors about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan being pregnant with her second child. The newspaper has been the main source of information for dozens of other sites, all claiming that the Bachchan bahu is "clearly" expecting another baby.

The Times of India produced a video in which they claim that Aishwarya is pregnant (based off of a clearly doctored photo that was posted to the website of the Hindi news channel Sahara Samay) and that she's leaving films.

Aishwarya is obviously not leaving films: rumors of her having finally signed a film have gone far beyond gossip. Sushmita Sen, who is co-starring with Aishwarya Rai in the upcoming Happy Anniversary, has gone public about the casting and has expressed her enthusiasm over the project.

As for the "smoking gun" in this story: Sahara Samay printed a photo that showed Aishwarya looking extraordinarily bloated in the midsection as she posed with her family after voting last week. Aishwarya's "baby bump" wasn't the only bloated section of the photo: the entire right hand side of the picture was distorted, clear and obvious proof that the photo had been doctored. Anyone with eyes should have noticed how odd the picture looked. Failing that, a quick glance at any of the dozens of other photos from that moment which have been all over the media would have made it very clear that Aishwarya is the opposite of bloated these days. In fact the actress looked quite svelte in blue jeans and a casual grey long sleeved top.

It's not difficult to see what motivates sites like The Times of India, Sahara Samay, or Bollywood Mantra (which not only repeated the rumor as fact but also snidely commented that Aishwarya was "back to her fatty days") to print patently false rumors and run Photoshopped images as fact: page views mean money, and why bother with professionalism when there's cash to be had in lying?

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