Flanked by security guards, the former Miss World waved and posed for photographs with children at the opening of a jewellery store in Al Qusais on Thursday.
“I like to thank you all for your blessings for my family, my husband Abhishek and daughter, Aradhya,” the actress told her screaming fans.
The star, who is married to Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan, joined her father-in-law and veteran actor, Amitabh Bachchan, and others to simultaneously open six branches of the Kerala-based Kalyan Jewellers across the UAE.
Despite being a regular working day, hundreds of mostly Indian expatriates turned out with their families to see Rai, one of India’s most famous women.
The actress is renowned for her roles in Devdas, Jodhaa Akbar, Guru and the Pink Panther 2, but has been keeping a relatively low profile since 2010.
Security struggled to keep fans at bay as they threatened to break barricades and get closer to Rai and Malayalam actress Manju Warrier, who is the company’s brand ambassador in Kerala. Traffic was held up outside the showroom, in Al Qusais, as motorists slowed down to see the actresses.
In the evening, an even bigger crowd turned out to see megastar Bachchan, 71, open the Bur Dubai branch in crowded Meena Bazaar, which already has several jewellers.
Regional Indian actors Prabhu Shivaraj Kumar and Nagarjuna also launched showrooms.
“We have tried to create an impact in the market every time we launch a store,” said a Kalyan spokesman. “We want to create visibility with customers.”
He declined to say how much the stars had been paid.
The company said it was investing more than Dh140 million in the UAE.
This is not the first time Indian jewellers have turned to celebrities to open stores in the UAE.
Argentinian football legend and former manager of Dubai’s Al Wasl, Diego Maradona, and Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat, opened a jewellery shop in Dubai’s Karama neighbourhood in 2011.