Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (3)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (104)  | Personal Quotes (50)

Overview (4)

Born in Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Birth NameAishwarya Krishnaraj Rai
Nicknames Ash
Height 5' 5¾" (1.67 m)

Mini Bio (3)

Born into a traditional south Indian family, Aishwarya started modeling at a young age. This green-blue-eyed beauty appeared in advertisements for many prestigious firms; the ones that brought her into the limelight were the garden sari and the Pepsi ad. Crowned Miss India 1994 runner-up, she was a hot favorite in the run for miss world title, which she won, her beauty and charm made her India's darling. Ash stormed into the Indian movie industry, where she has proven herself a brilliant & genuine actress. Her performance in Iruvar (1997) was critically acclaimed, and she won the Screen best female debutant award for her role in ...Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997). She was adored in movies like Taal (1999), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Devdas (2002), her item number in 'Bunty & Bubbly' had sent waves of rhythm across the nation. With her successful Bollywood movies and prestigious Hollywood projects lined up for release it is impossible to ignore this Indian diva in international scenes.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: preetesh< preetesh_c@rediffmail.com>

Aishwarya was an architecture student before she entered modeling as her part-time job. She was best known for her Pepsi commercial with Mahima Chaudhry. With her green-gray eyes, she was already approached by big names in India's film industry, where they offered her starring roles. She rejected the film offers since she aimed to be an architect. However, fate had other things in store for her after she was crowned Miss World 1994. Soon after her winning, again she received offers to star in movies. In Southern India, she was best known for her role as Madhumita/Veishnavi in Jeans (1998) and as Meenakshi in Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000). She won the Filmfare Award for best actress for her performance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) as Ajay Devgn's wife who is in love with another man. She also received rave reviews for her performance as a rape victim in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Alindalia <alindalia_a@yahoo.com>

Aishwarya Rai (Ash) is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. This Indian darling burst upon the world stage when her striking beauty, poise and commanding intelligence won her the Miss World crown in 1994. This former architecture major soon became one of India's most famous models, landing a prestigious Pepsi-Cola campaign and appearing in Vogue Magazine. India's top Bollywood directors were soon lining up to work with Ash. Her film debut in Mani Ratnam's Iruvar (1997) received critical acclaim and her performance in ...Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997), directed by Rahul Rawail, garnered her the Best Female Debutante Award. In 2000 she was awarded Best Actress by FilmFare and Zee Cine for her work in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) in that same year, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her special appearance in Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein (2000). In 2001 Ash was nominated for FilmFare's Best Actress Award for Satish Kaushik's Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000).

Ash's star continued to rise in 2002, working again with Sajay Leela Bhansali in Devdas (2002), the most ambitious and most successful film in Bollywood history. It became the first Bollywood picture to receive a special screening at that year's Cannes Film Festival and broke box-office records in India and the US.

Ash had even more exciting opportunities in 2003. She became the first Indian actor to be a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. She is also the latest member of the elite L'Oreal Dream Team, joining renowned international beauties Catherine Deneuve and Andie MacDowell as L'Oreal's international ambassador. She graced the covers of India Today and the prestigious TIME Magazine, which also listed her on their list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World Today". She has graced numerous covers worldwide including the US, UK, China, Russia, Israel, United Emerites, Italy, Spain and France. Ash was also listed on Rolling Stone Magazine's annual "Hot List", Hello Magazine's 'Most Attractive Women in the World", Stuff Magazine, FHM magazine, V-Life from Variety Magazine, GQ Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Harper's & Queen and countless others. In 2004 Aishwarya took on the leading role in her first English-language film: Gurinder Chadha's Bride & Prejudice (2004). She also became the first Indian female to be immortalized in wax at the world-famous Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London.

She began 2005 with appearances on 60 Minutes (1968), Late Show with David Letterman (1993) and the most watched television program in the world: "Oprah" (1972). Her career continued to grow with roles in The Mistress of Spices (2005) for director Paul Mayeda Berges, Jag Mundhra's Provoked (2006), Sanjay Gadhvi's Dhoom 2 (2006) and legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis' The Last Legion (2007) opposite Colin Firth and Sir Ben Kingsley and a comic turn as the villainess in Steve Martin's The Pink Panther 2 (2009).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Simone Sheffield - Manager (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Family (4)

Spouse Abhishek Bachchan (20 April 2007 - present)  (1 child)
Children Aaradhya Bachchan
Parents Vrinda Rai
Krishnaraj Rai
Relatives Aditya Rai (sibling)

Trade Mark (1)

Her blue-green eyes

Trivia (104)

Wanted to study medicine, but circumstances prevented her.
Miss World 1994.
Was offered Rani Mukerji's role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
Runner-up, Miss India 1994.
Daughter of Vrinda Rai.
Sister of Aditya Rai.
In April 2003 she suffered an accident on the sets of Khakee (2004) when a car driven by a stuntman got out of control, hit her, took her down a crevice and slammed her into a cactus plant. She broke a bone in one foot and suffered severe cuts, and she was rushed to a hospital. The incident rekindled the discussion about poor safety standards on Bollywood film sets.
The first Indian actress to be on the jury of the Cannes International Film Festival.
Has made over 50 music videos in only seven years.
Despite the fact that she is adorned with jewelry in her music videos and movies, she is apparently not too fond of it.
Created a frenzy at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival when she arrived at the premiere of Devdas (2002) in a coach and wearing a beautiful yellow-orange-embroidered sari.
Was originally cast in the role of Jwala in Mangal Pandey (2005), but dropped out before filming started due to contract problems. The role was later given to Ameesha Patel.
Loves collecting watches.
Was the face of Coca-Cola South Asia as well as the Middle East.
Is featured in the 2004 edition of the" Guinness Book of World Records".
In a poll conducted by "Hello" magazine, she was voted the #1 attractive woman of 2003, beating out Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The first Bollywood star to appear in "Rolling Stone" magazine. (Issue 932, 10/2/03).
Gained 20 pounds for Bride & Prejudice (2004) because she didn't want her character to look like a supermodel and also felt that it would add a sense of realism to the character.
Is an ethnic Bunt, like Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Suniel Shetty. The Bunts are a South Indian community from Mangalore who mainly speak Tulu, which is her mother tongue.
Turned down the lead in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003). The role was given to Gracy Singh.
Turned down the role of Mastani in the film Bajirao Mastani (2015).
The first movie star she ever met was Rekha. She was still in high school at the time and was a model. While at a grocery store with her mother, Aishwarya was tapped on the shoulder by none other than Rekha herself. Rekha recognized her from her modeling ads. She complimented the young girl on her good looks and wished her all the best.
Is fluent in English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Urdu.
Was originally intended for the role of Priya in Chalte Chalte (2003).
Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are the only stars to advertise for both Coca Cola and Pepsi.
Before she was famous, she auditioned to do voice-dubbing for a television serial and was rejected.
Shah Rukh Khan recommended her to play Kaurwaki in Ashoka the Great (2001), but the director wanted to cast someone who hadn't already been paired with Shahrukh as a leading lady.
After she won the title of Miss World in 1994, the host of the event, Richard Steinmetz, actually asked her out. However, she thought it unprofessional and turned down his request.
Sued the magazine "Star and Style" for a sum of Rs 20 million (2 crore) for printing an article claiming that Raveena Tandon had caught her and Akshay Kumar in a "compromising position" at the poolside of a five- star hotel.
While shooting the music video for the song "Dola Re Dol"' from Devdas (2002), her ears started to bleed due to the weight of the heavy earrings she had to wear, but she finished the performance.
Is a trained classical dancer, a skill she learned from taking classical dance lessons for five years while a teenager.
Has a puppy named Sunshine, given to her as a gift by Vivek Oberoi.
Won the title of Miss Photogenic in the 1994 Miss World Pageant.
Has won over 100 awards since 1994 when she was 20.
Has gained a cult following in Pakistan.
Was listed in "Time" magazine as among the 100 most influential people in the world (The 2004 TIME 100).
Ran the Olympic-torch relay in June 2004.
Turned down a role in The Myth (2005) due to her touring schedule. The role was eventually given to Mallika Sherawat.
Has refused to work with Salman Khan after their break-up, in spite of several offers.
Has over 17,000 Web sites dedicated to her.
In 2004 she became the first Bollywood and Indian actress to have her own statue at London's Madame Tussaud's museum.
On 1/2/05 she became the first Indian actress to be interviewed on 60 Minutes (1968).
On 6/605 she was voted #9 in "Harpers and Queen" magazine's list of the 100 most beautiful women of today.
A tulip produced in 2005 was named for her.
Member of the jury at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
When Oprah Winfrey saw her interview on 60 Minutes (1968), she was so fascinated by her that she invited her to be a guest on her show. On 4/25/05 she became the first Indian and South Asian actress to be featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986).
Turned down a small role as Briseis in Troy (2004).
Director Andy Tennant offered her a small part in Hitch (2005), but she was busy shooting Bride & Prejudice (2004) at the time.
Turned down the role of Anna in A Sublime Love Story: Barsaat (2005).
Was voted #12 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Actresses of the Last 20 Years in December 2005.
Roger Ebert has said he considers her the most beautiful actress in the world.
Was voted as "E"'s 7th sexiest celebrity in the world.
The first actress from India to be signed with the American Library Association and also have a poster made of her for schools and libraries all across America.
Was originally signed to play the part of Simmi in Bluffmaster (2005), but was replaced without any notice by Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Director Rohan Sippy then gave her a "special thanks" in the end credits as an apology.
Turned down the part of Sandhya in Saamna (2006).
When President George W. Bush visited India in March 2006, he invited her, along with Aamir Khan, to a luncheon. Aishwarya could not attend because she was in Brazil at the time filming Dhoom 2 (2006).
Was considered for the role of Priya in Krrish (2006).
Turned down the lead in Corporate (2006) because she didn't have any dates available for filming. The role was given to Bipasha Basu.
In mid-2001 she started work on two films, "Radheshyam Seetaram" and "Hum Panchhi Ek Daal Ke'. For reasons unknown, filming stopped on these films in February 2002. Filming was never completed and the films have now been shelved. The only glimpse of the movies that exist for the public to see are photographs from the sets and publicity shots.
In March 2006 she performed to an audience of 85,000 in Melbourne, Australia, at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games with 800 backup dancers.
Was cast in a small role in Lajja (2001), but was dropped because there were already too many major stars in the film.
When Karan Johar asked her on his talk show which film she wishes she could have been a part of, she responded, "Khamoshi the Musical (1996)".
Is the second Indian actress to appear on the cover of 'Time" magazine,e in 2003. The first was Parveen Babi in 1976.
Featured in 5/8/06 issue of "People" Magazine as one of the 100 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Was considered for the role of Kalyani in Water (2005).
Got her education at Arya Vidya Mandir and DG Ruparel College, both in Bombay, India. She was also accepted into Raheja College of Architecture in Bombay, but never went.
On 9/5/06 she caused a day-long traffic jam in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while filming a soap commercial. People would stop for hours just to catch a glimpse of her.
Listed #3 by UK magazine "Eastern Eye" of "Asia's Sexiest Women" (Sept. 2006).
Is the most photographed woman in India.
She was the first choice for the role of Jane Smith in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), but she turned it down due to filming conflicts.
She secured 90% marks in HSC at Ruparel college in Mumbai.
Has been in seven movies with now husband Abhishek Bachchan, more than with any other actor.
Turned down the part of Malvika Talwar in Baabul (2006).
In 2005 Hugh Hefner attempted to create an Indian version of "Playboy" for India, which would feature South Asian women and Indian pop culture articles, but no nudity. He wanted to have Aishwarya on the cover of the first issue. The magazine was rejected.
Twice turned down the lead in the Hindi version of Chandramukhi (2005).
Was invited in 2005 to be a presenter at The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005), but was unable to attend because she was busy filming The Mistress of Spices (2005).
Is active in various charities and often visits orphanages.
Is the second of five Indian women to win the Miss World title. The first was Reita Faria, who won in 1966. Others include Diana Hayden who won in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in 2000.
Has appeared on more magazine covers worldwide than any other Bollywood or Indian star.
Director Brett Ratner is a fan of hers and wanted her to be cast in Rush Hour 3 (2007), but she turned down the offer.
Was considered for the part of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006).
Her wax statue at Madame Tussauds Museum in London was borrowed by the museum in New York for six weeks. The statue was flown to New York and made its debut on 8/15/07, making her the first Indian actress in the American branch of the museum.
About 15 kilos of henna was special-ordered from Sojat in Rajasthan for the henna ceremony before her wedding.
Her wedding invitations were embossed with two entwined A's and delivered along with a box of chocolate meringues. Within the invitation was also a poem about new beginnings written by Amitabh Bachchan father and renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
Her wedding ceremony lasted a total of three days. It was the most anticipated and talked-about wedding in years and the press followed it like Princess Diana wedding.
For her 34th birthday, she went to see Beyoncé in a concert in Mumbai.
Turned down the role of Neha in Friendship (2008) because she felt that her real-life marriage to Abhishek Bachchan wouldn't work well for their characters.
In February 2009 "Forbes" listed her in the 387th position out of 1,411 actors as the most bankable Indian star in Hollywood.
The youngest actress to receive the Padmi Shri award, the fourth highest civilian honor, from the government of India for her contribution to cinema.
She has won the esteemed V. Shantaram Award twice: 2009 Best Actress for Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and 2003 Best Actress for Devdas (2002). The V. Shantaram Award is voted on by members of the Directors Guild.
Se is the first goodwill ambassador for Smile Train, a charity that works worldwide for children with cleft lip.
Due to her popularity, a second wax statue of her was added to Madame Tussaud's in Blackpool, UK in October 2011. This new statue took inspiration from her look at Cannes in an Elie Saab gown. The previous one had her statue draped in a sari. It was made exclusively for Blackpool's new Bollywood world tour.
Gave birth to her first child at age 38, a daughter Aaradhya Bachchan on 11/16/11. Child's father is her husband, Abhishek Bachchan.
Released "Aishwarya's Greatest Hits" on DVD containing 50 of her music videos to date. [May 2003]
In October 1999 Feroz Khan signed her for his next F.K. International's "Qurbaan Tujh Pe Mere Jaan" co-starring Ajay Devgn and Fardeen Khan. The film was to be produced and directed bynm0451211 [xxxxxx]. It was a love story set against the backdrop of the film industry. The film was announced but then shelved. After "Qurbaan Tujh Pe Mere Jaan" was shelved, Feroz Khan launched "Tera Saath Hain Kitna Pyaara" starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fardeen Khan, which was to be produced and directed by himself. The title was taken from a song by the same name from Feroz Khan's earlier hit Janbaaz (1986). This film was also shelved after the announcement. The film's story was then going to be made as Shaadi.com with Fardeen and Celina Jaitly, produced by Feroz Khan and directed by Hansal Mehta.
Feroz Khan was planning a film titled "Nasha" about the problems drugs are causing to society. It was to be produced and directed by Khan. The film was going to star Amitabh Bachchan, Khan, Fardeen Khan and Lopsang. After Amitabh fell ill, Feroz shelved the idea and decided to start the Kurbani remake.
Was to star in Vikram Bhatt's "Mulaqaat". She was replaced before shooting by Rani Mukerji. The film was shelved after a few days of shooting.
Starred in Kalpana Lajmi's 2005 shelved film "Singhasan", a political thriller.
In 2004 she was going to produce a Hollywood movie along with Zachary Coffin (an actor in India). The film was titled "Windfall" and was based on the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984. She was to play Jasmime Singh, an NRI who returns to India to search for her father. Her father was the factory plant manager the night the tragedy occurred. The film was shelved after announcement.
Producer/ actor Arif Khan was producing a film titled "Main Bana Chahti Hoon Aishwarya Rai". It was about a village girl who comes to Bombay gets a chance to star in a music video. She then struggles to become a heroine. Aishwarya objected to the film's title and wanted it changed. Arif then changed it to "Banke Rahoongi Aishwarya". This was in 2004.
She was to pair opposite Ajay Devgn in a film that was to be produced by Amitabh Bachchan production company ABCL. The yet-untitled project was to be based on a family-oriented subject with Jaya Bachchan playing Ash's mother. It is learned that actor Vinod Khanna and Mrs. Bachchan play a separated couple in the movie. Amitabh Bachchan himself was not be seen acting in this film that was be produced by ABCL in association with Spice Team Entertainment. Sharbani Deodhar was directing the film. Amitabh Bachchan himself chose not to enact the lead role opposite Jaya because the two elderly characters in the movie are not shown married to one another. Vinod Khanna's name for the role was suggested by the Big B only. The film was likely to go on floors in September 2005. It was be shot in Mumbai and London. The film was shelved after announcement.
Shankar offered her the lead in Mudhalavan but she was unable to do it.
Will Smith wanted her to play Mary Embrey in Hancock (2008), but she turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. So the role was given to Charlize Theron.
In 2000 Joy Augustine narrated a story to her. She fell in love with it and wanted to produce the film. Arjun Rampal and Aftab Shivdasani were approached for the lead roles. The film fizzled out for unknown reasons.

Personal Quotes (50)

I'm just an average woman with average concerns.
Life will take its toll on all of us. We get injured, we get old. It's really sad to try to run away from these harsh realities of life. Looks are not everything. I am not going to look beautiful all the time.
You give to the world your greatest gift when you're being yourself.
I believe that as an actress all my fears and phobias exist till I sign on the dotted line for a film.
I don't believe in proving a point to anybody. Nobody is that important.
It's strange that Rakesh Roshan thinks I look older than Hrithik Roshan. In fact, he's approached me for all his home productions.
I always knew I would be successful. So there was no element of surprise.
I know for a fact that if there's a role which I am suited for, I'll be signed on. I'll never go begging.
I only entered Miss India after pressure from friends and because I thought it would be a laugh.
Comedy is difficult for an actor. But I think I have a good sense of humor and manage to make people laugh and make them happy.
[on donating her eyes after death] People know me more because of my eyes. So I decided to donate my eyes. But before that, I acquired all the information about the campaign. Within what time after death one has to donate eyes, and all other information. Only then I decided to donate my eyes. It's not that just for doing something, I donated my eyes. I found that useful so I did it. I like to do social service from my heart. Whatever is possible I do, but I don't speak of that. But I would like to give more time to it in the near future.
Women in the industry have been exploited very often, but there are some actors who belive that the short cut to stardom is through nudity or exposure. Such success is, in fact, very short-lived.
I have never done a kissing scene nor do I have intentions to.
[About Chaos (2006)] When this came to be early this year, I was ecstatic. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to work with Meryl Streep, someone I've always admired. In all my interviews 10 years ago people used to ask who is your favorite actor and actress and I would mention 'Robert de Niro' and Meryl Streep. On my first trip there I met up with de Niro and my first film is with Meryl Streep, and I said, "Oh God that's really, really cool. Really wonderful."
Ever since I went to the Cannes festival, the media overseas really encouraged me to consider the possibilities of working in the West. Then I got a call from some people who worked in the business in America, who asked me to first obviously get an agent so that they could have direct access because that's the way they work.
[About turning down the role opposite Jackie Chan in The Myth (2005)] I did not have the required dates as I was busy with the shows abroad. I had to turn down the film. I have no regrets because there is always a next time.
Indian cinema has begun to be recognized globally. And it's very important for us to make our presence felt at important events such as Cannes. I feel there should be more Indian representation at festivals. India is producing such a large cross section of films. We need to be part of world cinema, and we need to do that now.
Someone asked me why I'm politically correct, even when people hit out so openly at me. But the truth is, I've never been brought up to behave any other way. I can't say anything hurtful about anyone. I just don't believe in saying mean things. I won't feel good doing that. It's strange why being well behaved is perceived as being too "propah" and staid. This is the way I am. I'm amazed how many people feel good hitting out at me. They're welcome to do it. Earlier, they had more leeway to deny their indiscretions in print. But now on television they look pretty ridiculous denying what they say.
[About the sari she wore on The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986)] I thought I'd wear one on the show, and packed two of them, in case Oprah wanted to wear one, too. As luck would have it, my flight was delayed and I reached minutes before the show went on air! So I had no time to change, which is a pity. Americans love the garment but have no clue how it's tied. Oprah is very respectful and appreciative of all cultures. She was very curious about the sari and I helped her put it on, on air! She has sent me an autographed picture saying, "Next time we change the blouse". She was very sweet.
[About being on The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986)] Yes, I was extremely happy to be on her show. I absolutely admire her. I never thought I'd actually be meeting her--and that, too, on her show! It's so strange. But prior to our meeting, during my visit to the US for the premiere of Bride & Prejudice (2004), I had some afternoons off and I watched Oprah. I thought how wonderful it would be to be on her show. And within a month, I was!"
[in September 2004] I am not comfortable about kissing or nudity. I am clear about what I want. I'll work only with good directors who'll offer me two-dimensional roles. The director and the role are most important.
[IN 2005, about her long career in entertainment] This is my tenth year now, so things have changed within this span of time--so drastically that when I look at the work done when I just joined, it's like, "Oh my God!" So much has changed in these ten years. You get to see how you're part of the process of change within the Indian film industry. That's all positive, that's all a good sign.
[Her advice to aspiring professionals] My biggest concern is always the students who are working toward a certain career--when they limit themselves to just that one option. They need to know that the world is huge--it's an ocean, and there are so many options. It's not the end of the world if they don't get to pursue an apparent childhood dream. That's really important, because you find a lot of kids who believe that they want to become a doctor or an aeronautical engineer or something, and if they don't manage to make their degree, that's the end. They feel so defeated, which is very disheartening. It's sad to know that people let themselves be limited by these aspirations.
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
Life is a stage, and we are all characters. So play your part and play it well!
[on why she participated in the Miss World Pageant in 1994] For me, it went beyond being a beauty queen. For me, it was about being the 20-year-old girl from India on [an] international platform and a lot of people actually would assume that I wasn't even educated in India because of the way I'd speak. And they'd be like, "Have you studied in India? Do you actually speak English out there?" and, I was like, "This is so interesting that so many people know so little about my country", and this is exactly what I wanted to do when I set out on this little mission in my head.
[In 2006] Good films are good films regardless of being made in India or abroad. I believe a great story transcends cultural lines and language barriers.
[In 2006] I choose films with characters that I feel are relative to a woman's growth for me. In The Last Legion (2007), I play a warrior. This was a first for me and it was a fantastic experience. I would like very much to do more action films. As for the right direction, I make my choices and always move forward one step at a time.
[on her character in The Mistress of Spices (2005)] I have related to each character I have performed thus far, including Tilo. I am very sensitive to moods and one's inward feelings and emotions. I am a true people person and people watcher. I look forward to meeting interesting people and understanding their experiences in life.
[on her character in Dhoom 2 (2006)] It's the kind of character I have never essayed before. Sunehiri, my character in the film, is distinctly different from any other character you have seen me play. That's what makes her exciting to me. For the first time in my life I went through a bit of a fitness regime. Contrary to popular belief, right since modeling, to the [Miss World] title, to films, I have never been a fitness freak or exercised.
[About director J.P. Dutta] . . . a committed taskmaster. I have danced to songs before. But he always added to choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant's steps, and that was quite challenging. He would shoot an entire mukhda in one shot. To do all the songs at that level required remaining focused at all times. In that moment, I felt I became Umrao Jaan. It was interesting to deliver a performance that shows her passionate but tragic story. The film is also reflective of the art that was at its zenith in that era. The sex trade was called the performing arts then and not prostitution.
[on Umrao Jaan (2006) being her first Urdu-language film] Since our generation speaks English, we are not very fluent in Hindi, leave alone Urdu. I loved those dialogs and the experience to work and know about that era. For me, it was a study of Urdu on the sets under the guidance of JP and Javed Saab.
[About Rekha] Rekha is very inspiring. It is not necessarily relative to just one performance, but her entire career, the span of characters that she has essayed, the performances that she has delivered itself is extremely inspiring. I am inspired by her performance. But I cannot ape her.
[on her role in Umrao Jaan (2006)] Playing Umrao Jaan was a demanding emotional journey. When a story takes that course, it is following an entire arc; it goes through all the possible emotions. The process was satisfying, inspiring and challenging. It forced me to deliver the best in every moment.
[on being compared to Rekha in Umrao Jaan (1981)] For me, as an actor, it's a special experience to get the opportunity to play Umrao Jaan who has been already iconised on our celluloid. When I played Paro in Devdas (2002), I went through the same area of questioning about how my role will be compared with the ones played earlier.
[In 2006] My reason for choosing a film is not to impress people. I don't choose films for the box office.
[in 2006] The audiences feel I am part of their life so they worry about me. I think that is very sweet of them and I tell them that when I will marry I will announce it. When I get married, you'll know. I believe in marriage and it is a beautiful institution.
[In 2006] It is a very tricky situation when you get the chance to work in English films. I do films based on characters, not to get an entry into Hollywood or whatever. In English, my _Bride & Prejudice (2005)_ (qv ) did well world over. I don't know how it did in Hindi, but I know _Jurassic Park (1998)_ didn't do well in Hindi. I was glad audiences worldwide liked an English film that was Indian. When I did The Mistress of Spices (2005), I did it for Paul [Paul Mayeda Berges, the director and husband of Gurinder Chadha] as a team. The film found its audiences. When the [Provoked (2006)] script came to me, I felt it was a very important story of an Indian woman based in London who killed her husband because of marital abuse. Kiran Ahluwalia made a big impression in England, and so I did this film because I felt it was an important story to be told. "Provoked" is an important film for many other Kirans in the world.
As far as The Last Legion (2007) is concerned, it is a film based on a book [a novel by Valerio Manfredi]. I don't think the character of Meera [her role] is there in the book. I did the film for the new experience and it is for the first time that I was with a complete foreign crew. Working with Ben Kingsley was a great experience. Meera is an Indian in the film and she has great roots and you will identify with her strength. I feel for Indian audiences, and want them to feel pride in what I am doing: I am not doing films just to be there as guest appearances.
[on celebrating her 33rd birthday] I am just not the birthday bash kind. My day will start with a visit to the Siddhivinayak temple with my family, something I do every year. There will be no loud parties . . . my birthday is a very private affair. Concidering I have to leave for Dubai tomorrow, it will be over early, too. Only family and friends will be there.
[on the rumors that her black eye was the result of abuse by Salman Khan] For some perverse reason, no one wants to believe me, that I fell down the stairs. First the media calls me the woman of the millennium, a woman of substance. Then how can the same media make me out to be such a doormat? I'm a self-respecting woman, I don't take nonsense from anyone. No one tries caveman tactics on me. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger can fall and get hurt, so why should I be any different?
I have never deliberately driven attention to the fact that I am working in Hollywood films. I have categorically stated that I am working in different kinds of films, be it British, Hindi, Tamil or Bengali. It's all about doing films, which are my passion.
[on meeting producer Harvey Weinstein for the first time at the 2005 Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People] He is a big fan of Indian films. He has seen Devdas (2002) and said he respected my work. It's a big compliment coming from somebody who has such an immense body of work and yet is so humble from him? He discussed a few ideas and scripts with me. He is starting his own company. We are discussing projects. Time will tell all.
[on attending the dinner for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2005] I am surprised at my life's turn of events. Six of us were asked to raise the toast for the evening. And I raised it for my parents and for my fans, without whom I wouldn't have reached where I am today. Nicole Kidman had to rush out for some premiere, but she said that she and her son loved Bride & Prejudice (2004) and I told her how I loved all her performances. Sean Penn told me that I spoke well and I told him that I've always been his fan!
[Upon hearing that Julia Roberts had said that Aishwarya was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen] That was embarrassing; at first I didn't believe she said that. I thought it was a rumor started by a journalist. But it's sweet. She's an incredible actor and she seems like a wonderful person, so all you can do is say, "Thank you"
[In 2007] I am not comfortable about kissing or nudity. I've never said I'd never kiss, or whatever on screen. I've always maintained I'd cross that bridge when I come to it. Again, I'm accused of playing it safe. The truth is, I don't know what tomorrow holds. So I can't make a close ended principle about it.
[Her thoughts on modern women versus the queens of the era of Jodhaa Akbar (2008)] I consider myself lucky to be born in today's era where a woman has far more freedom to exercise her rights. It took them ages to get ready for one appearance, and imagine staying behind curtains all day long.
[on being voted the most bankable Bollywood star in Hollywood] Wow! Me the most bankable Bollywood star in Hollywood? Thank you! I must confess that any acknowledgment of hard work makes me feel content. In all humility I want to thank all those who feel I'm bankable.
God has given me plenty of reasons to smile and I feel it's time to spread it around. There are a lot of children out there who so desperately need help, but can't receive timely care because their families cannot afford this surgery or are ill-educated about this condition.
[In 1999] I'm like the Terminator. I won't stop till I win. Just everything must be perfect.

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