Aishwarya Rai in 2010
|Born||Aishwarya Rai |
1 November 1973 (1973-11-01)
Mangalore, Karnataka, India
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Other names||Aishwarya Rai Bachchan|
|Years active||1997 – present|
|Spouse||Abhishek Bachchan (2007–present)|
Often cited by the media as the most beautiful woman in the world, Rai made her movie debut in Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Iruvar (1997) and had her first commercial success in the Tamil movie Jeans (1998). She came to the attention of Bollywood in the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Her performance in the film won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. In 2002 she appeared in Bhansali's next project, Devdas (2002), for which she won her second Filmfare Best Actress Award.
After a low phase in her career during 2003–2005, she appeared in the blockbuster Dhoom 2 (2006), which turned out to be her biggest Bollywood commercial success. She later appeared in films like Guru (2007), Jodhaa Akbar (2008), and Enthiran (2010) which were commercially and critically successful. Rai has thus established herself as one of the leading contemporary actresses in the Indian film industry. In 2009, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
Early lifeRai was born in Mangalore to Krishnaraj Rai and Vrinda Rai. She has one elder brother, Aditya Rai, who is an engineer in the merchant navy and has also co-produced one of Rai's movies, Dil Ka Rishta (2003). At an early age her parents moved to Mumbai where she attended the Arya Vidya Mandir high school in Santa Cruz. Rai then entered Jai Hind College at Churchgate for one year, and then moved to Ruparel College in Matunga to finish her HSC studies. She planned to become an architect, and started studying architecture, but gave up her education to pursue a career in modelling.
She can communicate in several languages, including her mother tongue Tulu, as well as Hindi, English, Marathi and Tamil.
Miss WorldWhile pursuing her studies in architecture, Rai began modelling on the side. In the 1994 Miss India contest, she won the second place behind Sushmita Sen, and was crowned Miss India World. She went on to win the Miss World title the same year, where she also won the Miss Photogenic award. She abandoned her academic education after winning the pageant and spent one year reigning as Miss World in London. Rai then started working as a professional model and then moved on to her current profession as an actress.
Early career (1997–98)Rai made her acting debut in Mani Ratnam's Tamil biopic film, Iruvar (1997) with Mohanlal, The controversial film was a critical success and won many awards including Best Film award at the Belgrade International Film Festival, two National Film Awards, and two Filmfare Awards South. Rai appeared in dual roles, opposite veteran actor Mohanlal, with one of her roles being a cinematic depiction of political leader and ex-actress J. Jayalalithaa. Rai made her Bollywood debut in the film, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya opposite Bobby Deol, which also released that year; the film did not do well at the box office, and was also panned by critics. However, her third project, S. Shankar's Tamil film, Jeans (1998) was a commercial success. The film was also noted for the song "Poovukkul", written by Vairamuthu, in the lyrics of which, she is compared to the seven wonders of the world and described as the eighth.
Success (1999–2002)In 1999 Rai starred in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam opposite Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan. The film was centered on Rai's character, Nandini, who is forced to marry Devgan's character despite being in love with another man (Khan). As her husband tries to get her to her previous love, she eventually falls for him. Rai's portrayal won her critical acclaim, with a review on Rediff.com writing, "Aishwarya looks beautiful as usual ... This film will most likely draw her accolades from all over, maybe even get her recognised as an actress the way Manisha Koirala did in Khamoshi. In many scenes, there is no trace of makeup and she looks very fresh". The film became her first box office success in Bollywood and earned her first Filmfare Best Actress Award for her.
In the same year she appeared in Subhash Ghai's Taal, in which she played the role of a young village woman, Mansi, who becomes a big pop star after being hurt by her lover played by Akshay Khanna. The film was an average performer in India but was a big success among the international audience, especially in the United States, where it became the first Indian film to reach the top 20 on Variety's box office list. Her performance in the film was praised with Rediff.com writing, "After being praised for her looks and acting talent in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Aishwarya has excelled in Taal. She looks ethereal and unlike the former film, has a very sober and soft role. Though she looks pained and tragic in most of the film, she does a good job of a woman who is very protective of her father and one who doesn't think twice before rejecting a lover who has insulted her father." She received another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare for her performance in the film.
In 2000, she appeared in Mansoor Khan's Josh alongside Shahrukh Khan and Chandrachur Singh, in which she played a Catholic named Shirley who falls in love with the sibling of her brother's enemy. The film was a commercial success. Later that year she appeared in Satish Kaushik's Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai opposite Anil Kapoor. It was a moderate success and her performance earned her a Filmfare Best Actress Award nomination. Later that year she played a supporting role in Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan. The film was a major commercial success and became the second-highest grosser of the year, and it earned her a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination. Later that year, she starred in the Tamil film Kandukondain Kandukondain, alongside Mammooty, Ajith Kumar and Tabu.
Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, an adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's famous novel by the same name. She played the role of Paro (Parvati), the love interest of the protagonist, played by Khan. The film received a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival. It became the highest-grossing film of the year in both India and overseas, earning a revenue of Rs 390 million domestically. Devdas won numerous awards, including 10 Filmfare Awards, and Rai received her second Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance.
Setback (2003–05)In 2003, she acted in Rituparno Ghosh's Bengali film Chokher Bali, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's novel by the same name. She portrayed the character of a young woman called Binodini, who is left to her own devices when her sickly husband dies soon after they are married. That year she appeared in her home production Dil Ka Rishta with Arjun Rampal and Rohan Sippy's Kuch Na Kaho alongside Abhishek Bachchan, neither of which fared well at the box office.
In 2004 she appeared in Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood-style English adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Bride and Prejudice alongside Martin Henderson. She played the role of Lalita Bakshi, the film's counterpart of Elizabeth Bennet in Austen's novel. This was followed by Rajkumar Santoshi's Khakee with Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan and Jayapradha; in the film she played a negative role for the first time in her career. In the same year she appeared in her second film with Rituparno Ghosh, Raincoat alongside Ajay Devgan. The film was highly acclaimed by the critics, with Rai receiving rave reviews for her performance.
In 2005 she appeared in Shabd, a film based on a love triangle, alongside Sanjay Dutt and Zayed Khan. The film was a box office flop; it received average reviews from the critics. Her next release that year was Paul Mayeda Berges's The Mistress of Spices based on the novel The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, in which she starred alongside Dylan McDermott. The film received negative reviews from critics and was also a commercial failure. The same year she made a special appearance in Shaad Ali's Bunty Aur Babli in a hugely popular seven-minute dance sequence for the song "Kajra Re", with Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan.
Recent work (2006–present)J P Dutta's Umrao Jaan, a second film adaptation of the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), written by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. She portrayed courtesan and poetess by the same name from 19th century Lucknow. The film was a critical and commercial failure, though Rai's work was generally well received. Critic Taran Adarsh wrote, "Aishwarya Rai looks ethereal. She has looked heavenly and performed so convincingly. She emotes through her expressive eyes and the consistency in her performance is evident from start to end". Later that year she appeared as a master thief, Sunheri, in Yash Raj Films's Dhoom 2 directed by Sanjay Gadhvi, with an ensemble cast of Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Uday Chopra. The film turned out to be a blockbuster and became the highest grossing film of the year in India, earning revenues of over Rs 770 million domestically. The film also sparked a controversy for a scene containing a kiss between her and Hrithik Roshan. However, Rai's performance in the film received mostly negative reviews with a reviewer on Rediff.com writing, "Ash's character too is all gloss and no depth. You seldom feel any tension in her behaviour and expressions as she accompanies the master thief on potentially dangerous missions. Sunehri enters the film nearly 50 minutes after its opening in a disguise. In no time, she is wearing the flimsiest of clothes. Once she opens her mouth—and she does it two minutes after appearing in the film—she spoils the image. There is no sensuality anymore, and half an hour later, one wonders what made the master thief fall for her." Nonetheless, her performance earned her a sixth nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award.
In 2007 she appeared in Mani Ratnam's Guru as Sujata. Speculated to be based on the life of Indian businessman Dhirubhai Ambani, it was a rag to riches story about an ambitious small town man who ends up as the owner of the biggest corporation in India. The film was premièred at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, Canada, making it the first Indian film to have a mainstream international premiere in Canada. The film was critically acclaimed and performed well at the box office. Critical reception for Rai was mixed. While Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India wrote that she is "just okay and fails to register the growth in her character", Rediff.com's Raja Sen described it as "arguably her finest performance, visible especially when she takes over the film's climax." Rai got her seventh Filmfare nomination for Best Actress for the role. In the same year she starred in Jag Mundhra's British film Provoked as Kiranjit Ahluwalia (an NRI woman who killed her abusive husband after facing severe domestic violence) alongside Naveen Andrews. The film was panned by critics and was also a commercial failure, though Rai received positive reviews from critics. In the same year she appeared as a female Indian warrior from Kerala named Mira in Doug Lefler's epic film The Last Legion alongside Sir Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth and Thomas Sangster. The film was a critical failure.
Hrithik Roshan in Ashutosh Gowariker's historical drama Jodhaa Akbar, a partly fictionalised account of the life of Muslim Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, played by Roshan and his Hindu wife Jodha Bai, played by Rai. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning revenues of over Rs 590 million domestically. Rai's performance in the film was praised by critics, with Rajeev Masand writing, "Aishwarya Rai is wonderfully restrained and uses her eyes expertly to communicate so much, making this one of her finest outings on screen". She earned her eighth nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare for her performance. Later that year she co-starred with husband Abhishek Bachchan and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan in Ram Gopal Verma's Sarkar Raj, a sequel to his previous film Sarkar. She played the CEO of a major power company proposing to establish a new power plant in rural Maharashtra.
In 2009 she appeared in Harald Zwart's spy comedy film The Pink Panther 2 playing the role of criminology expert, Sonia Solandres. Like its predecessor, the sequel received negative reviews from critics and did a moderate business of $75,871,032 worldwide. In 2010, she collaborated with Mani Ratnam for a bilingual, with both versions featuring Rai portraying a character based on the goddess Sita. Both films were shot simultaneously, with Rai's role being one of the only roles which were played by the same performer in both versions. Upon release, Raavanan received mixed reviews from film critics. Though her portrayal of Ragini in both languages were praised, the Hindi Raavan alongside Abhishek Bachchan failed commercially, whilst the Tamil Raavanan, became a massive success. Despite the mixed reviews in India, various US media including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Hollywood reporters praised the Hindi movie.
On October 1, 2010, she appeared with Rajinikanth in the Tamil film Enthiran, directed by S. Shankar. which has become the biggest blockbuster in India ever. She appeared in Vipul Shah's Action Replay opposite Akshay Kumar which received mixed reviews from critics. On November 19, 2010, she appeared with Hrithik Roshan in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish which opened to positive reviews from critics. She will appear in Abhinay Deo's next film produced by Farhan Akhtar and Vishal Bharadwaj's next directorial venture.
In 2009 Rai was awarded the Padma Shri for her contributions to Indian cinema. In the same year she refused to accept the second-highest Order Of France, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres as her father was suffering from serious illness, and she wanted her whole family to attend the award function. She is only the fourth Indian actor after Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das and Shahrukh Khan to be chosen for an Order Of France. In June 2009, she was declared the Female Star of The Decade at the tenth International Indian Film Academy Awards held in Macau.
Other workIn 1999 Rai participated in a world tour called the Magnificent Five along with Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Akshaye Khanna and Twinkle Khanna. In 2003 she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.
Rai is the brand ambassador for The Eye Bank Association of India's nationwide campaign to promote eye donation in India.
In 2004 she travelled to Siachen Glacier, which at a height of 13,000 ft is the highest battlefield in the world, to boost the morale of the jawans for a special New Year episode on the NDTV show, Jai Jawan. In 2005, she became a brand ambassador for Pulse Polio, a campaign established by the Government of India in 1994 to eradicate polio in India.
In February 2005, Rai performed at the HELP! Telethon Concert to help raise money for the victims of 2004 tsunami earthquake in company with other Bollywood stars. In 2008 she along with her family laid the foundation of a special school for underprivilged girls in the Daulatpur village in Uttar Pradesh. The school will be made by her family and is going to be named after her.
She appeared along with various other Bollywood actors at the Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as part of a performance showcasing Indian culture, on behalf of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
In summer 2008, Rai joined her husband and father-in-law along with Preity Zinta and Ritesh Deshmukh on the Unforgettable World Tour. The first leg of the tour covered the US, Canada, London, and Trinidad. The second leg of the tour most likely happened by the end of the year 2008. Amitabh's company AB Corp Ltd. along with Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd are behind the concert.
Personal lifeHindu and deeply religious. Her favourite temple is a 200-year-old Lord Ganesha Temple.
In 1999 Aishwarya began dating Bollywood actor Salman Khan; their relationship was often reported in the media until the couple separated in 2001. Rai cited "abuse (verbal, physical and emotional), infidelity and indignity" on the part of Khan as a reason for ending their relationship. However, in a 2009 Times of India article titled "Salman didn't hit Ash!" Khan denied ever beating her: "It's not true that I hit a woman."
Rai is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan. After much speculation concerning their relationship, their engagement was announced on 14 January 2007. The announcement was later confirmed by his father, Amitabh Bachchan. The couple got married on 20 April 2007 according to traditional Hindu rites of the Bunt community to which she belongs. Token North Indian and Bengali ceremonies were also performed. The wedding took place in a private ceremony at the Bachchan residence "Prateeksha" in Juhu, Mumbai. Though the wedding was a private affair intended for the Bachchan and Rai families and friends, the involvement of the media turned it into a national extravaganza. They have been cited as a supercouple in the Indian media. Rai has been very close to her family and lived with them in Bandra, Mumbai, until her marriage.
International mediaRai has been the most popular face of Indian cinema globally. In 2004 she was chosen by Time magazine as one of the World's "100 Most Influential People", and appeared on the cover of Time magazine, Asia Edition in 2003. In October 2004 a wax figure of Rai was put on display in London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum. She was the sixth Indian and the second Bollywood personality after her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan to get this honour.
She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January 2005, which said that "at least according to thousands of Web sites, Internet polls and even Julia Roberts", she was "The World's Most Beautiful Woman". In that same year she became a global brand ambassador of L'Oreal alongside Andie Macdowell, Eva Longoria and Penelope Cruz. The same year, a special tulip in the Netherlands was named "Aishwarya Rai" after her. Rai became the first Indian to appear on such shows as Late Show with David Letterman, and was the first Bollywood personality to appear on Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment. In 2005, Harpers and Queen's list of 10 Most beautiful women in the world ranked her at the ninth spot. In 2009 she made an appearance on Martha Stewart's show Martha. The same year she also appeared on The Tyra Banks Show hosted by Tyra Banks.
In 2010 she appeared for the second time in list Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World".
Awards and nominations
|1997||Iruvar||Tamil||Pushpa / Kalpana|
|Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya||Hindi||Ashi Kapoor|
|1999||Aa Ab Laut Chalen||Hindi||Pooja|
|Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam||Hindi||Nandini||Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Ravoyi Chandamama||Telugu||Special appearance|
|Taal||Hindi||Mansi||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Kandukondain Kandukondain||Tamil||Meenakshi Bala|
|Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai||Hindi||Preeti Virat||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke||Hindi||Sahiba Grewal|
|Mohabbatein||Hindi||Megha||Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award|
|2002||Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam||Hindi||Suman||Guest appearance|
|Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin||Hindi||Komal Rastogi|
|23rd March 1931: Shaheed||Hindi||Special appearance|
|Devdas||Hindi||Parvati (Paro)||Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Shakti: The Power||Hindi||Herself||Special appearance in song "Ishq Kamina"|
|Dil Ka Rishta||Hindi||Tia Sharma|
|Kuch Naa Kaho||Hindi||Namrata Shrivastav|
|2004||Bride & Prejudice||English||Lalita Bakshi|
|Kyun...! Ho Gaya Na||Hindi||Diya Malhotra|
|Raincoat||Hindi||Neerja||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Bunty Aur Babli||Hindi||Special appearance in the song "Kajra Re"|
|Mistress of Spices||English||Tilo|
|2006||Umrao Jaan||Hindi||Umrao Jaan|
|Dhoom 2||Hindi||Sunehri||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|2007||Guru||Hindi||Sujata||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Journey Across India||English||Mumtaz Mahal|
|The Last Legion||English||Mira|
|2008||Jodhaa Akbar||Hindi||Jodhaa Bai||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|Sarkar Raj||Hindi||Anita Rajan|
|2009||The Pink Panther 2||English||Sonia Solandres|
|Guzaarish||Hindi||Sofia D'Souza||Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award|