For Aishwarya Rai, it has been a fairy tale journey into the world of glamour after winning the Miss World title in 1994. And now the internationally acclaimed female actor is all set to enjoy motherhood.
Ash first became a rage when she teamed up with Aamir Khan and Mahima Chaudhary in a coke ad in 1993. As soon as it hit the screens, Ash became a star. The following year she participated in the Miss India contest and won the first runner-up title.
She treaded an extraordinary path in the world of glitz and glamour – the actress is the brand ambassador for international brands like L’Oreal and Longines, she has featured in People magazine’s list of most beautiful people in 2006 and is also mentioned in Time’s list for World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2004 and 2010.
Meanwhile, she shone on the international firmament with films like Bride and Prejudice and Pink Panther 2 and by becoming a regular at the Cannes red carpet.
“Aishwarya is a true style icon who maintained her charisma in modelling and in films and she is still going strong. She has got an amazing mix of desi and western looks, which makes her one of the most beautiful women of the world,” says Delhi-based fashion designer Kunal Kapoor. “She is one lady who did everything just perfect. With timeless beauty and elegance, hope she continues her life the way she is doing. Congrats for being a mom Aishwarya.”
Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who perhaps gave her the best role in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, describes her as a beautiful girl but also adds, “she has a beautiful mind too, a sharp mind and a thinking mind that questions and answers.
“Over the years, her exposure to world cinema as a jury member at Cannes, her visits to various other film festivals and her meetings with international actors and directors have really made her evolve.”
Her cinematic journey started with director Mani Ratnam’s 1997 Tamil hit movie Iruvar, and in the same year she was introduced to Bollywood in Rahul Rawail’s directorial venture, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya. In her more than a decade-long career she came out with hits like Devdas, Dhoom 2, Guru and Jodhaa Akbar.
In 2007, when she was the reigning star, Ash announced her engagement to co-star Abhishek Bachchan. On April 20 of the same year, they tied the knot amidst a lot of media frenzy.
Raveena Tandon, a friend and co-actor, says having a happy family was her long cherished dream. “I remember us travelling together on flights, going for concerts, chatting long hours away, then too she dreamed of a happy settled family life,” says Tandon.
American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has praised Aishwarya and Abhishek, by saying, “The movie star couple is more famous than anybody else in the world – even more than Brad and Angelina.”
In 2009, Winfrey had invited both Abhishek and Aishwarya on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and said, “India’s Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan have five billion fans around the globe! They are the superstars of Bollywood.”
In between her career, she has won many honours and titles – Britain’s Hello! magazine voted her as the most attractive woman of 2003. In the same year, she appeared on Rolling Stone magazine’s annual “Hot List”. In 2008, US TV channel E! Entertainment listed Aishwarya’s eyes as the sexiest on their Sexiest Body Parts list.
On the home front, Ash was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award, in 2009. Currently Aishwarya is shooting for Madhur Bhandarkar’s film, Heroine.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2011.