'Time' magazine describes Aishwarya Rai as the 'Queen of Bollywood' and refers her as a modern girl with traditional values. She is elegant, gorgeous and mesmerizes everyone with her grace and charm, yet she is very humble and down to earth. She is no doubt the most sought after actress in Bollywood. A tête-à-tête with this wonderful lady.
Excerpts from an interview with SeasonsIndia correspondent Sanyukta.
Was your role in Choker Bali very difficult to portray?
It was a very complex character no doubt. I could succeed in playing the complex role like that of Binodini because I prepared for the character from Rituparno Ghosh's very first narration. I had to prepare very hard to get into the skin of the character.
How was it working with Rituparno Ghosh?
It was a wonderful experience working with Ghosh. The whole film has been a wonderful experience for me. You can call it a journey in celluloid as far as I am concerned. Choker Bali has contributed to my growth as a woman.
You are also doing Rituparno Ghosh's first Hindi venture, Raincoat. What is the film about?
The film is an emotional love story. It tells the story of estranged lovers meeting on a rainy afternoon and the game of words they play with each other.
You will be working with Ajay Devgan again after Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Yes, he is a wonderful co-star. Very intense and puts his best in whatever he does. It was great working with him in HDDCS and I am looking forward to working with him again in Raincoat. We will also be doing Raj Kumar Santoshi?s Prithviraj Sanyukta.
How was it working with Gurindar Chadha in 'Bride and Prejudice'?
It was a fun experience. Gurinder is a very talented and in adapting Jane Austen's novel for film, she has infused her flair for comedy. It's a very well-written script.
What was it like to work with Amitabh Bachchan in 'Khakee'?
He is a great person and a great actor. He made us all feel comfortable and kept joking while we were shooting. He would enliven even the intense moments in "Khakee" by cracking some good jokes.
There was lot of controversies when you parted ways with "The Rising" producers. What is the true story?
Well, it was all because I was not comfortable with my role and every actor/actress should be satisfied with the work he/she does, isn't it? I had problems with my character Jwala, who did not have a significant role and that's why I wanted them to make changes in the script. I received the script two weeks before the film was to be shot (without the changes). Then I thought it was better to part ways instead of asking for a change in the script, for an apology and more money.
At present which project are you working on?
At present I am working in Samir Karnik directed film "Kyon Ho Gaya Na!" opposite Vivek Oberoi. The movie is a light romantic comedy. Vivek plays a lovable, happy-go-lucky guy next door, 21st-century in everything, except on the issue of an arranged marriage. Like his forefathers, he wants one. My character likes Vivek but doesn't agree with his old-fashioned views. The music of the film is great.
Are you working in the Bond film?
At present I can't say anything. What has happened is, I did meet the people who wanted to cast me in the Bond film, so I put them to my agents. They told me that if they used an Asian character they would come to me. They were scripting the role at the time. Since then, I have not been contacted. Two weeks ago there was a story that I met Pierce Brosnan and I would do the film if a body double is used etc. That is all rubbish.
Your relationship with Vivek is the talk of the town. What do you have to say about it?
Vivek is a very good friend. We share a very special relationship. He has always been supportive and helpful and has stood by me in every crisis I have faced of late. It?s an honest relationship. We respect each other and enjoy our association. I usually don't talk about my personal life. But, at the same time, I have never attempted to conceal my relationship with Vivek. He is sensitive, respectful, and honest. Yes, we do go to parties together. We are supportive of each other and respect each other.
But how would you define your relationship?
(Smiles) If and when there needs to be a definition, we will give it.