B.H.Harsh wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Aishwarya Rai was born on Nov 1st, 1973 in Mangalore to Krishna Raj Rai and Vrinda Rai. She is the smaller of the two children to her parents, Aditya Rai being the elder of them. Aishwarya did her schooling from Arya Vidya Mandir High School, Santa Cruz. She went to Jai Hind College, but moved to Ruparel College to finish her higher secondary. While persuing her degree in Architecture, Aishwarya began modelling. It was in 1994 when she partipated in Miss India contest and came second to Sushmita Sen. She was selected for Miss World as India’s representative, where she won the title of Miss World. She also won Miss Photogenic title over there. She reigned the world for a year as Miss World, before she came back to India and started working as a Professional Model.
Aishwarya Rai’s first film was Iruvar (1996), a Tamil film directed by Mani Ratnam. Her first Hindi film was Rahul Rawail’s Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997), where she was paired with Bobby Deol. However, both these films were no great shakes at the Box-office. Her third film Jeans was a moderate commercial success, and also won her the Filmfare Award for Best actress in Tamil. But its dubbed version in Hindi didn’t go well with the Hindi film audience. Although, Jeans was also the official entry from India at the Academy awards, Aishwarya was yet to make a strong impact on Hindi cinema.
She had a landmark year in 1999 when both of her films released that year Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Taal were huge commercial and critical success. She was suddenly the hottest property in town, and every film maker wanted to sign her for their films. In 2000 however, Aishwarya couldn’t retain her success. Mansoor Khan’s much delayed film Josh was a flop, so was Satish Kaushik’s Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai. However, Aishwarya Rai got noticed in Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein, where she played Shah Rukh’s ghost lover with grace. She also did a Tamil film Kandukondein Kandukondein (2000), where she was acclaimed by critics for her mature performance.
She reached the peak of her career when her role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas (2002) was well received by one and all. Devdas also represented India at the Cannes Film festival and Aishwarya Rai became a world famous film personality. She also started getting International offers, and signed Bride and Prejudice, with Gurinder Chadha, whose earlier film Bend it like Bechkam (2002) was a huge hit. However, after Devdas, Aishwarya Rai had to wait for 4 years for a solo hit. Although her item number in Shakti (2002) was huge hit, she failed to draw the audience with her films. Dil Ka Rishta (2003), Kuch Na Kaho (2003), Kyon ! Ho Gaya Na (2004), Shabd (2005) proved to be disasters at Box-Office. Although she did critically appreciated performances in Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali (2003) and Raincoat (2004), commercial success was still eluding her. Her performance in Khakee was praised and the film got moderate success.
Her first cross-over venture Bride and Prejudice (2004) failed to set the Box-office on fire. But she was a huge celebrity by then to let all these affect her career. Another major turning point in Aishwarya’s career was her guest appearance in Yash Raj films’ Bunty aur Babli (2005). Her dance to the foot-tapping ‘Kajra re...’ and chemistry with the father-son duo made that song an anthem and “Kajra re…” was the most popular music video of 2005.
Meanwhile, Aishwarya’s performance in Jag Mundhra’s Provoked (2006), a film based on a real incident, won her rave reviews all over the world. She played the title role in J.P.Dutta’s interpretation of the classic Umrao Jaan Ada (2006), but it too failed to enthral the audience. Dhoom 2 (2006) however, broke her jinx. Her svelte look was appreciated and she finally scored on box-office. Guru (2007) also became a hit and Aishwarya was back to the top. A few months later, she got married to Abhishek Bachchan, which was probably the most celebrated wedding of this decade.
Aishwarya also got some offers from Hollywood, which she didn’t let go. This proved Aishwarya’s popularity on a global level. In 2008, Aishwarya hit bull’s eye with Jodhaa Akbar, with Hrithik Roshan opposite her and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. Her other release of 2008 will be Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj. In West, she is acting in Pink Panther 2. She won FILMFARE awards for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas in 1999 and 2002 respectively. She also won Zee Cine Critics’ award for Best actress for Raincoat (2004). She also got FILMFARE Best actress award in South for her performance in Jeans (1998). In 2002, Aishwarya was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi award, for excellence in field of entertainment. In 2004, Aishwarya was chosen by TIME as one of the “100 most influential people”. She was also the first Indian celebrity to make an appearance in the world-wide famous OPRAH WINFREY show. In October 2004, a wax figure of Aishwarya Rai came on Display in London’s Maddam Tasauds’s wax museum. She is the most photographed woman in India ever. Aishwarya Rai has endorsed products in the past like Pepsi, Amity perfumes, Longines, Lakme, Nakshatra, Lux, Loreal, Coke etc.