Aishwarya Rai was born 1 November 1973 is now known as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan she is an Indian film actress and supermodel. She was the first runner-up of the Miss India pageant, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 1994. She is a leading contemporary actress of Indian cinema and has received two Filmfare Awards, two Screen Awards, and two IIFA Awards for her performances in Hindi language films of Bollywood. Rai is regarded as one of the most popular and influential celebrities in India, and is often cited in the media as the “most beautiful woman in the world”
Rai made her acting debut in 1997 in Bollywood in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, a romantic comedy opposite Bobby Deol. The film was a commercial failure, and reviewers were critical of the film and Rai’s acting ability. Rai next appeared in the 1998 big-budget Tamil romantic drama Jeans, Rai played Madhumita, a young woman who travels to the United States to seek medical attention for her ill grandmother. A commercial success, the film earned Rai praise for her dancing skills. Jeans was later submitted as India’s official entry to the Academy Awards for 1998.
Rai next starred alongside Shahrukh Khan and Chandrachur Singh in the action drama Josh. She portrayed Shirley Dias, the sister of Khan’s character who falls in love with his arch enemy’s brother (played by Singh). The casting of Rai as Khan’s sister was considered an unusual pairing at the time; director Mansoor Khan, however, described it as “perfect”. Despite earning mixed reviews from film critics, Josh emerged as a commercial success. Satish Kaushik’s social drama Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai was Rai’s next release; she played Preeti Virat, a rape victim, in the film. Co-starring Anil Kapoor and Sonali Bendre, the film was well received by critics and did moderate business at the box office. Film critic Sukanya Verma praised Rai’s decision to star in the film and added that she “conveys the turmoil and pain of a rape victim well. But it is her transition from an emotional wreck trying to gather the broken pieces of her life back together that is amazing.” Rai eventually earned a third Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.
Following a leading role in the box-office flop Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Rai took on a supporting role in Aditya Chopra’s ensemble romance Mohabbatein. Rai’s role was that of Megha Shankar, the daughter of Amitabh Bachchan’s character who commits suicide after a failed romance with one of her father’s students (played by Shahrukh Khan). Despite earning mixed reviews from film critics, Mohabbatein emerged as the second highest grossing film of the year and earned Rai a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination. The following year, she starred alongside Govinda and Jackie Shroff in the romantic comedy Albela.
After featuring in David Dhawan’s slapstick comedy film Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Rai appeared alongside Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s love-saga Devdas, an adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name. She played the role of Paro (Parvati), the love interest of the protagonist (played by Khan). The film was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was featured by Time in their listing of the “10 best films of the millennium”. The film emerged as a major international success with revenues of over INR530 million (US$8.1 million). Alan Morrison, writing for Empire, praised the performances of the three leads and wrote, “Aishwarya Rai proves she has the acting talent to back up her flawless looks”. Devdas was chosen as India’s official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and received a nomination at the BAFTA Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. In India, the film won 10 Filmfare Awards, including a second Best Actress award for Rai.
In 2003, Rai featured in two romantic dramas of Bollywood, her brother’s production début Dil Ka Rishta, alongside Arjun Rampal, and Rohan Sippy’s Kuch Na Kaho, alongside Abhishek Bachchan. Neither of these films fared well critically or commercially. She was later noted for her starring role in Rituparno Ghosh’s independent Bengali film Chokher Bali, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel of the same name. She portrayed the character of Binodini, an emotionally manipulative widow, struggling with her sexual desires in early-20th century Bengal. The film was a major critical success and Rai earned positive notice for her performance; Derek Elley of Variety noted, “Rai dominates the film with her delicately sensual presence and physical grace”. Commercially, the film emerged as a sleeper hit.
After the success of Chokher Bali, Rai returned to mainstream Hindi film with Rajkumar Santoshi’s Khakee (2004), a suspense thriller featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan and Tusshar Kapoor. The film tells the story of five constables embroiled in a mystery surrounding a terrorist attack; Rai’s role was that of Mahalakshmi, a gun moll. While filming for Khakee, Rai was accidentally hit by a running car, which resulted in the fracture of her left foot. Upon release, the film received moderate critical and commercial success. In her next release, the romantic comedy Kyun! Ho Gaya Na…, Rai played Diya Malhotra, a university student who develops a one-sided attraction toward her friend Arjun Khanna (played by Vivek Oberoi). The film received positive to mixed comments from critics, but failed commercially.
In late 2004, Rai garnered international recognition for her starring role opposite Martin Henderson in Gurinder Chadha’s British film Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood-style adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. International film critics were appreciative of Rai’s “beauty” but questioned her acting abilities; a review carried by The New York Times mentioned her as “radiantly beautiful but inert”. With a worldwide gross of $24 million against a production budget of $7 million, Bride and Prejudice proved a commercial success. Rai next collaborated with director Rituparno Ghosh, for the second time, in the relationship drama Raincoat, an adaptation of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi. Also featuring Ajay Devgan, Raincoat met with wide critical acclaim and among other wins, won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. She received another Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.
Rai next co-starred alongside Sanjay Dutt and Zayed Khan in the 2005 adult drama Shabd, which tells the story of an author who convinces his wife to pursue an illicit relationship with a younger man in research for his next book. The film received predominantly negative reviews and proved a commercial failure. That same year, Rai took on the lead role of Tilo in Paul Mayeda Berges’s romantic fantasy film The Mistress of Spices, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Her successful venture of 2005 was a special appearance in Shaad Ali’s comedy Bunty Aur Babli, in which she featured in the publicly popular item number Kajra Re.
Rai had two film releases in 2006, J P Dutta’s Umrao Jaan and Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom 2. The former film, an adaptation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), tells the story of a doomed courtesan from 19th-century Lucknow. Rai played the titular role, a character famously played by Rekha in the first film adaptation of the novel. Reviewers, while comparing the film to its previous adaptation, were critical of the film as well as of Rai’s performance.
In the Sanjay Gadhvi-directed adventure film Dhoom 2, Rai portrayed Sunehri, a small-time thief who helps the police catch an elusive criminal; the film had an ensemble cast including Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, and Uday Chopra. Though critically unsuccessful, the film was Rai’s first major commercial success since Devdas; the film was declared a blockbuster, and became the highest grossing Indian film of 2006 with gross revenues of over INR1.11 billion (US$17 million).
In 2007, Rai featured as the wife of Abhishek Bachchan’s character in Mani Ratnam’s social drama Guru. A fictionalised biography of businessman Dhirubhai Ambani, Guru tells the rag to riches story of an uneducated man who builds a multinational corporation. The film met with international critical acclaim and emerged as a box-office success. Richard Corliss of Time labelled her character as an “ornament”, but Raja Sen from Rediff described it as “her finest performance, visible especially when she takes over the film’s climax.” Rai received her seventh Best Actress nomination at Filmfare for her performance in the film. Rai next starred alongside Naveen Andrews and Miranda Richardson in Jag Mundhra’s independent British drama Provoked, as the real-life character of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, a non-resident Indian who murders her husband after suffering from years of domestic abuse. Rai earned mostly positive comments for her performance. critic Indu Mirani from DNA wrote, “Aishwarya Rai plays the battered wife in what is undoubtedly one of her best performances to date. Rai convincingly goes through the various stages of shock, bewilderment, remorse and finally vindication”. Internationally well-received, the film emerged as a moderate commercial success in the United Kingdom. That same year, Rai starred as Mira, an Indian warrior in Doug Lefler’s epic film The Last Legion. Starring alongside Sir Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth, and Thomas Sangster, the film proved a major critical and commercial failure.
After a series of films that under-performed either critically or commercially, Rai garnered both critical and box-office success with Ashutosh Gowariker’s period romance Jodhaa Akbar (2008). The film narrates a partly fictionalised account of a marriage of convenience between the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (played by Hrithik Roshan) and the Rajput princess Jodha Bai (played by Rai). Rajeev Masand noted, “Aishwarya Rai is wonderfully restrained and uses her eyes expertly to communicate so much, making this one of her finest outings on screen”. The film had gross earnings of INR1.12 billion (US$17 million) and fetched Rai a Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare Awards ceremony. She then co-starred with her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, and her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, in Ram Gopal Verma’s political drama Sarkar Raj, a sequel to the 2005 box-office hit Sarkar. Rai was cast as Anita Rajan, the CEO of an international power firm who proposes to set up a plant in rural Maharashtra. The film was a critical and commercial success, with praise directed to the performances of the three leads.
Rai’s next role was in the 2009 Harald Zwart-directed spy comedy The Pink Panther 2. Starring alongside Steve Martin, Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer, Rai portrayed the role of Sonia Solandres, a seductive criminology expert. Like its predecessor, the sequel received negative reviews from critics, but did a moderate business of $34 million at the American box office. Roger Ebert wrote, “Rai is breathtaking in Bollywood films, where they devote a great deal of expertise to admiring beauty, but here’s she’s underutilized and too much in the background”; USA Today mentioned her expressions as “wooden” and added, “She looks gorgeous, but her expression rarely changes”.
In 2010, Rai was cast by Mani Ratnam in his bilingual modern-day adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Her role was that of Ragini (modeled on Sita, the heroine of Ramayana), a woman married to the superintendent of police, who is kidnapped by a bandit. The Hindi version (Raavan) and the Tamil version (Raavanan) of the film were shot simultaneously and Rai played the same role in both the film versions .The films received polarising reviews from film critics, as did Rai’s performance. Kaveree Bamzai of India Today wrote, “Aishwarya’s Sita is one of the best things in the film. Her performance is heartfelt–this is a performer who is at ease playing women, rather than girls. However, film critics Aniruddha Guha and Rajeev Masand criticised her character and noted, “She’s left to scream and shriek and hiss.” Commercially, Raavanan emerged as a success while Raavan flopped. Rai’s next role was opposite Rajinikanth in the science fiction Tamil film Enthiran (2010), directed by S. Shankar. She was cast as Sana, a college student and the girlfriend of Rajnikanth’s character. At the time of release, Enthiran was the most expensive Indian film production and eventually emerged as one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. She then appeared as Mala, an impetuous brat, in Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy; a science fiction comedy co-starring Akshay Kumar, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Neha Dhupia. Upon release, the film met with largely negative reviews and proved an economic failure.
Rai’s final film of 2010 was the drama Guzaarish her third collaboration with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Hrithik Roshan. The film tells the story of Ethan Mascarenas, a former magician (played by Roshan) suffering from quadriplegia, who after years of struggle, files an appeal for euthanasia. Rai’s role was that of Sophia D’Souza, Mascarenas’ nurse, who is abused by her alcoholic husband. Despite flopping at the box-office, Guzaarish met with positive critical comments. The Telegragh described it to be Rai’s “best performance” and The Times of India summarised, “Aishwarya is a stunning picture of fire and grace, walking away with certain scenes by her sheer vitality.” In 2011, Rai was cast as the protagonist of Madhur Bhandarkar’s social drama Heroine; however, due to her pregnancy, Rai was replaced by actor Kareena Kapoor, the original choice for the role.
Rai has taken part in several stage shows and world tours since 2001. Her first world tour, a series of concerts called Craze 2001, was performed across the US alongside Anil Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Priety Zinta and Gracy Singh. The show faced early cancellation due to the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the team prepared to return to India as soon as possible. However, the shows continued successfully in Canada. In 2002, she participated in the show From India With Love in the UK, along with Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Priety Zinta. It took place at two outdoor venues, Manchester’s Old Trafford and London’s Hyde Park, with over 100,000 spectators.
In the summer of 2008, Rai, her husband Abhishek Bachchan, her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, and actors Preity Zinta, Ritesh Deshmukh, and Madhuri Dixit starred in the “Unforgettable World Tour” stage production. The first leg covered the USA, Canada, Trinidad, and London, England. Rai is also involved in the functional and administrative operations of her father-in-law’s company, originally known as ABCL, and rechristened as AB Corp. Ltd. That company, along with Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd developed the Unforgettable production. She has also performed at numerous Bollywood Award Ceremonies namely her performances at the 2005 IIFA Awards in Amsterdam and the 2009 IIFA Awards in Macau are regarded as two of her best live performances to date! In 1999 Rai participated in a world tour called the Magnificent Five, along with Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Akshaye Khanna, and Twinkle Khanna. In the same year, she was appointed as Longines Ambassador of Elegance. In 2003 she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2003 she became a global brand ambassador of L’Oréal, alongside Andie MacDowell, Eva Longoria, and Penélope Cruz. Rai is the brand ambassador for The Eye Bank Association of India’s nationwide campaign to promote eye donation in India. 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 the same year, Rai was appointed spokesperson for the International Year of Microcredit, raising awareness of the main goals and priorities of the United Nations’ poverty alleviation efforts.
In February 2005 Rai performed alongside other Bollywood stars at the HELP! Telethon Concert, an event to raise money for the victims of the 2004 tsunami earthquake. Along with other members of the Bachchan family, she laid the foundation of a special school for underprivileged girls in Daulatpur village in Uttar Pradesh in 2008. Construction is being funded by the Bachchan family, and the school will be named after Rai. She appeared along with various other Bollywood actors at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The performance showcased Indian culture as a lead-up to India hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Aishwarya is a UN Microcredit Spokesperson. She supports PETA India. She pledged to donate her eyes to the Eye Bank Association of India, and appeared in a public awareness film on eye donation. In November 2004, Aishwara Rai created the Aishwarya Rai Foundation to help needy people in India. In 2009 Rai was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador of Smile Train, an international charity that provides free Cleft lip and palate surgery to children in need. Her work with Smile Train will focus not only on India, but on 76 different developing countries around the world. In September 2012, Rai had joined United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and renowned Hollywood actor Michael Douglas at a ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace in New York. Later that week, she was appointed as the new international Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, the joint United Nations programme on AIDS and HIV. She will raise global awareness on protecting children from HIV infection and increasing access to antiretroviral treatment.
Rai made her first commercial for Camlin pencils when she was in the 9th grade. Rai became popular after appearing in a Pepsi commercial with actor Aamir Khan. She is the only female actor to have endorsed both Pepsi and Coca-Cola. She is one of the top brand ambassadors in the country and is one of the top paid Bollywood actresses in this respect. She modelled for Titan Watches, Longines watches, L’Oréal, Coca-Cola, Lakmé Cosmetics, Casio pager, Philips, Palmolive, Lux, Fuji films, Nakshatra Diamond Jewellery, and Kalyan Jewellers. She was named the official brand ambassador for De Beers diamonds in India. Rai has been ranked the 2nd most popular watch brand ambassador worldwide in a survey, conducted by World Watch Report. In 2013 Rai and her husband Abhishek Bachchan have been roped in as the brand ambassadors by the TTK Prestige|TTK Group.
In 1999, Rai 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 reasons for ending the relationship. Though they both appeared in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke and Kuch Naa Kaho, Bachchan fell in love with Aishwarya whilst filming for Dhoom 2. Their engagement was announced on 14 January 2007 and later confirmed by his father, Amitabh Bachchan. The couple 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. Rai is very close to her family and lived with them in Bandra, Mumbai, until her marriage. Rai is Hindu and deeply religious. Her international presence shot up when she accompanied Abhishek Bachchan to the Cannes Film festival shortly after their marriage, and later to The Oprah Winfrey Show, appearing on 28 September 2009. They have been described as supercouple in the Indian media. Rai gave birth to a baby girl on 16 November 2011. Her daughter became popularly known by the name of “Beti B,” a name attributed to her by fans and the media, since the couple took over four months to name their daughter. The baby girl was finally named Aaradhya Bachchan in March 2012.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has become one of the most admired and revered women in India, and in the world. Mass media has described her as dignified, statuesque, beautiful and charismatic person. Despite constant media speculation, she has always managed to keep her personal life well-guarded. Her beauty and performances have made her as a style icon for young women. Over 17,000 websites dedicated to her, she was selected by Verve Magazine in its list of the country’s most powerful women. In 2001 Forbes named Rai among the top five Indian movie stars. In a reader poll conducted by UK’s Hello! magazine, she was voted “the most attractive woman of 2003”. In the same year, Rai appeared in Rolling Stone magazine’s annual “Hot List”. In 2004 she was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the world’s most influential people, and appeared on the cover of its 2003 Asia edition.
She has earned the distinction of being the first Indian actress to be on the jury of the Cannes International Film Festival 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. In 2007 the same figure was displayed at Madame Tussaud’s Museum in Times Square in New York. As her most distinctive physical features, Rai’s green-blue eyes, luscious lips, sexy curves and ultra-feminine mannerisms have been cited by the media as her trademark. In 2005 she was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January, 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”. The same year, a tulip in the Netherlands was named “Aishwarya Rai” after her. Also in 2005, Mattel released a limited edition of Barbie dolls of Aishwarya Rai in the United Kingdom. The British magazine Maxim ranked Rai first on their list of “Hottest Women of India. Rai appeared 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 “Most Beautiful Women in The World” ranked her ninth. In May 2006 Aishwarya was featured in People Magazine as one of the “World’s Most Beautiful People”. The UK magazine Eastern Eye ranked her third in the list of “Asia’s Sexiest Women” in 2006, and she was ranked eighth in 2009. In 2008 American television channel E!: Entertainment listed Aishwarya’s eyes as the sexiest on their Sexiest Body Parts list. In 2009 she made appearances on Martha Stewart’s show Martha and on the The Tyra Banks Show. In the same year Forbes listed Rai at 387th out of 1,411 actors on their list of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. She is the highest-ranked Indian actor on the list.
Guru (Tere Bina)
In 2009 a poll conducted by the newspaper Daily News and Analysis, she was voted as one of India’s most popular icons. She attended the 83rd Academy Awards, along with her husband, Abhishek. Rai with her husband Abhishek Bachchan appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on 28 September 2009. She is the first Indian celebrity who appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show twice They have been described as a super couple in the Indian media. She was ranked 2nd in The Times of India’s 50 most desirable women of 2010, and ranked 9th for 2011. In 2011, she has received a lot of negative publicity for failing to lose her post-pregnancy weight as is apparently “required” of a public figure. However she silenced her critics by walking the red carpet at the “AmfAR Cinema Against Aids” gala in 2012 Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time. Later that year, Rai has made it to the issue of New York Magazine’s list of “Forty Women That Women Find Beautiful”, where she grabbed the 21st position in the list, with New York Magazine saying “She may be the “world’s most beautiful woman,” but what we really love is that she never feels fragile onscreen,”. She was considered by the media one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities in India.
Aishwarya Rai is a two-time winner of the Filmfare Best Actress Award, and has been nominated for Filmfare Awards eleven times. She won Most Glamorous Star of the Year which is shared with Hrithik Roshan for Dhoom 2 in 2007 She won the Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema at Awards of the International Indian Film Academy in 2009, She has won numerous times at the International Indian Film Academy Awards, Star Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards, and others. In 2009 Rai was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest Indian civilian award, for her contributions to Indian cinema. Later that year she was declared the Female Star of The Decade at the tenth International Indian Film Academy Awards, held in Macau. In December 2010 she was declared the “Actress of the Decade” at the BIG Star Entertainment Awards In 2012, she accepted the second-highest Order of France, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She is the fourth Indian actor after Sivaji Ganesan, Nandita Das, and Shahrukh Khan to be chosen for the award.
The Bollywood Tempest wishes the elegant Aishwarya Rai Bachchan a fabulous 40th Birthday.