(2000) Interview with Rajeev Masand

Aishwarya Rai tells Rajeev Masand that acting is sometimes tiring, but mostly a thrilling experience…

Excitedly, the star reveals that Mani Ratnam remarked to her recently that the magic she brought to his Iruvar (her debut film, incidentally) could never be repeated in her future films. “The rawness in that performance cannot be duplicated because I know more of the medium now,” she says. However, that does not stop her from giving her all to her current crop of movies.

In Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, her next film, Aishwarya plays a rape victim. “But the mood of the film is not grim. It has been treated differently,” she claims. Her character, she says, is not a constantly moping girl. “A victim need not appear as a victim all the time,” she says, evidently a little more familiar with the business of acting. Admitting that acting can get tiring at times, the former beauty queen believes that “it’s all about your mindset, really”. She believes that if you’re enjoying the process, it might not seem like a pressure, “but at times, it can get very draining too.” For her own part, she says there are occasions a good scene has given her a high, and other instances when at the end of a gruelling day, she finds herself sapped of all her energy. “Bascially, I’m enjoying the emotional journey,” she says excitedly.

Unlike other actors she has seen at work, Aishwarya says she can’t follow any methods. “Notes and prompting doesn’t work for me. I have to feel the emotion to be able to portray it correctly,” she says. Working with Tabu onKandukondain Kandukondain was exciting, she says “because I knew that I had to make sure my character was in complete contrast to hers.”

A keen critic of her own work, the lovely lady says she enjoys her work, but agrees that there’s room for a lot of growth. “I was watching Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam on a flight recently, and I couldn’t help thinking that given the same part today, I could certainly have made some improvements in my performance.” In fact, she says, “I’m trying to lend a certain shade to my every character, which is specific to that character and is never repeated.” Costume, look and body language are the three factors that count, when keeping the character specific, she believes.

On the personal front, any mention of Salman Khan is meticulously avoided. “I don’t think I have anything to talk about. I will talk when something needs to be said,” she volunteers. Meanwhile, she says she lives a large part of her life through her work. “I love travelling, and I get to do a lot of that on the job. Maybe I can’t party, but I get to do my share of dancing in the movies,” she says amidst giggles.

If there’s one experience she’s yet to savour, then that’s visiting the cinema to watch a film of hers. “My seniors have recommended that strongly,” she says. “They say it’s the ultimate experience.” Not surprisingly, she can’t wait to do that.

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