(2006) I became Umrao Jaan: Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai got so involved in portraying her character in Umrao Jaan that she “became” the courtesan while shooting the film.

Dressed in those heavy, elegant, studded outfits of a courtesan and dancing to lyrical songs and speaking Urdu poetry in an ambience reflective of the Lucknow of 19th century, Aishwarya Rai says she was transported to that time and era.

“Playing Umrao Jaan was an emotional journey and a learning experience. The way JP saab works, I had to remain constantly focused while shooting my scenes. Sometimes he would shoot an entire mukhda of a song in a single take. I had to remain completely involved in my character. Many times, I felt I became Umrao Jaan,” Ash had said after the release function of the book on the making of ‘Umrao Jaan’ a few days back.

Made by J.P. Dutta , the film tells a touching tale of a woman who was abducted as a child and sold to a kotha in Lucknow where she grew to be a beautiful courtesan with refined skills in poetry, singing and dancing. But behind her beautiful exterior, Umrao Jaan remained a lonely woman with many unfulfilled desires.

Ash said she feels honoured to be spoken of in the same league as Rekha , who iconised the same role in Muzaffar Ali’s ‘Umrao Jaan’ in 1981. However, Ash added that comparisons are unfair because she has interpreted the character in her own way.

Ash said she loved the challenge of playing a character that speaks chaste Urdu poetry and does classical dance.

“I would not have been able to do it without the help of JP saab and Javed Akhtar saab, who guided me at every step of the way,” Ash said.

‘Umrao Jaan’ has Abhishek Bachchan as Aishwarya’s co-star. The film releases on November 3.

- Apunkachoice

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