(2006) Cosmo Magazine Interview

Ash she likes it!

Friend and adman Prahlad Kakkar demystifies the ‘Ice Queen’.

First glimpse:
I remember the first time I saw her; she had come straight from college to my office for a mouthwash commercial. She was wearing a dirty pair of jeans, chappals, hair tied up with a cloth jhola. Later when I saw her through the camera wearing a pink shalwar kameez, her hair left open, climbing down the staircase, I was stunned. Subsequently, we featured her for a soft-drink commercial. Ash’s two-second appearance as Sanju catapulted her into national consciousness. Few know that Ash missed the medical seat by one percent. That’s her greatest tragedy and our greatest benefit for she’d have made for a great doctor!

Ms Professional:
Ash is a sharp businessperson. She takes all the financial decisions and negotiates every contract personally. You cannot buy her for a price. Because she doesn’t have a price. She can do a project free, or for an amount she quotes. She doesn’t allow people access or familiarity. She’s the only professional here apart from Amitabh Bachchan.

Still a simple, middle-class girl:
Today she has developed great confidence but with a carefully protected loneliness. Though she’ll never admit that she’s lonely, I know she is. She’s still the middle-class girl who breaks into Tulu every time she meets a Manglorean. Earlier she was inexperienced about conducting her relationships. She has now learnt to compartmentalise them. Few men can accept a woman as an equal or better than them. Successful women believe that they can change men’s lives. They pick up losers whose spots are unchangeable. She needs somebody who is successful in his own way and doesn’t need a wife as an ego prop.

Sex-appeal:
Her sex appeal lies in her inaccessibility, in being an ‘Ice Queen’. She throws a challenge, ‘Do you have what it takes to turn me on?’ And when she gets reciprocating, men can’t handle it. Like what young Viveik Oberoi did. He wanted to tell the whole world. Her telling the public, ‘I like this guy’ doesn’t make her anymore giving in love.

Surviving Salman Khan:
She realised that she could never be a part of the industry when the tape chakkar (when her private conversations with then boyfriend Salman Khan went public) happened. That was her catharsis. The industry supported Salman Khan. Nobody came to her. She was shattered. She locked herself in a room and wept for eight hours. She didn’t allow her mother or me to come in. It’s rare to see Aishwarya in such a vulnerable state. Now she has no expectations from the industry.

Giggle gal:
Everybody thinks that she has this plastic giggle. The giggle is her symptom of nervousness—as she did in the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’. She giggled because she realised that this is a world forum and ‘I’m not giving world-class answers’. My greatest grouse against her is that she doesn’t read.

As told to Farhana Farook

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