(2008) There’s amazing power in the word no
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s hands are full with projects from Hollywood, Bollywood and endorsements. She is sizzling after her marriage with junior Bachchan, Abhishek and has even put on a little weight. Thanks to her sweet tooth. No wonder, she is all dazzling and excited about her future. Excerpts from an interview
Q: When do you get time to introspect? Has the real Aishwarya changed or evolved over the years?
Aishwarya: I steal the time to introspect and I am not telling you when…(laughs). You define your own professional ethics or rules and it’s an individual choice. Right from my modelling days, the industry has been very welcoming and I was given the freedom to chart my own course. I have been blessed to push the envelope all along, be it in the choices I make or the roles I play to just the professional mode. There is an incredible power in the word ‘no’. If it’s your conscious decision, go ahead and make them but most of all, believe your decision and have a conviction.
Q: You have taken India to the global platform…
Aishwarya: It’s nice to be accorded and acknowledged at a global level and I am glad to be catalyst to the cause. It is because the present time is exciting and eventful in terms of international attention.
Q:Some saw a hint of Rekha in Umrao Jaan…
Aishwarya: I had been very committed to JP Dutta’s vision with all sincerity and had tried to bring to life what he had conceived in this epic saga. As far as comparisons are concerned, I consider myself very lucky to be spoken in the same breath as someone who is as iconic and special as Rekhaji. I remember I had met her at a store long before I started acting. She had said that I was going to be in the films and would do great. It was so sweet of her to express her belief in me at that stage of my career. Who knew then that I would get a chance to essay her role and that too of Umrao Jaan!
Q:Most of your films are for an urban audience. What about the rural ones?
Aishwarya: I consider myself very fortunate to have enjoyed a fantastic support from a widespread section of audience. Be it Indian, overseas, elderly or children, they have all given me lots of love. I am very thankful for that kind of love and support because it has given me the confidence and strength of enjoying myself and explore different genres, be it art, commercial or historical, I have done it all. So, you can’t pinpoint, my films for urban or rural audience.
Take for example, Jodha Akbar. It’s a historical film and everyone enjoyed it. It’s the films, which find its own audience and it’s not fair for you and me to sit here and assess, which film is for urban and which is for rural audience or an Indian market or an overseas market. Frankly, if we knew the answer to that business would be way different. I think, we are still searching that formula, but it is definitely an exciting time that different genres of movies are being made and the audience is giving the industry the confidence to invest in different subjects and making our time as actors very exciting.
Q: Tell something about your Hollywood projects.
Aishwarya: I have been reading scripts from Hollywood, but I will let time decide on these things. There is the possibility of a movie with Will Smith and I am very excited about it because the script is fabulous and no doubt, he is a great actor and is a funny companion to work with.
Q: What is your beauty mantra?
Be true and real to yourself and be your best friend. I work out as my schedule permits and it keeps me on my toes. I have a bad hair day or a bad zit day like anybody else. I think excesses are not good. I don’t believe in diet. I enjoy food and I eat everything. In fact, I have a major sweet tooth.
Q:Who’s your favourite designer in India?
Aishwarya: I would not like to name anyone in particular because many of them are my friends. I think it is fantastic the impact and the impression we have been making and it’s only growing now globally.
Q: Your comments on Abhishek Bachchan…
Aishwarya: Apart from being my husband, he is a friend and a fabulous colleague. I always have a great time working with him. As professionals, we got to play very different characters. He is fantastic at whatever he does. It’s good that the media has finally acknowledged this. He deserves all praise.