Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai (born 1 November 1973), also known as Aishwarya RaiBachchan, is an Indian film actress and model. Rai has establishedherself as a leading contemporary actress of Indian cinema and hasbecome one of Bollywood's highest-paid actresses. She has receivedseveral awards and nominations, including two Filmfare Awards,and was awarded with the Padma Shri by the Government of Indiain 2009, and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by theGovernment of France in 2012. She is regarded as one of the mostpopular and influential celebrities in India, and is often cited inthe media as the "most beautiful woman in theworld".

Rai was the first runner-up of the Miss India pageant, and thewinner of the Miss World pageant of 1994. She made her actingdebut in the 1997 biographical film, Iruvar and starred in the1998 romantic drama Jeans. She earned wide public recognition andBest Actress awards at Filmfare for her leading roles inSanjay Leela Bhansali's 1999 melodrama Hum Dil De Chuke Sanamand the 2002 period film Devdas. She gained criticalappreciation for her portrayal of Tagore's heroine Binodini inRituparno Ghosh's 2003 film Chokher Bali, and a depressedwoman in Ghosh's 2004 relationship drama Raincoat. Following aseries of commercially unsuccessful films, Rai featured in the 2006blockbuster adventure film Dhoom 2, the historical romanceJodhaa Akbar, and the science fiction film Enthiran. Shegarnered wide critical acclaim for her work in Bhansali's 2010romantic drama Guzaarish.

Her off-screen roles include duties as a brand ambassador for severalcharity organisations and campaigns; she is a Goodwill Ambassadorfor the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).Following a tumultuous relationship with actor Salman Khan, Raimarried actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007 and has a daughter.

Early life and modelling career

Rai was born into a Bunt family in Mangalore,Karnataka. Her father, Krishnaraj, was a marinebiologist, while her mother, Brinda, is a homemaker. She hasone elder brother, Aditya Rai, who is an engineer in the merchantnavy. He co-produced one of her movies, Dil Ka Rishta(2003). Rai's values and lifestyle were influenced by herfamily, and even as her fame continues to rise, she holds strong to areligious, value-based life, influenced early on by herparents.

The family moved to Mumbai, where Rai attended the Arya VidyaMandir High School. Rai did her intermediate schooling atJai Hind College for a year, and then joined DGRuparel College in Matunga, securing 90 percent in theHSC exams. She trained in classical dance andmusic for five years during her teens. Her favourite subjectwas zoology, so she initially considered a career in medicine but wasunsuccessful later on. Then with plans to become anarchitect, she enrolled at Raheja College of Arts., but latergave up her education to pursue a career inmodelling. In 1991, Rai won a supermodel contest(organised by Ford) and was eventually featured in the Americanedition of Vogue.

In 1993, Rai gained public recognition for her appearance in aPepsi commercial with actor Aamir Khan.In the 1994 Miss India pageant, she won second place, behindSushmita Sen, and was crowned Miss India World. WithSen representing India at the Miss Universe pageant, Aishwarya'sduties as the first runner-up included representing India in the rivalMiss World Pageant, held that year in Sun City, South Africa. She wenton to win the crown where she also won the "Miss Photogenic"award and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty - Asia &Oceania. After winning the pageant, Rai spoke of her dreamfor peace for this world, and her desire to be an ambassador of peaceduring her one-year reign in London. Rai continuedto pursue a career as a model until she became an actress.

Acting career

Early work (1997-98)

Rai made her acting debut in 1997 with Mani Ratnam's Tamilfilm Iruvar, a semi-biographical political drama, featuringMohanlal, Prakash Raj, Tabu and Revathi. The filmwas a critical success and among other awards, won the Best Film awardat the Belgrade International Film Festival Raifeatured as Pushpavalli and Kalpana - dual roles; the latter was afictionalised portrayal of politician and former actressJayalalithaa. Due to Rai's weak Tamil-speaking skills,her dialogue in the film was dubbed by another actor. Thatsame year, she was cast as Ashi, a naive teenager in her firstBollywood film - Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, a romantic comedy oppositeBobby Deol. The film was a commercial failure, and reviewers werecritical of the film and Rai's acting ability.

In the 1998 big-budget Tamil romantic drama Jeans directedby S. Shankar, Rai appeared alongside Prashanth andNassar. She played Madhumita, a young woman who accompanies herailing grandmother to the United States to seek medical attention. Acommercial success, the film earned Rai praise for her dancingskills. Unlike in Iruvar, Rai practised and dubbed for herown lines in the film. Jeans was later submitted asIndia's official entry to the Academy Awards for 1998.Her first role in 1999 was in the melodrama Aa Ab Laut Chalen,directed by Rishi Kapoor. The film was a critical failure and hada below average performance at the box office. Rai'sportrayal of Pooja Walia, a traditional Indian woman living in theUnited States, met with negative reviews; Rediff.com published,"Aishwarya Rai sports a plastic smile and never gets a scene where shecan portray any depth. All she does is cry and smile and lookpretty".

Public recognition (1999-2001)

In 1999, Rai starred in the romantic drama Hum Dil De Chuke Sanamwhich became a significant turning point in her career. Thefilm, an adaptation of Maitreyi Devi's Bengali novel NaHanyate, was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and co-starredSalman Khan and Ajay Devgan. She played the leading role ofNandini, a Gujarati woman who is forced into wedlock (withDevgan's character) despite being in love with another man (played byKhan). TheMovieReport.com praised Rai's performance over her co-actorsand noted, "Rai, in a luminous, award-winning performance (largelyconsidered her big dramatic breakthrough--and justifiably so), fillsin the conflicted emotional shades that Khan fails to bring with hisone-dimensional presence". Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam emerged asa major commercial success and won Rai a Filmfare Award for BestActress. Rai next took the leading role of Mansi, anaspiring singer, in Subhash Ghai's musical Taal; alongsideAkshay Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri and AlokNath. Rai's performance earned positive feedback fromcritics. Rediff noted "After being praised for her looks andacting talent in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Aishwarya has excelled inTaal. The film will again enhance her reputation as an actress;besides acting well she also dances beautifully. A moderatedomestic success, Taal was notable for being the first Indian film tofeature in the top twenty listing at the Americanbox-office. Rai received a second Best Actressnomination that year at the Filmfare Awards ceremony.

In 2000, Rai starred in Kandukondain Kandukondain, a Tamillanguage adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Sense andSensibility. Directed by Rajiv Menon, the film also starred Tabu,Mammooty and Ajith Kumar in prominent roles. Rai was cast asMeenakshi (based on the character of Marianne Dashwood), theyounger sister of Tabu's character. The film was a criticaland commercial success and earned Rai positive comments from critics;a review carried by The Indian Express summarised, "Attacking herrole with just the perfect dollop of innocence, Aishwarya does fulljustice to her part, and matches up perfectly toTabu."

Rai next starred alongside Shahrukh Khan and ChandrachurSingh in the action drama Josh. She portrayed Shirley Dias, thetwin sister of Khan's character who falls in love with his archenemy's brother (played by Singh). The casting of Rai asKhan's sister was considered an unusual pairing at the time; directorMansoor Khan, however, described it as "perfect".Despite earning mixed reviews from film critics, Josh emerged as acommercial success. Satish Kaushik's socialdrama Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai was Rai's next release; sheplayed a rape victim in the film. Co-starring Anil Kapoor andSonali Bendre, the film was well received by critics and didmoderate business at the box office. Film critic Sukanya Verma praisedRai's decision to star in the film and added that she "conveys theturmoil and pain of a rape victim well. But it is her transition froman emotional wreck trying to gather the broken pieces of her life backtogether that is amazing." Rai eventually earned a thirdBest Actress nomination at Filmfare.

Following a leading role in the box-office flop Dhai Akshar PremKe, Rai took on a supporting role in Aditya Chopra's ensembleromance Mohabbatein. Rai's role was that of Megha Shankar, thedaughter of Amitabh Bachchan's character who commits suicideafter realising that her father will not accept her romance with oneof his students (played by Shahrukh Khan). Despite earning mixedreviews from film critics, Mohabbatein emerged as the secondhighest grossing film of the year and earned Rai a Filmfare Awardfor Best Supporting Actress nomination.The following year, she starred alongside Govinda and JackieShroff in the romantic comedy Albela. Upon release, both the filmand her performance received mostly negative reviews; TaranAdarsh of Bollywood Hungama criticised the film and mentioned Raias "plastic in some scenes".

Devdas and international recognition (2002-07)

After featuring in David Dhawan's slapstick comedy film HumKisise Kum Nahin, Rai appeared alongside Shahrukh Khan andMadhuri Dixit in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's love-saga Devdas,an adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of thesame name. She played the role of Paro (Parvati), the loveinterest of the protagonist (played by Khan). The film was screened atthe 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was featured by Time intheir listing of the "10 best films of themillennium". The film emerged as a majorinternational success with revenues of over INR 530 million(US$8.8 million). Alan Morrison, writing forEmpire, praised the performances of the three leads and wrote,"Aishwarya Rai proves she has the acting talent to back up herflawless looks". Devdas was chosen as India's official entryfor the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and receiveda nomination at the BAFTA Awards in the Best ForeignLanguage Film category. In India, the film won 10 FilmfareAwards, including a second Best Actress award for Rai.

In 2003, Rai featured in two romantic dramas of Bollywood, herbrother's production début Dil Ka Rishta, alongside ArjunRampal, and Rohan Sippy's Kuch Na Kaho, alongsideAbhishek Bachchan. Neither of these films fared wellcritically or commercially. She was later notedfor her starring role in Rituparno Ghosh's independentBengali film Chokher Bali, an adaptation ofRabindranath Tagore's novel of the same name. Sheportrayed the character of Binodini, an emotionally manipulativewidow, struggling with her sexual desires in early-20th centuryBengal. The film was a major critical success and Rai earnedpositive notice for her performance; Derek Elley of Varietynoted, "Rai dominates the film with her delicately sensual presenceand physical grace". Commercially, the film was asleeper hit.

After the success of Chokher Bali, Rai returned to mainstream Hindifilm with Rajkumar Santoshi's Khakee (2004), a suspensethriller featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devganand Tusshar Kapoor. The film tells the story of five constablesembroiled in a mystery surrounding a terrorist attack; Rai's role wasthat of Mahalakshmi, a gun moll. While filming for Khakee, Raiwas accidentally hit by a running car, which resulted in the fractureof her left foot. Upon release, the film received moderatecritical and commercial success. In her next release, theromantic comedy Kyun! Ho Gaya Na..., Rai played Diya Malhotra, auniversity student who develops a one-sided attraction toward herfriend Arjun Khanna (played by Vivek Oberoi). The film receivedpositive to mixed comments from critics, but failedcommercially.

In late 2004, Rai garnered international recognition for her starringrole opposite Martin Henderson in Gurinder Chadha'sBritish film Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood-styleadaptation of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.International film critics were appreciative of Rai's "beauty" butquestioned her acting abilities; a review carried by The New YorkTimes mentioned her as "radiantly beautiful but inert". Witha worldwide gross of $24 million against a production budget of $7million, Bride and Prejudice proved a commercial success.Rai next collaborated with director Rituparno Ghosh, for the secondtime, in the relationship drama Raincoat, an adaptation ofO. Henry's The Gift of the Magi. Also featuring Ajay Devgan,Raincoat met with wide critical acclaim and among other wins, won theNational Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.The Hindu noted, "[A]s Neerja, [Rai] appears to have shed herinhibitions about looking unglamorous. What is more, she seems to havemade an earnest effort to emote, using less of her body and limbs andmore of her face, and eyes in particular". She eventuallyreceived another Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.

Rai next co-starred alongside Sanjay Dutt and Zayed Khan inthe 2005 adult drama Shabd, which tells the story of an authorwho convinces his wife to pursue an illicit relationship with ayounger man in research for his next book. The film receivedpredominantly negative reviews and proved a commercial failure.The Times of India concluded, "For the umpteenth time, Ms Railooks drop-dead gorgeous. And that's about it. She is like thatpicture postcard you get when what you were actually waiting for is aletter. It's very beautiful to look at, but is of no use because itsays nothing." That same year, Rai took on the lead role ofTilo in Paul Mayeda Berges's romantic fantasy film TheMistress of Spices, an adaptation of the novel of the same nameby Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. The film receivedunanimous negative reviews from film critics andemerged as a commercial failure. Peter Bradshaw ofThe Guardian termed Rai's performance as "annoying" and wrotethat she "wafts and simpers" through the entire film. Rai'sonly successful venture of 2005 was a special appearance inShaad Ali's comedy Bunty Aur Babli, in which she featured inthe popular item number Kajra Re.Rai at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival

Rai had two film releases in 2006, J P Dutta's Umrao Jaanand Yash Raj Films' Dhoom 2. The former, an adaptation ofMirza Hadi Ruswa's Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905),tells the story of a doomed courtesan from 19th-centuryLucknow. Rai played the titular role, a character famously playedby Rekha in the first film adaptation of the novel.Reviewers, while comparing the film to its previous adaptation, werecritical of the film as well as of Rai's performance. BBC noted,"While only Aishwarya could emulate the grace and poise of Rekha, shedoesn't quite capture the intensity of Umrao's abiding melancholy",adding that "Rai's incandescent beauty and artistry [..] does indeedkeep the audience watching, though not necessarily emotionallyengaged."

In the Sanjay Gadhvi-directed adventure film Dhoom 2, Raiportrayed Sunehri, a petty thief who helps the police catch anillusive criminal; the film had an ensemble cast includingHrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, andUday Chopra. Though critically unsuccessful, the filmwas Rai's first major commercial success since Devdas; the film wasdeclared a blockbuster, and became the highest grossingIndian film of 2006 with gross revenues of over INR 1.11 billion(US$18 million). Rediff.com commented, "[She] is all glossand no depth. You seldom feel any tension in her behaviour andexpressions. [..] Sunehri enters the film nearly 50 minutes after itsopening in a disguise. In no time, she is wearing the flimsiest ofclothes. Once she opens her mouth--and she does it two minutes afterappearing in the film--she spoils the image." Nonetheless,her performance earned her a sixth Filmfare Award nomination in theBest Actress category.

In 2007, Rai played the wife of Abhishek Bachchan's character in ManiRatnam's social drama Guru. A fictionalised biography ofbusinessman Dhirubhai Ambani, Guru tells the rag to richesstory of an uneducated man who builds a multinational corporation. Thefilm met with international critical acclaim and emerged as abox-office success. Richard Corliss of Timelabelled her character as an "ornament", but Raja Sen from Rediffdescribed it as "her finest performance, visible especially when shetakes over the film's climax." Rai received herseventh Best Actress nomination at Filmfare for her performance in thefilm. Rai next starred alongside Naveen Andrews and MirandaRichardson in Jag Mundhra's independent British dramaProvoked, as the real-life character of Kiranjit Ahluwalia,a non-resident Indian who murders her husband after sufferingfrom years of domestic abuse. Rai earned mostly positivecomments for her performance. Critic Indu Mirani fromDNA wrote, "Aishwarya Rai plays the battered wife in what isundoubtedly one of her best performances to date. Rai convincinglygoes through the various stages of shock, bewilderment, remorse andfinally vindication". Internationally well-received, thefilm emerged as a moderate commercial success in the UnitedKingdom. That same year, Rai starred as Mira, anIndian warrior in Doug Lefler's epic film The LastLegion. Starring alongside Sir Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth,and Thomas Sangster, the film was a major critical and commercialfailure. New York Daily News noted, "[T]hough Rai maybe the most beautiful woman in the world, ... she's noactress."

Jodhaa Akbar and other roles (2008-10)

After a series of films that under-performed either critically orcommercially, Rai garnered both critical and box-office success withAshutosh Gowariker's period romance Jodhaa Akbar (2008). Thefilm narrates a partly fictionalised account of a marriage ofconvenience between the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin MuhammadAkbar (played by Hrithik Roshan) and the Rajput princessJodha Bai (played by Rai). Rajeev Masand noted, "AishwaryaRai is wonderfully restrained and uses her eyes expertly tocommunicate so much, making this one of her finest outings onscreen". The film had gross earnings of INR 1.12billion (US$19 million) and fetched Rai a Best Actress nomination atthe Filmfare Awards ceremony. She then co-starred with herhusband, Abhishek Bachchan, and her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan,in Ram Gopal Verma's political drama Sarkar Raj, a sequel tothe 2005 box-office hit Sarkar. Rai was cast as AnitaRajan, the CEO of an international power firm who proposes to set up aplant in rural Maharashtra. The film was a critical andcommercial success, with praise directed to the performances of thethree leads.Rai at a promotional event for her film Enthiran

Rai's next role was in the 2009 Harald Zwart-directed spy comedyThe Pink Panther 2. Starring alongside Steve Martin,Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer, Rai portrayed the role ofSonia Solandres, a seductive criminology expert. Like itspredecessor, the sequel received negative reviews fromcritics, but did a moderate business of $34 million at theAmerican box office. Roger Ebert wrote, "Rai isbreathtaking in Bollywood films, where they devote a great deal ofexpertise to admiring beauty, but here's she's underutilized and toomuch in the background"; USA Today mentioned herexpressions as "wooden" and added, "She looks gorgeous, but herexpression rarely changes".

In 2010, Rai was cast by Mani Ratnam in his bilingual modern-dayadaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Her role was that ofRagini (modeled on Sita, the heroine of Ramayana), a womanmarried to the superintendent of police, who is kidnapped by abandit. The Hindi version (Raavan) and the Tamil version(Raavanan) of the film were shot simultaneously and Rai playedthe same role in both the film versions. The films receivedpolarising reviews from film critics, as did Rai's performance.Kaveree Bamzai of India Today wrote, "Aishwarya's Sita is one ofthe best things in the film. Her performance is heartfelt--this is aperformer who is at ease playing women, rather than girls.However, film critics Aniruddha Guha and Rajeev Masand criticised hercharacter and noted, "She's left to scream and shriek andhiss." Commercially, Raavanan emerged as a success whileRaavan flopped. Rai's next role was oppositeRajinikanth in the science fiction Tamil film Enthiran(2010), directed by S. Shankar. She was cast as Sana, acollege student and the girlfriend of Rajinikanth's character. At thetime of release, Enthiran was the most expensive Indian filmproduction and eventually emerged as one of the highest-grossingIndian films of all time. She thenappeared as Mala, an impetuous brat, in Vipul Shah's ActionReplayy; a science fiction comedy co-starring Akshay Kumar,Aditya Roy Kapoor and Neha Dhupia. Upon release, the filmmet with largely negative reviews and proved an economicfailure.

Rai's final film of 2010 was the drama Guzaarish; her thirdcollaboration with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor HrithikRoshan. The film tells the story of Ethan Mascarenas, aformer 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 isabused by her alcoholic husband. Despite flopping at the box-office,Guzaarish met with positive critical comments. The Telegraghdescribed it to be Rai's "best performance" and The Times of Indiasummarised, "Aishwarya is a stunning picture of fire and grace,walking away with certain scenes by her sheervitality." In 2011, Rai was cast as theprotagonist of Madhur Bhandarkar's social drama Heroine;however, due to her pregnancy, Rai was replaced by actor KareenaKapoor, the original choice for the role.

Upcoming projects

After a five year absence from the screen, Rai will star as theprotagonist of Jazbaa, an action thriller from director SanjayGupta, which is scheduled to begin filming in January 2015.She is also attached to reunite with director Mani Ratnam on anuntitled Tamil film co-starring Akkineni Nagarjuna andMahesh Babu.

Off-screen work

Stage performances

Rai performing at the 17th Annual Star Screen Awards (2011)

Rai has taken part in several stage shows and world tours since 2001.Her first world tour, a series of concerts called Craze 2001, wasperformed across the US alongside Anil Kapoor, Aamir Khan, PrietyZinta and Gracy Singh. The show faced early cancellation due tothe 11 September 2001 attacks, and the team prepared to return toIndia as soon as possible. However, the shows continued successfullyin Canada. In 2002, she participated in the show From IndiaWith Love in the UK, along with Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, ShahrukhKhan and Priety Zinta. It took place at two outdoor venues,Manchester's Old Trafford and London's Hyde Park, withover 100,000 spectators. In the summer of 2008, Rai, herhusband Abhishek Bachchan, her father-in-law AmitabhBachchan, and actors Preity Zinta, Ritesh Deshmukh, andMadhuri Dixit starred in the "Unforgettable World Tour" stageproduction. The first leg covered the USA, Canada, Trinidad, andLondon, England. Rai is also involved in the functional andadministrative operations of her father-in-law's company, originallyknown as ABCL, and rechristened as AB Corp. Ltd. That company, alongwith Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., developed theUnforgettable production.

Social work

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 wasappointed as Longines Ambassador of Elegance. In 2003she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at theCannes Film Festival. In 2003 she became a globalbrand ambassador of L'Oréal, alongside Andie MacDowell,Eva Longoria, and Penélope Cruz. Raiis the brand ambassador for The Eye Bank Association of India'snationwide campaign to promote eye donation in India.In 2005 she became a brand ambassador for Pulse Polio, a campaignestablished by the Government of India in 1994 to eradicatepolio in India. In the same year, Rai was appointedspokesperson for the International Year of Microcredit, raisingawareness of the main goals and priorities of the United Nations'poverty alleviation efforts.

In February 2005 Rai performed alongside other Bollywood stars at theHELP! Telethon Concert, an event to raise money for the victims of the2004 tsunami earthquake. Along with other members ofthe Bachchan family, she laid the foundation of a special schoolfor underprivileged girls in Daulatpur village in Uttar Pradeshin 2008. Construction is being funded by the Bachchan family, and theschool will be named after Rai. She appeared along withvarious other Bollywood actors at the closing ceremony of the2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The performance showcasedIndian culture as a lead-up to India hosting the 2010Commonwealth Games.

Humanitarian work

Aishwarya is a UN Microcredit Spokesperson She supportsPETA India She pledged to donate her eyes to the Eye BankAssociation of India, and appeared in a public awareness film on eyedonation. In November 2004, Aishwara Rai created theAishwarya Rai Foundation to help needy people in India. In2009 Rai was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador ofSmile Train, an international charity that provides freeCleft lip and palate surgery to children in need. Her work withSmile Train will focus not only on India, but on 76 differentdeveloping countries around the world. InSeptember 2012, Rai had joined United Nations Secretary GeneralBan Ki-moon and renowned Hollywood actor Michael Douglas ata ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace in NewYork. Later that week, she was appointed as the newinternational Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, the jointUnited Nations programme on AIDS and HIV. She will raise globalawareness on protecting children from HIV infection and increasingaccess to antiretroviral treatment.


Rai made her first commercial for Camlin pencils when she was in the9th grade. Rai became popular after appearing in a Pepsicommercial with actor Aamir Khan. She is the onlyfemale actor to have endorsed both Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Sheis one of the top brand ambassadors in the country and is one of thetop paid Bollywood actresses in this respect. She modelledfor Titan Watches, Longines watches,L'Oréal, Coca-Cola, Lakmé Cosmetics,Casio pager, Philips, Palmolive, Lux,Fuji films, Nakshatra DiamondJewellery, and Kalyan Jewellers. She wasnamed the official brand ambassador for De Beers diamonds inIndia. Rai has been ranked the 2nd most popular watch brandambassador worldwide in a survey, conducted by World WatchReport. In 2013 Rai and her husband Abhishek Bachchanhave been roped in as the brand ambassadors by the TTKPrestige|TTK Group. Aishwarya Rai to endorse Lodha'sWorli project by Lodha Group World One

Personal life

Rai with her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, 2013.

In 1999, Rai began dating Bollywood actor Salman Khan; theirrelationship was often reported in the media until the coupleseparated in 2001. Rai cited "abuse (verbal, physical and emotional),infidelity and indignity" on the part of Khan as reasons for endingthe relationship. In a 2009 Times of India article,Khan denied ever beating her: "It's not true that I hit awoman."

Though they both appeared in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke (in which herthen longtime boyfriend, Salman Khan, had a brief cameo) andKuch Naa Kaho, Abhishek Bachchan fell in love with Aishwaryawhilst filming Dhoom 2. Their engagement was announcedon 14 January 2007 and later confirmed by his father, AmitabhBachchan. The couple married on 20 April 2007 according totraditional Hindu rites of the Bunt community, to which shebelongs. Token North Indian and Bengaliceremonies were also performed. The wedding took place in a privateceremony at the Bachchan residence, "Prateeksha", in Juhu,Mumbai. They have been described as a supercouple inthe Indian media. Rai is very close to herfamily and lived with them in Bandra, Mumbai, until hermarriage. Rai is Hindu anddeeply religious. Her international presence shot up whenAbhishek Bachchan accompanied her to the Cannes Filmfestival shortly after their marriage, and later to The OprahWinfrey Show, appearing on 28 September 2009. They weredescribed as being more famous as a couple thanBrangelina.

Rai gave birth to a baby girl on 16 November 2011. Herdaughter became popularly known by the name of "Beti B", a nameattributed to her by fans and the media, since the couple took overfour months to name their daughter. The baby girl was finally namedAaradhya in March 2012.

In the media


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has become one of the most admired and reveredwomen in India, and in the world. Massmedia has described her as dignified, statuesque, beautiful andcharismatic person. Despite constant mediaspeculation, she has always managed to keep her personal lifewell-guarded. Her beauty and performances have made her asa style icon for young women. Over 17,000 websitesdedicated to her, she was selected by Verve Magazinein its list of the country's most powerful women. In 2001Forbes 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, Raiappeared in Rolling Stone magazine's annual "HotList". In 2004 she was chosen by TIME magazine as oneof the world's most influential people, and appeared on the cover ofits 2003 Asia edition. She has earnedthe distinction of being the first Indian actress to be on the jury ofthe Cannes International Film Festival In October 2004 awax figure of Rai was put on display in London's Madame Tussaud'swax museum. She was the sixth Indian and the secondBollywood personality--after her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan--toget this honour. In 2007 the same figure was displayed at MadameTussaud's Museum in Times Square in New York. As hermost distinctive physical features, Rai's green-blue eyes, lusciouslips, sexy curves and ultra-feminine mannerisms have been cited by themedia as her trademark. In 2005 she was the subject of a60 Minutes profile on 2 January, which said that "at leastaccording to thousands of Web sites, Internet polls and even JuliaRoberts", she was "the world's most beautiful woman". Thesame year, a tulip in the Netherlands was named "Aishwarya Rai"after her. Also in 2005, Mattel released a limitededition of Barbie dolls of Aishwarya Rai in the UnitedKingdom. The British magazine Maxim ranked Rai firston their list of "Hottest Women of India". Rai appeared onsuch shows as Late Show with David Letterman, and was the firstBollywood personality to appear on Oprah's "Women Across theGlobe" segment. In 2005 Harpers and Queen's list of "MostBeautiful Women in The World" ranked her ninth. In May 2006Aishwarya was featured in People Magazine as one of the "World'sMost Beautiful People". The UK magazine Eastern Eyeranked her third in the list of "Asia's Sexiest Women" in2006, and she was ranked eighth in 2009. In 2008American television channel E!: Entertainment listed Aishwarya'seyes as the sexiest on their Sexiest Body Parts list. In2009 she made appearances on Martha Stewart's show Marthaand on the The Tyra Banks Show. In the sameyear Forbes listed Rai at 387th out of 1,411 actors on their listof the most bankable stars in Hollywood. She is the highest-rankedIndian actor on the list.Aishwarya walks for Manish Malhotra at HDIL India Couture Week 2010

In 2009 a poll conducted by the newspaper Daily News and Analysis, shewas voted as one of India's most popular icons. Sheattended the 83rd Academy Awards, along with her husband,Abhishek. Rai with her husband Abhishek Bachchanappeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on 28 September 2009. She isthe first Indian celebrity who appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Showtwice. They have been described as a supercouple in theIndian media She ranked 2nd in The Times of India's 50most desirable women of 2010, and ranked 9th for2011. In 2011, she has received a lot of negative publicityfor failing to lose her post-pregnancy weight as is apparently"required" of a public figure. However she silenced her critics bywalking the red carpet at the "AmfAR Cinema Against Aids" gala in2012 Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time. Laterthat year, Rai has made it to the issue of New York Magazine'slist of "Forty Women That Women Find Beautiful", where she grabbed the21st position in the list, with New York Magazine saying "She may bethe "world's most beautiful woman," but what we really love is thatshe never feels fragile onscreen,". She was considered bythe media one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities inIndia.

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