Aishwarya Rai, the angelic prima donna of Bollywood has won over the hearts of millions with her charismatic beauty, captivating eyes and endless charm. Making her debut in the film industry with the Tamil biopic movie Iruvar, Rai has traveled a long way till her latest flick Guzaarish. Shot to limelight by winning the beauty pageant as Miss World in the year 1997, Ash has been voted since by countless magazines and the media as the most beautiful living female in this world. Presently aged 37, Rai is settled with her husband Avishek Bachchan for the last three years in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Born in Magalore, Karnataka in 1973, Aishwarya Rai is the daughter of Vrinda Rai and Krishnaraj Rai. Youngest in the line, Rai has an elder brother Aditya, who works as an engineer in the merchant navy and has been a co-producer in Ash’s Dil Ka Rishta where she appeared opposite Arjun Rampal in 2003. Ash studied in the Arya Vidya Mandir High School in Santa Cruz as her parents shifted to Mumbai at an early age. After school, she attended Jai Hind College for one year after which she moved to the Ruparel College of Matunga to study HSC. Her appearance in a soft drink TV commercial had made her an overnight hot shot as she was approached by directors with numerous lucrative offers which she turned down promptly. Though Aishwarya had plans of becoming an architect and had been pursuing architecture, destiny had greater plans for her, as she switched to modeling leaving her pursuits behind.
Miss World happened in 1994 as she participated in the Miss India beauty contest. She was crowed as Miss India World second to another enigmatic Indian lady Sushmita Sen, who won the title of Miss India Universe. Ash partook in the Miss World pageant the same year where, she bagged the Miss Photgenic award. Post the contests, she relinquished her studies and started full time modeling wherefrom, she became a model-turned-actress. Ash stuck to the industry till date turning out brilliant, critically acclaimed performances, commercial and entertaining feats that have won her inordinate accolades and fame in the industry.
Aishwarya Rai first acted in the Tamil flick Iruvar opposite Mohanlal, directed by the accomplished director Mani Ratnam. The movie was highly criticized for the controversies it spun, but was a critical success as it bagged several awards, including two National Awards, the Best Film award in Belgrade International Film Festival and two Filmfare Awards from the South. Ash played a double role in the movie with one being a cinematic depiction of the political leader J. Jayalalithaa.
After South, she made her debut in Bollywood in the same year with Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, where she starred opposite start kid Bobby Deol. Though the movie was not a huge success at the box office and was negatively criticized by the critics, it could not suppress her indomitable spirit. Her third project, another Tamil flick named Jeans, released in 1998 was a huge commercial success. The film was one of the entrants in the Oscar that year.
Rai’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanaam in 1999, under the direction of Sanjay Leela Bansaali was a big hit. Starring opposite two challenging co-starts Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan, Aishwarya played the role of a beautiful Rajasthani damsel, Nadini, who was love struck by Sameer (played by Salman), an Italian Indian musician and was compelled to marry Vanraj (Devgan). Aishwarya appeared in minimal and even no make-up in various scenes of the movie, yet managing to look naturally attractive. The film made a huge collection at the box office and earned her the first Best Actress award in the Filmfare.
Another huge success was Subhash Ghai’s Taal where Ash delivered another mind blowing performance as a young rustic girl, Mansi, acting opposite the docile and ingenious Akshay Khanna, who played her lover. The movie also starred Anil Kapoor. Though the film collected average applause from its domestic audiences, it was largely appreciated by its International audiences. The performance made her one of the Best Actress nominations for the Filmfare that year.
In 2000, she earned success through Mansoor Khan’s Josh, a film based on the localities of Goa and gang feud. Aishwary appeared in the movie as Shah Rukh Khan’s sibling who falls for a boy from the rival gang. Same year, Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein saw a short, but ever-present appearance of Aishwarya. The movie became a massive commercial success and was the second highest grosser of that year. In that very year, she appeared in Hamare Dil Aapke Paas Hain, opposite Anil Kapoor and in Kandukondain Kandukondain with Tabu.
Her role in Devdas opposite Shah Rukh Khan, alongside Madhuri Dixit was a tremendous success that received a special screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The highest gross for the year, Aishwarya Rai received her second Best Actress Award at the Filmfare.
Her recent appearance as Hrithik Roshan’s love interest in Dhoom 2 was a blockbuster. The movie saw Ash in a new snazzy avatar with a slight frame making lithe dance moves and action stunts. Mani Ratnam’s Guru opposite hubby Avishek Bachchan was premiered in Toronto at the Elgin Theatre.
Aishwarya also appeared in a few Hollywood flicks, but without notable success in any of them.
Deeply religious, Aishwarya Rai is Hindu by religion. She loves visiting a 200 years old Ganesha temple which she claims to be her favorite one.
Aishwarya Rai shared a relationship with Salman Khan for two years, when the duo started dating in 1999. However, their affair came to an end in 2001 which Rai cited was due to infidelity, abuse and indignity on the part of Khan, which the latter promptly denied.
However, Ash moved on and married the heir of the famous Bachchan family, Avishek Bachchan and settled down in the Bollywood tinsel town. Their wedding was an extravagantly plush one that took place at their residence Prateeksha at Juhu. Post marriage, Rai has continued to prove her love for her hubby by endearing his family as her very own.