Aishwarya Rai looked a mix of pain, desperation and of course beauty on her final appearance at Cannes. Fact remains that her beauty now lurks a little beneath the surface instead of the full bloom glow she sported earlier. Every time she makes a public appearance the topic just gets retriggered. Reams get written on her attires (too dark, too light, too ornate, too simple) her coiffure (too casual, too high) etc.
So what has actually gone wrong with the girl who had the world swooning at her feet? Yes, she got married and had a baby and put on weight and lost it again. These events shouldn't be that relevant.
World over women go through this rite of passage. It changes them and adds new dimensions. So why is Aishwarya looking so uncomfortable to be the focal point of the world stage? A path she has walked with finesse, so far.
Does the reason sit in the way girls are still brought up India? Perhaps the role one plays before one gets married is at best an indulgence. Post marriage, career is still regarded as secondary priority - something you do to pass time. Motherhood shifts the balance some more. Unbeknownst, with time a woman ceases to be the focus in her own life.
So what message is Aishwarya receiving from her obviously doting in-laws? She gets full marks for being hands-on mummy, loving wife and ideal bahu. It is an A+ report card for the most beautiful woman in the world. But what about the girl who could mesmerize men and women alike with one look? Aishwarya needs to rediscover that girl. She needs to reappropriate that mojo. She alone has a stake in that facet of her personality.
(This write-up is the personal opinion of the author.)