Hair poker straight and parted through the centre, red streaks, neatly lined lips — that was Aishwarya Rai many years ago. And, that’s Ash in her latest film poster, too. The first look of Madhur Bhandarkar’s film Heroine, which was recently unveiled at Cannes, features a picture of the 37-year-old actor that was reportedly part of beauty brand L’oreal’s promotional shoot years ago.
Ever since reports of the same appeared on entertainment portal Pinkvilla.com, the web has been abuzz with criticism from disappointed Bhandarkar fans. “It’s absurd. She doesn’t look that young now,” writes Nauhar Walia. “They think they can fool the audience? I didn’t expect this from Bhandarkar,” tweets Simone Garg. Another surfer, Nishant Khandekar jibes, “Did Ash charge so much that no money was left for a fresh shoot?”
When contacted, a source from the film’s production unit said on condition of anonymity, “Yes, it’s not a new picture. We haven’t done a photo shoot yet. We will be doing one as the movie progresses.” However, the source cited Ash’s ‘look’ in the picture as the sole reason behind the choice: “The picture has a film magazine-like feel to it, which we wanted for the poster as the movie is based on a heroine’s life. It represents the right mood.” Heroine has Ash playing Mahi Khanna, a once successful film actor whose career is on the decline. Bhandarkar and L’oreal representatives remained unavailable for comment.