Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai made a rare appearance at an audio launch in Chennai and took many by surprise when she broke into fluent Tamil.
It wasn't just any audio launch but that of Tamil film "Rettaichuzhi" produced by Shankar, who is directing her opposite superstar Rajnikanth in "Endhiran: The Robot".
Draped in a white sari, Aishwarya was at her courteous best at Sathyam Cinemas Monday evening as she got up to greet veteran directors K. Balachander and Bharathiraaja who play pivotal roles in the film.
Shankar said it was great to have Aishwarya as she hardly attended audio launches. He recalled that the former beauty queen wasn't present for the launch of his "Jeans", one of her first hit films.
"When we explained to her the significance of 'Rettaichuzhi' and the cast of the film, she immediately agreed. It's not just her beauty but her commitment towards her profession, which has made her a great actress," Shankar said.
The audio cassettes and CDs of "Rettaichuzhi" were released by Aishwarya and accepted by noted lyricist Vairamuthu, who once described her as a "Taj Mahal weighing 50 kilograms" in one of his lyrics for the film "Jeans".
Aishwarya said she was proud to be part of the Tamil film fraternity and took many by surprise when she spoke in fluent Tamil and later switched backed to English.
"It's an honour for me to have been present at this place among legends like Balachander and Bharathiraaja and I feel proud about it. I also feel happy that a woman is treated so respectfully at a public function like this," she said.
"I can never forget the Tamil film industry and director Shankar in my life. Shankar's 'Jeans' was my first successful film. The many things I learnt during the making of the film gave me enough self-confidence that I could continue to act for a few more years.
"I feel even more proud to be part of Shankar's 'Endhiran' opposite superstar Rajnikanth...I watched a few songs and some sequences from 'Rettaichuzhi'...I think Karthick Raaja's music and tunes are excellent. I would surely watch the film in future," Aishwarya added.