Aishwarya Rai started her film career with Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Iruvar in 1997, but says she feels "confident" about doing more Tamil films only now after the multilingual Raavan with the National Award winning director.
"I understand a bit of Tamil and speak a bit of it. For me, it is very important that I understand the meaning of my dialogues before I deliver them. I can't just mug up the dialogues. So for Raavan, I made sure I knew what I was saying and yes, I have improved a lot on the language and I am confident about doing more Tamil stuff in future," Aishwarya said.
"After Raavan, it was like - Come on! Bring on Robot (now Endhiran)," she told reporters at the music launch of Raavan here Saturday.
Raavan is Ratnam's much-awaited project and also stars Abhishek Bachchan, southern superstar Vikram and Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan. The movie has been simultaneously shot in Hindi and Tamil, with a slightly different cast.
Aishwarya plays Ragini, a classical dance teacher. The first look into the movie shows her dancing gracefully in a song where she has been picturised getting cosy with Vikram, who plays her husband in the Hindi version of the film.
One mention of how beautiful the dance moves looked, and Aishwarya said: "Aww...Thank you so much."
Talking about her role, she said: "This was an extremely challenging role for me. To shoot it in Hindi and Tamil at the same time was quite a task. But the experience was so wonderful that if Mani sir asks me, I am ready to do it all over again."
According to the 36-year-old, her role was a discovery and a mystery.
"Ragini is a strong woman and very relatable to the modern Indian woman. She speaks her mind. I say discovery because we kept discovering fantastic locations and got to see so many places. We used to trek every morning to be on the sets…
"The role remained a mystery because I was playing the leading lady and there I was with no make-up, no fancy clothes and all drenched in rain with mud all over. But that's what Mani sir expects from us to keep it all as real as it can get," she said.
Aishwarya says they used to give shots with "snakes a whisper away" and that they "must have donated blood to 300 leeches".
"All in all, it was an incredibly original experience. It was almost like being on a Fear Factor show," she added.
The movie, co-produced by Reliance BIG Pictures and Madras Talkies, is expected to release June 18.