She did it, but without prompting. Aishwarya Rai will be seen in the Hindi as well as Tamil versions of Raavan that is releasing Friday, but says she didn't use any prompting for either and relied on memory for her dialogues in both the languages.
"I can't take prompting. First of all, I don't know the art of someone holding a placard and me reading it," Aishwarya, 36, told IANS in an exclusive interview.
"I tried it once, but it was such a flop because I was in the water and they were holding the placard behind the camera and suddenly Vikram enters the frame and he started acting his bit. Then I had to bank on my memory because Vikram came in front, blocking the placard. I don't know how to go with these cheating tactics. So prompting doesn't work. I tried, but it didn't work because of the waterfall. You can't hear a thing. So I literally had to rely on memory," she said.
Aishwarya plays the female protagonist in both versions of Mani Ratnam's much-awaited movie titled Raavan in Hindi and Raavanan in Tamil. For the Hindi version, she has teamed up with southern star Vikram, who plays her husband, and her real life partner Abhishek, who is seen as her tormentor.
Is your Tamil as good as Hindi?
"No, no it was memorising and delivering. But if you keep it in front of me, I would be able to pick it up and do it again," she said.
Asked whether she could give equal energy to both the Tamil and Hindi versions of the film, Aishwarya said: "As an actor I have tried giving as much, if not more, when I am working in the Tamil version because I would not want to be accused of trying to give more to one language than the other. Both were equally important to me as I have genuinely worked on two films."
The former beauty queen says though she and Abhishek don't take their personal relationship to the sets of a movie, their natural chemistry reflects on camera.
"We, of course, separate our personal life in front of the camera. But when Abhishek and me are framed together, you naturally see the connection. Even if it was another Hindi actor, may be you would see a more natural connection than you would see between Vikram and me but that is not because of anything else but probably the familiarity of seeing people together."
Talking about Vikram, she said: "Vikram and I were new to each other. After doing 'Iruvar', a lot of films in the south were offered to me with a lot of different actors, him included. My schedules didn't allow me to do south films. I am doing two films this year, Raavan and Endhiran.
"Vikram is senior to both Abhishek and me in terms of experience. Having said that, what's wonderful about working with Mani is that all the actors who come to the table are literally like students who are working for the first time. So no one got down to recognise anyone's seniority or experience or familiarity or personal relationship like Abhishek and me."
In the Tamil version, Vikram is playing the antagonist Beera, while Prithviraj will be seen as Aishwarya's cop husband.
"Mani would always go with the Hindi version first. The beauty of cinema or experience we already have has built an ability to suddenly transport us into a so-called almost fresh Tamil film. Vikram had brought his best to the fore without this assumption that Abhishek has just done it before him. As he is also playing Dev (her husband) in the Hindi version, Mani never brought these two chapters (Beera in Tamil and Dev in Hindi) at the same time, except one fight scene where Vikram didn't have to switch between Dev and Beera.
"Prithviraj has done a very commendable job as Dev in the Tamil version. Specially because Vikram is a Tamil-speaking actor who has done Hindi, Prithviraj, a Malayalam-speaking actor, has done Tamil; so we have all challenged ourselves beyond the norm and really worked hard to make this film."
But she refused to answer who's better as Beera - Abhishek or Vikram!