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Aishwarya Rai's different strokes

The actress, who'll be seen in three diverse roles in Umrao Jaan, Dhoom II and Guru, speaks to Hiren Kotwani.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 13:14 IST
Hiren Kotwani/ HT City
Hiren Kotwani/ HT City

Subtlety, strength and commitment are the traits Aishwarya Rai believes she shares with Nakshatra diamond jewellery, a brand she has been associated with for about six years. Elegantly dressed in a black and silver sari, she maintained a cheerful mood before unveiling the new collection for the season.

Accompanied by her mother Vrinda Rai and business manager Hari Singh, Rai belies the belief that Indian actresses cannot soar once they touch 30. Proof of that are her diverse roles in equally varied films, beginning with JP Dutta’s Umrao Jaan which releases next month, after which she will be seen in Dhoom 2 and Guru.

The role of the courtesan is one every actress would covet. But Rai is “not apprehensive about comparisons because I have been down that road before with Devdas.”

Aishwarya Rai in a still from Umrao Jaan. 

She further adds, “It’s an honour for me to be chosen from among my fraternity to play a role so beautifully and convincingly essayed by the amazing Rekha. I’m thankful to JP


for giving me the opportunity of portraying Umrao Jaan.”

Considering that she’s known to be selective about her work, but also to be exceedingly well prepared when she arrives on sets, what preparations did she make to portray

Umrao Jaan


“The credit for research goes to JP


,” she says. “He’s a wonderful director and a visionary. Besides, he has a great understanding of music, as is evident in the way he has used it in the film.”

Keeping in mind Dutta’s male-dominated war films like

Border, Refugee



, was he a strict disciplinarian on her sets or did he pamper her during filming? “I knew that was coming,” she says before dismissing both.

“In fact Shabanaji, Ayesha Jhulka, Divya Dutta, Himaniji (Shivpuri) and I used to tease JP


about it. But even in his male-dominated films, as you call them, women had strong characters and important roles to play.”

On a final note, one can’t resist asking her when her special diamond ring is due. Rai bursts into laughter and replies: “That’s for you to tell me. You guys know better.”

First Published: Oct 04, 2006 12:31 IST