Ash rises to cover Time
A young woman's principled stand against dowry made her the nation's darling, as did India's achievements in various sports.india Updated: Dec 31, 2003 13:24 IST
(Saibal Chatterjee)Off the screen, the year belonged to Aishwarya Rai, who had the rare distinction of being named a member of the Cannes film festival jury in mid-May, becoming the first Indian actor to be thus honoured. As she attracted international media attention on the French Riviera, she also took the opportunity to participate in the high-profile launch of Gurinder Chadha's Pride and Prejudice - The Musical, an adaptation of the Jane Austen novel in Bollywood idiom.
Weeks before her high-profile appearance in Cannes, Aishwarya was hospitalized following a freak accident during the shooting of Khakee, a film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar, in the town of Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra.
Later in the year, Aishwarya was in the news again. Her latest vehicle, Chokher Bali, a Bengali film adapted by Rituparno Ghosh from a Rabindranath Tagore story, was invited to the Competition section of the Locarno Film Festival in August.
Bollywood found an international face in Aishwarya Rai when she was picked up to feature on the Time cover in October this year. "Indian leading lady and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai leads the charge as a hipper, edgier, more professional Bollywood bids for global dominance." Rai's career had been on the upswing since last year when she garnered rave reviews for her performance as Paro in Devdas (co-starring SRK). Described as the "world's most beautiful woman" by none less than Julia Roberts herself, Rai's looks have been her biggest selling point. And come 2004, the 26-year old is all slated to start shooting 'Chaos' with screen legend Meryl Streep. Ash clearly has only one place left to go now - up.
Holy Mother! Kolkata 'saint' knocks on Vatican's door
(Press Trust of India)The year 2003 saw the name of Kolkata permanently etched in the canons of the Roman Catholic Church with Pope John Paul-II declaring Mother Teresa as 'Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata' in the fastest-ever beatification ceremony.
The October 19 ceremony at St Peter's square of Vatican City made her 1,315th beatified person in the entire Catholic Church and the sixth in India.
This will enable her worship in Missionaries of Charity houses world-wide, adding a feather in the cap to this 'City of Joy' which has produced four Nobel Laureates.
Once canonised, as keenly desired by the ailing Pope, the nun will be known as 'Mother Teresa of Kolkata' enabling her universal worship in all Catholic churches the world over.
Though the Vatican put her on fast track to sainthood waiving the customary five-year waiting period after her death for starting the process, her journey to the "Blessed" status had not been easy.
Controversy brewed over claims of North Bengal tribal woman Monica Besra who asserted that she was cured of her abdominal tumour after she prayed to Mother Teresa. Doctors however refused to endorse any suggestion of a 'miraculous cure', saying Besra had been cured by medical treatment.
First Published: Dec 27, 2003 21:09 IST