Words are inadequate to describe ex-Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s breathtaking beauty. Many have tried, and failed to distill her ethereal grace and delicate charm into words. She is, has always been, and always will be the most beautiful woman in the world for us proud Indians.
The beauty pageant winner began her dream run in 1997, with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film ‘Iruvar’. Her first Hindi feature film was ‘Aur Pyar Ho Gaya’ opposite Bobby Deol, which was a commercially failure. She followed this up with ‘Jeans’, which was sent to the Oscars as India’s official entry for the year.
The turning point in Aishwarya’s career came with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, which earned her critical as well as commercially success. Her on-screen portrayal of a Gujarati girl madly in love with a singer (played by her then-boyfriend Salman Khan) earned her a rightful place in cinema’s hall of fame. Aishwarya was equally luminous and simply breathtaking in Subhash Ghai’s ‘Taal’, which released later that year.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali was once again instrumental in painting Rai’s beauty on-screen, in his breathtaking adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ‘Devdas’ on celluloid. Reams of praise were heaped on Aishwarya, who played the decidedly tough role of Paro, Devdas’ principal love interest in the film.
Her other notable roles include Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Chokher Bali’, Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ and of course, JP Dutta’s ‘Umrao Jaan’, during the making of which she fell in love with her now-husband Abhishek Bachchan.
Hollywood came calling in 2004, when she starred in Indo-American film ‘Bride and Prejudice’, directed by Gurinder Chadha, of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ fame. ‘Mistress of Spices’, ‘Provoked’, ‘The Last Legion’ and most importantly ‘The Pink Panther 2’ (with Steve Martin).
She was soon the talk of the town, gracing talk shows like The Oprah Show, and Late Show with David Letterman in L.A.
Like many actresses of her time, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been unable to escape the limelight in entirety. Her personal life has been fodder for the tabloids ever since she began dating superstar Salman Khan. A tumultuous relationship with the mercurial Khan was enough to feed the paparazzi frenzy, with photographers dogging their every move. Sadly though, the relationship disintegrated on rumours of emotional, verbal and physical abuse and infidelity on Khan’s part.
Soon enough, Aishwarya was reportedly in a relationship with actor Vivek Oberoi, with who she had starred together in ‘Kyun.. Ho Gaya Na’ in 2004. Though she maintained a stony silence on it throughout, rumour mills were abuzz that the two were inching towards marriage, before the relationship abruptly ended.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is now married to Bachchan scion Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya is also doting mother to a beautiful baby girl, Aaradhya Bachchan, who was born in 2011.
On this day, let’s all wish the stunning Bollywood diva a very happy birthday, and pray that she makes a full-fledged comeback to cinema very very soon!