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Abhishek Bachchan Marriage
Ash had been the dutiful 'bahu' for long
: Though Bollywood's hottest couple
Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai announced their
engagement on Sunday, the actress had been fulfilling
the role of a dutiful daughter-in-law long before their
relationship was made public.
"For a while now, Aishwarya has been a dutiful bahu
(daughter-in-law) at their residence, so much so that
Jayaji (Jaya Bachchan) has completely warmed up to her
and has been telling friends for a while that Aishwarya
will fit wonderfully into their household.
Abhishek, Aishwarya's post wedding party in Rajasthan? : Bollywood's hottest pair Abhishek
Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, who were engaged over the
weekend, may hold their post-wedding party in Jaipur or
Udaipur sometime in February with over 6,000 guests in
"Representatives of the Bachchan family have already
started holding talks in this direction with the
concerned erstwhile royal families,"
Abhishek & Aishwarya married ? : Abhishek, Aishwarya
perform special pujas in Varanasi. Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai kept rumours of
their impending marriage alive Monday by performing
rituals done only by married couples in two major
temples of the city.
Customs sleuths give clean chit to Aishwarya
glamour girl Aishwarya Rai was Monday questioned and given a clean
chit by sleuths of the customs department in connection with the
recovery of euros 23,000 (Rs.3.7 million) from a mystery parcel sent
to her from The Netherlands last week.
Customs sleuths quiz Aishwarya's father
mystery over the
postal parcel containing 23,000 euros (Rs.3.7 million) and
addressed to Bollywood glamour girl Aishwarya Rai continues,
even as the actor's father Krishnara Rai was Wednesday
questioned by sleuths of the Customs department
Aishwarya queried over mysterious cash parcel
Bollywood's glamour queen Aishwarya Rai has been questioned by
the customs department that stumbled upon a mysterious postal
parcel addressed to her containing 65,000 euros (Rs.3.7 million)
Aishwarya to attend IIFA awards
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, June 14 The pendulum swings a complete circle. Rumours that Aishwarya Rai will not be attending the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Dubai, as she wanted extra money for her performance, can be safely put to rest.
Aishwarya, who had flown into Mumbai from Chennai for a day to dub for J.P. Dutta's "Umrao Jaan", does not know whether to laugh or fume at the allegation.
"Yes, my performance at IIFA was called off but not because I had money issues. People have to make up stories, spice up the truth just to create a sensational story. But the truth, I am afraid, is far less exciting.
"The reason why I couldn't perform was because Mani Rathnam's shooting just didn't allow me to get away long enough to rehearse and then fly down to perform," said the actress.
However, in a flash-decision, Aishwarya has decided to go to Dubai for IIFA after all. She is leaving for Dubai Wednesday to attend the premiere of her film "Provoked".
Said Aishwarya: "But not to perform. I'll be there for the screening of my film 'Provoked'. That was something I had to attend. Fortunately, Mani could let me go for just one day. I will attend the screening of 'Provoked' followed by press conferences.
"Then I am back in Chennai on 15th morning to join Mani for his shooting. Of course, I won't be there for the main event. But what to do?"
"By now I am used to keeping impossible schedules. I hardly get time to be home with my family," Aishwarya remarked.
International buyers lap up Aishwarya starrer 'Provoked'
By Manissha Despaande,
Mumbai, June 8 Director Jagmohan Mundhra's Aishwarya starrer "Provoked", which is based on a true story, has become hot property among international buyers after its recent screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
Apart from a critical acclaim from the international media, the film's producer, J. Murli Manohar, got a record number of queries from the buyers and sold the film to more than 12 countries in four days following the screening, reports Bollywood Trade.
According Mundhra, the film generated a tremendous response among international distributors after its two screenings.
"We were overwhelmed by the response, especially since it was not a regular festival screening but a market screening. We also had a special screening by invitation for the international media, which worked wonders for the film," he said.
"Moreover, the film has been bought by very unusual international distributors from Brazil, China and Russia, who were eager to clinch a deal for the film's right."
The film is releasing Sep 1 and the "Provoked" team is planning a hi-pitched global campaign, in which Aishwarya will actively participate.
"Ash is very happy with the film and she understands the importance of promoting it, which is why she has allotted two whole weeks prior to the film's release for its promotional campaign," Mundhra said.
The film will also be shown at the forthcoming International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards starting June 14 in Dubai.
"We sought the Cannes screening to unveil the film to the world media. Now, we are looking at IIFA to serve as an ideal platform for unveiling the film to the Asian media," said Mundhra.
Ash, Ash everywhere, no Indian cinema though
By Saibal Chatterjee,
Cannes, May 26 The only time Aishwarya Rai has had a film in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival was in 2002 when Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" was accorded a special red carpet screening. Since then the doe-eyed Indian beauty has become bigger than the film and Bollywood itself.
Aishwarya isn't just India's most visible face on the Croisette, she is literally everywhere in the form of neon-lit portraits and hoardings - down the boulevard, in the movie halls, in the shopping areas and in every little pamphlet pertaining to the festival.
It is abundantly clear: Cannes loves Aishwarya Rai. But then it loves Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria, Andie MacDowell, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh just as much. All these beautiful ladies, representing the five continents, are brand ambassadresses of L'Oreal Paris, which has been the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival without a break for nearly a decade now.
L'Oreal sponsors the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival, which explains why Aishwarya never fails to put in an appearance when the whole wide world's entertainment press is at hand to record the red carpet walk for posterity. It has nothing whatever to do with Indian cinema.
My family is above everything, says Aishwarya
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, May 25 Is there a more family-oriented actor in Bollywood? Search, but you may probably not find anyone who gives her family so much attention as Aishwarya Rai does.
After Cannes, she could have gone straight to Chennai to join director Mani Ratnam's unit of "Guru". But she preferred to spend 24 hours with her family.
Tuesday was double-celebration time in the Rai household. It was not only the birthday of Aishwarya's mother but also her brother's marriage anniversary. It was an occasion that the actress couldn't afford to miss.
"Whatever little time I get from my work between schedules, I'd like to spend with my family," Aishwarya told IANS.
And after spending a day in Chennai, Aishwarya rushed back to Mumbai for the very special occasion.
"I always prioritise my family above everything and everyone else. When all seems lost it is the family that stands by you," she said.
Incidentally, Rani Mukerji is another family-oriented Bollywood diva. She gave up the pleasure of representing her film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" at the 59th Cannes Film Festival with director Karan Johar for the joy of staying home with her newly-born nephew
With 'Provoked' Aishwarya proves a point
By Saibal Chatterjee,
Cannes, May 23 She hasn't been having a particularly great time of late either at the box office or with the carping critics. But Bollywood diva
Aishwarya Rai has an absolute winner on her hands in the form of Jagmohan Mundhra's "Provoked".
Screened several times in the Cannes Film Market this year, "Provoked", the real life story of a battered Indian woman who went on to become a role model for all victims of domestic violence in Britain, has garnered positive reviews both for its controlled making and
Aishwarya's finely etched performance.
"Sceptics repeatedly asked me why I had opted for Aishwarya for the role of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, but I was always convinced that she is a talented, sensitive and instinctive actress and 'Provoked' is clear proof of that," the US-based Mundhra told IANS.
One couldn't agree more with Mundhra. For the most part, "Provoked" presents a completely deglamourised Aishwarya, first in gaudy but nondescript Indian outfits and then in drab prison overalls. To her credit, she sinks her teeth deep into the role and ensures that her presence does not divert attention away from the essential intent of the film.
"Aishwarya," said Mundhra, "has very expressive eyes. They have rarely been exploited. It all boils down to what a director wants to extract from her."
Besides the way she uses her eyes to convey a gamut of emotions - trust, loyalty, fear, confusion and, finally, resolve - what is really impressive about Aishwarya's star turn in "Provoked" is the manner in which she not only holds her own against Miranda Richardson, who plays a cellmate with whom Kiran develops a deep emotional bonding, but also manages to provide a perfect foil to a wonderfully nuanced performance from an actress of uncommon substance.
Thanks to the strong impression that "Provoked" has made in Cannes, Mundhra has already succeeded in closing deals for distribution of the film in several international territories.
He expects the India release of "Provoked" to happen some time in September this year. "I want the film to open simultaneously in India, Britain, Pakistan and the Gulf," said Mundhra.
While the metropolitan areas of India will get to see the original English-language version of "Provoked", a move is afoot to release dubbed Hindi versions of the film in the smaller towns.
That would be in order: On the face of it, "Provoked" has undoubted commercial potential. The script is taut, acting is uniformly good and emotional quotient is consistently high. In short, "Provoked" has the perfect recipe for box office success in India.
Flying from London to Chennai for Ash
Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, May 20 We have heard of the mountain coming to Mohammed. But ever heard of a film being flown down to an actor - in this case Aishwarya Rai - because she is too busy to attend the screening?
That's precisely what J. Murli Manohar, the enterprising producer of "Provoked", did.
"I took my film to Chennai where Ash was shooting for Mani Rathnam. It was very important for her to see the film because she had to represent it along with me at Cannes," Manohar told IANS.
It is worth mentioning that Aishwarya couldn't watch Paul Berges' "The Mistress Of Spices" because of her work schedule and was therefore in no position to promote the film.
It is debatable whether "Mistress..." would've been less disastrous if its leading lady had helped in its marketing.
The fact, however, remains that Berges and his wife Gurinder Chaddha gave innumerable interviews in the Western and Indian press. Everywhere they were asked why the leading lady was missing.
The makers of "Provoked" certainly didn't want an instant replay of the "Mistress..." scenario.
"I am very clear about the fact that Ash is the soul of 'Provoked'. There is no film without her. I'll ensure her participation," said Manohar.
Manohar, who is also in India to finalise another film with Sammir Dattani in the lead, is unperturbed by the cynicism.
"My director Jagmohan Mundhra and I are very confident about 'Provoked'. We don't think Ash's international career has suffered a debacle because of 'Mistress Of Spices'.
"Everyone who has seen 'Provoked' so far feels it's her best performance to date. We are confident this will be her real international launch."
Interestingly, director Karan Johar and his leading lady Preity Zinta are in Cannes with their film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", though the film's other leading lady Rani Mukerji couldn't accompany them due to family commitments.
'Mistress Of Spices' is bland fare
Film: "Mistress of Spices"; Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Dylan McDermott, Anupam Kher, Padma Laxmi; Director: Paul Mayeda Berges; Ratings: *1/2
There is nothing much to write home about when it comes to "Mistress Of Spices". Paul Mayeda Berges' much hyped film leaves a bland taste in the mouth. It is like a good recipe badly cooked and clumsily served to a populace looking for an exotic and sumptuous meal.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's novel could have been translated into something as engrossing and intriguing as Lasse Hallstrom's "Chocolat" by sprinkling some imagination and creativity into it. However, both Berges and his wife Gurinder Chadha, who has co-scripted the film, fail to turn it into delectable fair.
One wonders why directors choose Aishwarya Rai who can't act to save her life. "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" and "Devdas" are just a few exceptions and there the credit went to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Berges' directorial debut hinged on Aishwarya who fails to charm the audience with her magical 'spice' powers and the film crumbles.
Unlike Juliette Binoche-Johnny Depp, who scorched the screen with their free flowing passion in "Chocolat", Aishwarya-McDermott's on screen chemistry is insipid. She is as cold as ever and McDermott looks out of sync in the Asian love story.
Another detrimental factor is that it moves at a sluggish pace and it's a pain to watch Aishwarya's expressionless face in practically every frame. She is not able to emote the agony of a woman trapped between traditional values and forbidden passion.
The film is about an orphaned girl, Tilo (Aishwarya Rai), who runs a store of Indian spices in the US. She has been taught to understand the language of spices and uses her skill to solve the problems of her customers.
But her powers can work as long as she obeys certain rules laid down by her mentor (Zohra Sehgal) - she is not allowed to succumb to her physical desires. Alas, Tilo falls in love and hell breaks on her.
Anupam Kher, Chadha's all time favourite, who plays one of Tilo's customer, is completely wasted in the film and so is Shaheen Khan. They were seen together as Parminder Nagra's parents in "Bend It Like Beckham".
Padma Laxmi doesn't fit the bill as Kher's granddaughter and the sequence where Anupam and Padma argue is a turnoff.
It seems Berges was more interested in capturing Aiswharya's ethereal beauty than the script or anything else. Aishwarya looks stunning throughout the movie, especially when she dresses up in a red sari to seduce McDermott.
"Mistress Of Spices" is a mess and it can be summed up as disappointing and avoidable fair.
Aishwarya's role in 'Mistress...' is one of her finest: Berges (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 30 Filmmaker Paul Berges feels Aishwarya Rai's performance in his "Mistress of Spices" is one of her finest and the film will do well in India.
Berges, husband of British director Gurinder Chadha, said: "In 'Mistress...' Ash gives a very understated performance which is unlike anything I've ever seen her do. I think it's one of her finest roles and people who have been seeing the film agree."
"Mistress...", after its release in Britain and India, would be released internationally, he said.
"It has its own unique style which is a fusion of immigrant's tale, sexy romance and magic realist fable. So I hope people get a chance to discover something which is culturally familiar, but stylistically different," Berges told IANS in a chat.
Berges, who has written the script for his wife's "Bend It Like Beckham", said in "Mistress...", which released in India Friday, Aishwarya has great chemistry with Dylan McDermott. "From the moment they started rehearsing I could see that their intensity together would be sizzling on screen," he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What are your release plans?
A: I'm very excited. The responses from audiences have been fantastic at the previews. Entertainment Film released the film nationwide in Britain. They're a great distributor who have released films as diverse as "Lord Of The Rings", "Brokeback Mountain", "Hotel Rwanda". In India the release is through PVR who are really behind the film. We've sold the rights in the US to the Weinstein Company so it'll be nice to work again with Harvey Weinstein. After Britain and India the film will branch out internationally and I'm thrilled that we've sold the film all over the world.
"Mistress ..." is a more intimate, sensual film than our previous comedies. It has its own unique style that is a fusion of immigrant's tale, sexy romance, and magic realist fable. So I hope people get a chance to discover something which is culturally familiar, but stylistically different.
Q: Ash will soon be seen in yet another Indian role in an international film "Provoked". Does that film look tempting to you?
A: I haven't seen "Provoked" yet. But I know about the real-life case in England it's based on. I think it's great that Ash is interested in taking on challenging roles which will inspire her to present different sides of herself as an actress. I'm biased as the director, but in "Mistress.." Ash gives a very understated performance which is unlike anything I've ever seen her do. I think it's one of her finest roles and people who have been seeing the film agree.
Q: After "Bride & Prejudice" do you think your film will build on Ash's reputation as an international star?
A: I hope that Ash and other actors in India get to make smart, entertaining films in India and also get to do different films internationally because it can only give them richer experiences to draw from as actors. When we showed "Mistress.. ." at the Toronto Film Festival people were saying wow we knew Ash was incredibly stunning, but she can also show depth as an actress if given a juicy role to sink her teeth in.
Internationally many people appreciated Ash in "Bride & Prejudice" but because it was a musical which blended Hindi film and Hollywood traditions it was an unfamiliar film language for many non-Indians. They could look at Ash and see her as someone outside their experience. In "Mistress..." because it's set in a very diverse San Francisco and her performance is understated, it shows a different side to what she can do. Also I think Ash has great chemistry with Dylan McDermott, who is hugely popular in the States from his TV show "The Practice". From the moment they started rehearsing I could see that their intensity together would be sizzling on screen.
Q: Tell me a bit about the rest of the "Mistress..." cast.
A: It's always great to work with a truly international cast because each actor brings their own experiences to the film and it feeds all the other actors. In "Mistress...", Nitin Ganatra - who was Mr. Kohli in "Bride & Prejudice" - plays a Kashmiri cab driver. Anupam Kher plays a Bengali grandfather who fears he's losing his granddaughter, Padma Lakshmi, to America. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays an African American martial arts teacher looking for love (he will next be seen in the new series of "Lost"). Zohra Seghal, who's 94 years old and still as energetic and cheeky as ever, plays the First Mother who teaches the young girls about the spices. Ayesha Dharker, whom I always loved in Santosh Sivan's "Terrorist" (one of my favourite films), plays a young newcomer to the Bay Area.
It really was a dream cast to work with. We had a blast when we were all shooting on the Isle of Man because at night we would all go to the only nightclub on the island and take over the dance floor. The local DJ only had one bhangra track to play so he would keep playing it all night long. Ash had a great laugh dancing with everyone. She didn't want to leave the dance floor! I also sang "Mere Sapano Ki Rani" to her and the crew which she thought was hilarious!
Ash said the film was beautiful, magical and made her smile. Also Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the novelist, said some lovely things about the film at the Toronto Film Festival.
Q: What are you making next? Have you and Gurinder worked out a mutually time-effective scheme for filmmaking?
A: Gurinder and I are always writing new scripts - sometimes together, sometimes with other writers. There are just too many stories that we're excited about telling - some set in Britain in the spirit of "Bend It Like Beckham", some in India and others in Hollywood. I'm deciding now what I want to direct next while Gurinder is readying "Dallas".
Q: Are you aware that you would be accused of selling Indian exotica to the West?
A: That's not the case at all. "Mistress..." is about keeping traditions alive and the way that cultures influence each other. India's relationship with the rest of the world has moved far beyond exotica and I truly hope that people stop thinking in such terms. The films that Gurinder and I have made always view culture in terms of possibilities, never as exotica or as a problem. That's one of the things that drew me to "Mistress..". The film is essentially saying that we all have traditions that we value and we all have very similar desires. If we remember how similar we actually are then we'll never see someone as 'exotic' or 'other' again.
Q: So how exotic is "Mistress..."?
A: I hate the word 'exotic'. I wanted the film to be sensual, soulful and romantic, never exotic. Because it's a fable it has a very different look that Santosh Sivan, the masterful cinematographer, and I spent a lot of time creating. We wanted to bring the spices alive as characters because in the film spices represent tradition.
Q: Final trivial question... your film is about the aroma and spice of life. How spicy is your life? Do you cook? Do you like Indian food?
A: I feel very lucky because my life is extremely spicy! One of the reasons I love being able to make films in Britain, India and the States is because I get to eat all of my favourite foods in each country. I dream about eating pau bhaji in Mumbai when I'm away! I'm not a great cook but I'm an enthusiastic learner and helper. Fortunately Gurinder is a great chef and my saas (Gurinder's mum) is the true mistress of spices. Her cooking is adored by family members and friends all over the world and I especially love her aloo varian and aloo gobi.
For "The Mistress Of Spices", Gurinder and her mum made all the pickles in the spice store so every time I see a big jar of achar in the film it makes me smile.
I'm fine now: Aishwarya Rai
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 28 The humour is intact and Aishwarya Rai is very much back in action after injuring herself while rehearsing for the film "Guru".
"The saga isn't exactly the way it's made out to be," Ash says and laughs a little feebly about the accident that occurred Friday in Badami in Karnataka.
"But since I was filming in Badami where communication is low, the injury did become an event," Ash told IANS.
She narrates what happened. "It was after pack-up, and I was still in my ghagra-choli costume. I was riding around on a vintage wobbly bicycle in the hotel's uneven grounds for practice. I guess I was doing a bend when I encountered an unfriendly khadda (pothole), which was looking for action. I braked. But not in time.
"It all happened in seconds. Before I could get off, the cycle tipped over to the right and fell. In the process my right hand got injured. I guess it was an accident waiting to happen. It took the hotel guys forever to extricate me. The metal protrusion was like a knife. It made three deep gashes in my finger."
She laughs. "You know me. I didn't make much of it. But people around told me to stop. And told me to go to my room. The fingers bled a lot. And the visual was bloody. Hence the gory saga in parts of the media, I guess."
Ash gives the locals full marks for hospitality.
"Such sweet people, eager to help, both the civilians and docs made me forget my pain. But you've to give me credit for being brave. I had to take a tetanus shot and the wounds have to be dressed. They (the wounds) are now a character in 'Guru'."
This is Aishwarya's second injury and a far less serious one. She had been badly injured on the sets of Raj Kumar Santoshi's "Khakee" two years ago.
"I guess someone somewhere really likes me. I'm back to work. It's the love, care and concern of the people that did the healing so fast. It was overwhelming. I want to thank all my well wishers."
Aishwarya's 'Mistress of Spices' bombs in UK
London, April 26 Nasty reviews and poor collections have marked the British release of "Mistress of Spices", Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai's latest international film.
"Is there a wishier, washier, wimpier actor anywhere in the known universe?" asks Peter Bradshaw, the well-known critic of The Guardian, referring to Aishwarya, after the film opened to a lukewarm response in the largely Indian areas of Britain.
The $3 million film, co-scripted by Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham" and "Bride and Prejudice") and her husband Paul Mayeda Berges, opened on 30 screens across the country and grossed a mere $150,000 over the weekend, according to reports.
Based on an eponymous book by India-born, US-based author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the film has Aishwarya playing, in Bradshaw's words, "a mystical proprietress of a spice store in San Francisco, sorting out customers' emotional problems with her sensuous wares".
"Ooooooh! Sort of like Juliette Binoche in 'Chocolat', only more annoying, if that's possible, which sadly it is. She gets it on with a hunky customer (Dylan McDermott) for one coyly photographed night of passion: her very first, we can only assume. Whatever else has changed afterwards, her lip-gloss is shimmeringly intact," wrote Bradshaw.
The film was also panned by on variety.com by critic Derek Elley, who called it "beautiful but lifeless, poetic but un-elevated" and said it was "a brave but flawed attempt at that most unforgiving of contemporary genres, magical realism".
"There's beauty here but no real sensuality," he wrote. "And on a human level, not much screen chemistry between Rai and McDermott, each of whom parade their physical wares but fail to connect."
BBC Online was marginally charitable. It's critic, Jaspeet Pandohar, wrote: "Despite its colourful eastern palette and amiable performances from Bollywood starlet Aishwarya Rai and American hunk Dylan McDermott, the drama is as bland as a cucumber sandwich."
"Ultimately it's the poor choice of subject material that fails to impress, rather than the lifeless direction," he added.
The film is scheduled to release in India April 28.
I want to do Will Smith's film: Aishwarya
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 25 Aishwarya Rai is very keen on working with Will Smith and says efforts are on to resolve date issues to accommodate the Hollywood actor as well as director Ashutosh Gowarikar.
"I really do want to do the film with Will. When we met we really hit it off. And the subject that he has in mind does sound very interesting for me as an actor and as someone who wants to be part of films that create a global impact," Aishwarya told IANS.
"Unfortunately, Will wants to make the film during the time when I'll be shooting for Ashutosh Gowarikar's 'Jodhaa-Akbar'. But I am keen to do Will's film."
Smith offered her a role in his next film while he was in India in February.
Isn't she stretching her schedules a little too far and isn't the effort taking its toll on her? Aishwarya seems to have lost a lot of weight.
"Not at all! I don't know why people keep saying that. In fact, I haven't lost weight at all since I trained for 'Dhoom 2'. After that I have had no time to do anything to look after myself."
After shooting in Rio de Janeiro for "Dhoom 2" and dancing like a dream at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Aishwarya is back in India. But it has definitely left her exhausted and almost speechless.
"I could barely speak. The doctors diagnosed it as laryngitis. Though my voice took some time to get normal, I had only a few days off before I proceeded to Lucknow for 'Umrao Jaan'. So no time to recover as such," she said.
Has laryngitis become fashionable after Karan Johar got it?
Aishwarya laughed and said: "I was joking about it with him. But I must say I was left speechless by the kind of warmth I was given at Melbourne. It was way beyond my expectations.
"Over there 'Bride & Prejudice' is still being talked about. It feels good when one's efforts are rewarded."
Right before Melbourne, Aishwarya was shooting with Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan in Rio de Janeiro for "Dhoom 2".
"We had ourselves a ball. It was great fun to be in a unit where work was being done with as little stress as possible."
Incidentally, Priyanka Chopra has the same trainer - Deepika Mehta - for "Don" that Aishwarya had for "Dhoom 2".
Aishwarya starrer to enchant Pakistani audiences
Islamabad, April 23 Pakistani movie-goers are in for a treat as the British Council plans to screen the Aishwarya Rai-starrer "Bride and Prejudice".
The Council is planning to bring in Gurinder Chadha's Anglo-Asian, Jane Austen-inspired film blockbuster to the country, the Daily Times said.
"We are still in the middle of our negotiations," said Naheed Malik, communications manager for the British Council in Karachi, adding that the council was prompted by the recent change in the attitude of the Pakistan government to allow Indian movies and joint productions in the country.
Malik said another reason "Bride and Prejudice" was selected was because it was a joint Indo-British production.
"The movie will be opened to the general public and not only to members of the British Council," informed Malik.
This move is considered important, as it would be the first time that a recent Indian movie will be shown in Pakistan. So far, only classics have been shown. Cinema owners have also started revamping their theatres to attract more business.
The newspaper said that the British Council's involvement in the distribution and exhibition of an Indian-influenced movie could help the exhibitor's cause as well. They have been asking the government to either grant them rights to screen Indian movies or eradicate piracy altogether.
'I was sceptical about Aishwarya playing Mistress Of Spices'
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 22 Paul Mayeda Berges, husband of director Gurinder Chadha, admits he was initially sceptical about Aishwarya Rai playing the main lead - Tilo - in his directorial debut "Mistress Of Spices".
"At first I was sceptical. But when she (Aishwarya) read the part I was amazed at how she responded. She jumped right into the character and embraced it," Berges said.
The debutant director is also dismissive of rumours that his wife ghost-directed the film. "I'd never try to underplay the fact I have learnt a great deal from Gurinder and that I respect her tremendously as a director," Berges told IANS.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: "Mistress Of Spices" is a very Indian story. How Indian are you?
A: I very much feel like a citizen of the world. I am very close to Gurinder and her family, so a part of me feels Punjabi. The world is such a small place. I feel as Japanese as I feel Indian. That multi-culturalism comes across in all our films.
"Mistress Of Spices" is set almost entirely in San Francisco. That's a city where I have spent a lot of my years. For Gurinder and me, embracing a multiplicity of cultures is very natural. I don't get alarmed by it, only excited.
Q: You must have butterflies in your stomach?
A: I really am excited. We are premiering "Mistress..." at the Toronto Film Festival in September. I had loads of fun making it. Even though it was a difficult subject, I never felt the burden because I worked with people like my wife. You must remember Gurinder and I wrote many of her films together.
Q: Did your writing collaboration with Gurinder train you for direction?
A: Oh absolutely! I learnt a lot during all the films that we wrote. I always used to supervise the second unit of Gurinder's films. That was such an education.
I don't feel I made "Mistress..." separately from her. We wrote the script together. We both read the book nine years ago and fell in love with it. It is a very sensuous tale.
Q: Have you made the film in close collaboration with the author Chitra Divakaruni?
A: She is a wonderful writer. We wrote the first part of the script in her house in San Francisco bay. Our film is very faithful to the novel. Obviously, you have to condense things. But since we liked the novel so much, we tried to stick very close to it.
Q: Was Aishwarya your first choice?
A: I am not just saying this, but she has done a tremendous job. When we were making "Bride & Prejudice" with her, we enjoyed working with her so much that we began wondering how she'd look playing Tilo. At first I was sceptical. But when she read the part, I was amazed at how she responded.
To her credit, from day one she had a strong sense of who Tilo was. She jumped right into the character and embraced it. I think she shows a very different side to her talent and beauty in "Mistress Of Spices". I am very proud of her.
Q: Do you think your film and Jagmohan Mundra's "Provoked" will get her recognition abroad beyond "Bride & Prejudice"?
A: I think she is growing all the time. She has lots of sides to her. With every character, she is showing new colours. With "Bride & Prejudice" she got recognised in countries where Hindi cinema isn't seen so much. But because the language of "Bride..." tried to combine the Bollywood musical with international style, it was partially a Bollywood experience.
What "Mistress..." should do is to introduce Aishwarya to an even wider audience. This is a very universal, magical story.
Q: How have you put the novel's enigma on screen?
A: We have tried to retain the magic surrealism. Our cinematographer Santosh Sivan is an absolute magician. We had a lot of fun planning the look and feel for the film. We wanted the flavours of the spices to leap off the screen.
I desisted from putting in lots of special effects. That would only distract from the film. Santosh helped me to make the film magical without resorting to gimmicks. To bring Tilo's world of spices alive, we had to work on the magic without losing out on realism.
Q: What next?
A: I'm too taken up with "Mistress..." to think about anything. I just want to bring this one out and then decide. But yes, Gurinder and I may work separately, too. She is working on some projects in Los Angeles on her own. I think that is great. We do have a strong connection when we write together. And we'll always do that as well.
Q: Some cynics would say she ghost-directed "Mistress Of Spices"?
A: I am not worried about that. We always work so closely together. We wrote "Mistress..." together and she is the film's producer. Her energy level is always a big help on the sets. She is warm and alive.
I'd never try to underplay the fact I have learnt a great deal from Gurinder and that I respect her tremendously as a director. You never know where the contribution of one crewmember ends and the other's begins. I love working with Santosh, Ash and Gurinder. The last film we made had a big impact.
Q: How do you think diehard Bollywood addicts would react to "Mistress Of Spices"?
A: They'd love it, though it doesn't have songs. These days a lot of song-less films are being made in India. I am dying to see "Black". The more genres there are, the healthier it is for the entire industry.
Aishwarya shaken and stirred in shooting mishap (SECONDLEAD)
Indo-Asian News Service
Bangalore, April 21 (IANS) Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai fell off a bicycle during the shooting of a film in north Karnataka Friday that left her with minor bruises and a bandaged hand.
While rehearsing for a scene in Bagalkote district for Maniratnam's historical opus "Guru", the actress's skirt got entangled in the bicycle's chain, overturning her into a 'no parking' signboard.
"Rai suffered a minor injury on her right hand," Bagalkote superintendent of police B.A. Padmanayana told IANS on phone.
Aishwarya was rushed to a local hospital in town, about 500 km from here, for treatment and was discharged within an hour with her right hand bandaged. She was also advised a day's rest.
The film is set against the backdrop of the first war of Indian independence (1857), with a song and dance sequence and wedding scenes at cave temples Badami and Halakatti bungalow.
According to local media reports, the crew had been camping at Badami since Tuesday for shooting a portion of the film, which also stars Abhishek Bachchan.
"The shooting and rehearsals, which were suspended for the day, will resume Saturday. The crew is expected to stay put in the district town for over a week to complete the remaining shooting, which also involves a song and dance scene on a moving train," the reports said.
Aishwarya injured on sets of 'Guru'
Bangalore, April 21 Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai hurt herself Friday while shooting for Mani Ratnam's "Guru" in Badami, Karnataka, and got a few bruises on her hands and feet.
She was taken to her hotel room and given first aid, media reports said.
The incident occurred when Aishwarya had to ride a bicycle for a particular scene. While practising for it, the actress's ghaghra (skirt) got entangled in the cycle chain and she lost her balance, smashing into a "No Parking" board. Her co-star in the film is Abhishek Bachchan.
Shooting for the film has been put on hold.
A few years ago, Aishwarya had hurt herself while shooting for "Khakee".
Aishwarya to act with Will Smith
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 17 Bollywood's star actress Aishwarya Rai, who hit it off with Hollywood's Will Smith on his India trip, will soon be his co-star as well.
On a weeklong visit to India in February, Smith met many Bollywood biggies, including Aishwarya, and hit it off famously with her.
At the end of an hour-long meeting between them, Smith's business manager James Lassiter offered Aishwarya a lead role opposite him in a film to be produced later this year.
Aishwarya, who was originally scheduled to be Smith's co-star in last year's comedy "Hitch" before the deal fell through, will finally be his heroine!
An eyewitness to the Smith-Aishwarya meeting told IANS: "To say they hit it off instantly is an understatement. It was clear from the start of their meeting that Ash and Will were going to be buddies.
"The sound of their combined laughter could be heard all the way to the ground floor. After a point it stopped looking like two internationally known actors and colleagues were meeting up.
"Ash and Will were like two buddies cracking up at their jokes.
"When Will's business manager offered Ash a role she was all for it, more so when she heard the storyline. Ash really likes the sound of the project," the eyewitness said.
Aishwarya also gifted a beautiful sari to Smith's wife Jada Pinkett, who couldn't accompany him to India because she was playing with her music band in the US.
"It was a lovely gesture and Will seemed so touched," said the eyewitness.
The project with Smith will be Aishwarya's next international project after Jagmohan Mundra's ready-for-release "Provoked" and Doug Lefler's "The Lost Legion".