Born into a traditional South Indian family Aishwarya Rai popularly called as ‘Ash’ is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. She started modeling at a very young age and appeared in a number of commercials but it was the Pepsi ad with Mahima Choudhary that really brought her into the limelight. In 1994 she was the runner-up to the Miss India contest and became a strong contender for the Miss World crown which she won.
Ash stormed into the Indian movie industry, where she has proven herself a brilliant & genuine actress. Her performance in “Iruvar” (1997) was critically acclaimed. She made her Bollywood debut with Rahul Rawail’s “Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya” (1997). Though the film was not commercially successful it won her the “Screen best female debutant award”. The South Indian movie “Jeans” was her first commercially successful film.
The year 1999 saw a steep rise in the career graph of Ash with her blockbuster hits “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Taal”. Her performances in both the films were highly applauded and she won the “Filmfare Best Actress Award” for the former. These films answered the questions raised by critics on her acting talents and proved that she was not just looks and charms but a rare talent that could deliver emotions, dialogues and dance with great élan.
Between 2000 and 2001 she starred in a number of films like Josh, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Albela, Mohabbatein etc. and starred next to major actors like Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Govinda etc. In 2002 she landed a role in the lavishly produced “Devdas” next to Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The film was a major box-office hit. It won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award and also received international acclaim. The film was screened at the Cannes film festival. It was during that time that Ash signed a few Hollywood projects as well.
After that Rai stormed the international stage and claimed world wide recognition by being a regular at the Cannes film festival. She was a member of the jury in 2003. She was chosen as one of the World's "100 Most Influential People" by the Time magazine in 2004. She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on January 2. A month later she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. She was also featured on Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment.
Ash’s first foreign film was “Pride and Prejudice” which was followed by the “Mistress of Spices” which though was not commercially successful earned the critics respects.
At the end of 2006 she starred in “Dhoom 2 “ which again brought her back to attention. She starred next to Hritik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan who became her husband in April 2007.
Aishwarya Bachchan’s forthcoming releases include Jodha-Akbar, Sarkar 2 (in which she would be starring next to her husband), Raaste and Happy Birthday. She also has a long lineup of her Hollywood releases including movies like The Rebel, Chaos and Singularity in which she is starring with “The Mummy” fame Brandon Fraiser. Looks like the future is bright for the “Queen of Bollywood”.
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