Meet Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai

From Wikipedia
Aishwarya Rai
 

Born1 November 1973 (age 45)

ResidenceMumbaiMaharashtra, India
NationalityIndian
Alma materUniversity of Mumbai
OccupationActress, model
Years active1994–present
TitleMiss World 1994
Spouse(s)
Abhishek Bachchan (m. 2007)
Children1
AwardsFull list
Honours
Signature
Signature of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.svg

Aishwarya Rai (born 1 November 1973), also known by her married name Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is an Indian actress, model and the winner of the Miss World 1994 pageant. Through her successful acting career, she has established herself as one of the most popular and influential celebrities in India.[1][2] Rai has received numerous accolades, including two Filmfare Awards from eleven nominations, and she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009 and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France in 2012. She has often been cited in the media as “the most beautiful woman in the world”.[3][4]

While in college, Rai did a few modelling jobs. Following appearances in several television commercials, she entered the Miss India pageant, in which she placed second. She was then crowned Miss World 1994, after which she began receiving offers to act in film. She made her acting debut in Mani Ratnam‘s 1997 Tamil film Iruvar and had her first Hindi film release in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya that same year. Her first commercial success was the Tamil romantic drama Jeans(1998), following which she achieved wider success and won two Best Actress awards at Filmfare for her performances in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002).

Rai garnered critical appreciation for portraying a passionate artist in the Tamil romance Kandukondain Kandukondain(2000), Tagore‘s heroine, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a depressed woman in the drama Raincoat(2004), Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British drama film Provoked (2006), and a nurse in the drama Guzaarish (2010). Rai’s greatest commercial successes have been the romance Mohabbatein (2000), the adventure film Dhoom 2 (2006), the historical romance Jodhaa Akbar (2008), the science fiction film Enthiran (2010), and the romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016).

Rai married actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007 with whom she has one daughter. Her off-screen roles include duties as a brand ambassador for several charity organisations and campaigns. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2003, she was the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.[5]

Rai at an event for L’Oréal in 2015

Rai made her first commercial for Camlin exam pencils when she was in the 9th grade. Rai became popular after appearing in a Pepsi commercial with actor Aamir Khan.[15] She is the only actress who endorsed both Pepsi and Coca-Cola.[143] She is one of the top brand ambassadors in the country and is one of the top paid Bollywood actresses in this respect.[144] She modelled for Titan Watches,[145] Longines watchesL’OréalCoca-Cola,[146] Lakmé CosmeticsCasio pagerPhilipsPalmolive,[147] LuxFuji films,[148] Nakshatra Diamond Jewellery,[149] and Kalyan Jewellers.[150] She was named the official brand ambassador for De Beers diamonds in India.[148] Rai has been ranked the 2nd most popular watch brand ambassador worldwide in a survey, conducted by World Watch Report.[151] In 2013 Rai and her husband Abhishek Bachchan have been roped in as the brand ambassadors by the TTK Group.[152]

Social and humanitarian work

In 1999 Rai participated in a world tour called the Magnificent Five, along with Aamir KhanRani MukerjiAkshaye Khanna and Twinkle Khanna.[153] In the same year, she was appointed as Longines Ambassador of Elegance.[154] In 2003, she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.[155] In the same year she became a global brand ambassador of L’Oréal, alongside Andie MacDowellEva Longoria and Penélope Cruz.[156][157] Rai is the brand ambassador for The Eye Bank Association of India’s nationwide campaign to promote eye donation in India.[158] In 2005, she became a brand ambassador for Pulse Polio, a campaign established by the Government of India in 1994 to eradicate polio in India.[159] In the same year, Rai was appointed spokesperson for the International Year of Microcredit, raising awareness of the main goals and priorities of the United Nations’ poverty alleviation efforts.[160]

In February 2005 Rai performed with other Bollywood stars at the HELP! Telethon Concert, an event to raise money for the victims of the 2004 tsunami earthquake.[161] Along with other members of the Bachchan family, she laid the foundation of a special school for underprivileged girls in Daulatpur village in Uttar Pradesh in 2008. Construction is being funded by the Bachchan family and the school will be named after Rai.[162] She appeared along with various other Bollywood actors at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The performance showcased Indian culture as a lead-up to India hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games.[163]

Rai is a UN Microcredit Spokesperson.[164] She supports PETA India.[165] She pledged to donate her eyes to the Eye Bank Association of India and appeared in a public awareness film on eye donation.[166] In November 2004, Rai created the Aishwarya Rai Foundation to help needy people in India.[167] In 2009 Rai was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador of Smile Train, an international charity that provides free Cleft lip and palate surgery to children in need. Her work with Smile Train will focus not only on India, but on 76 different developing countries around the world.[168][169] In September 2012, Rai had joined United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and renowned Hollywood actor Michael Douglas at a ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace in New York.[170] Later that week, she was appointed as the new international Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, the joint United Nations programme on AIDS and HIV. She will raise global awareness on protecting children from HIV infection and increasing access to antiretroviral treatment.[171]

Stage performances

Rai performing at the 17th Annual Star Screen Awards (2011)

Rai has taken part in several stage shows and world tours since 2001. Her first world tour, a series of concerts called Craze 2001, was performed across the US alongside Anil KapoorAamir KhanPreity Zinta and Gracy Singh. The show faced early cancellation due to the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the team prepared to return to India as soon as possible. However, the shows continued successfully in Canada.[172]

In 2002, she participated in the show From India With Love in the UK, along with Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. It took place at two outdoor venues, Manchester‘s Old Trafford and London’s Hyde Park, with over 100,000 spectators.[173]

Between July to August 2008, Rai, her husband Abhishek Bachchan, her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, and actors Preity ZintaRitesh Deshmukh and Madhuri Dixit starred in the “Unforgettable World Tour” stage production. The first leg covered the US, Canada, Trinidad, and London, England. Rai is also involved in the functional and administrative operations of her father-in-law’s company, originally known as ABCL, and rechristened as AB Corp. Ltd. That company, along with Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., developed the Unforgettable production.[174][175]

Personal life

Rai with husband Abhishek Bachchan in 2010

Though they both appeared in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke (in which her then longtime boyfriend, Salman Khan, had a brief cameo) and Kuch Naa Kaho, Abhishek Bachchan fell in love with Rai whilst filming Dhoom 2.[177] Their engagement was announced on 14 January 2007 and later confirmed by his father, Amitabh Bachchan.[178] The couple married on 20 April 2007 according to traditional Hindu rites of the Bunt community, to which she belongs.[179] Token North Indian and Bengali ceremonies were also performed. The wedding took place in a private ceremony at the Bachchan residence, “Prateeksha”, in Juhu, Mumbai.[179]They have been described as a supercouple in the Indian media.[180][181] Rai is very close to her family and lived with them in Bandra, Mumbai, until her marriage.[182][183][184]

Aishwarya Rai, a deeply religious Hindu,[3] making a Namaste gesture.

Rai is Hindu and deeply religious.[3] Her international presence shot up when Abhishek Bachchan accompanied her to the Cannes Film Festival shortly after their marriage, and later to The Oprah Winfrey Show, appearing on 28 September 2009.[185] They were described as being more famous as a couple than Brangelina.[186][187][188]

Rai gave birth to a girl, Aaradhya, on 16 November 2011.[189][190][189] Rai is commonly referred to by fans and the media by the nicknames “Ash” and “Aish”, but has stated that she dislikes being called as such. She has discouraged people from referring to her by names other than “Aishwarya” as she does not want to “spoil [her] good name”.[191]

In the media

Rai in 2014. Her blue/green eyes has been identified as a trademark by the Indian media.

Rai Bachchan is one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities.[40][192][193][194][195] Despite constant media speculation, she keeps her personal life well-guarded.[196] Her physical appearance and performances have made her a style icon for young women.[197] In 2011, India Today noted that there were over 17,000 websites dedicated to her.[198] She was selected by Vervemagazine in its list of the country’s most powerful women.[199] In 2001 Forbes named Rai among the top five Indian movie stars.[2] In a reader poll conducted by UK’s Hello! magazine, she was voted “the most attractive woman of 2003”.[200] In the same year, Rai appeared in Rolling Stone magazine’s annual “Hot List”.[201] In 2004, she was chosen by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people, and appeared on the cover of its 2003 Asia edition.[202][203][204]

Rai is the first Indian actress to be on the jury of the Cannes International Film Festival.[205] In October 2004 a wax figure of Rai was put on display in London’s Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.[206] She was the sixth Indian and the second Bollywood personality—after her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan—to get this honour. In 2007, the same figure was displayed at Madame Tussaud’s Museum in Times Square in New York.[207] As her most distinctive physical features, Rai’s green-blue eyes, luscious lips, curves and feminine mannerisms have been cited by the media as her trademark.[208]

In 2005, she was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January, which said that “at least according to thousands of Web sites, Internet polls and even Julia Roberts”, she was “the world’s most beautiful woman”.[3] The same year, a tulip in the Netherlands was named “Aishwarya Rai” after her.[209] Also in 2005, Mattel released a limited edition of Barbie dolls of Rai in the United Kingdom.[210] The British magazine Maxim ranked Rai first on their list of “Hottest Women of India”.

Rai appeared on such shows as Late Show with David Letterman, and was the first Bollywood personality to appear on Oprah’s “Women Across the Globe” segment. In 2005 Harpers and Queen‘s list of “Most Beautiful Women in The World” ranked her ninth.[211] In May 2006, Rai was featured in People Magazine as one of the “World’s Most Beautiful People”.[212] The UK magazine Eastern Eye ranked her third in the list of “Asia’s Sexiest Women” in 2006,[213] and she was ranked eighth in 2009.[214] In 2008 American television channel E!: Entertainment listed Rai’s eyes as the sexiest on their Sexiest Body Parts list.[215] In 2009, she made appearances on Martha Stewart‘s show Martha and on The Tyra Banks Show.[216] In the same year Forbes listed Rai at 387th out of 1,411 actors on their list of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. She is the highest-ranked Indian actor on the list.[217][218]

In a poll conducted by the newspaper Daily News and Analysis in 2009, she was voted as one of India’s most popular icons.[219] She attended the 83rd Academy Awards, along with her husband, Abhishek.[220] Rai with her husband Abhishek Bachchan appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on 28 September 2009. She is the first Indian celebrity who appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show twice.[185] They have been described as a supercouple in the Indian media.[221]

She ranked 2nd in The Times of Indias 50 most desirable women of 2010,[222] and ranked 9th for 2011.[223] In 2011, she has received a lot of negative publicity for failing to lose her post-pregnancy weight as is apparently “required” of a public figure. However, she silenced her critics by walking the red carpet at the “AmfAR Cinema Against Aids” gala in 2012 Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time.[224] Later that year, Rai has made it to the issue of New York Magazines list of “Forty Women That Women Find Beautiful”, where she grabbed the 21st position in the list, with New York Magazine saying “She may be the “world’s most beautiful woman,” but what we really love is that she never feels fragile onscreen,”.[225] The market research firm YouGov named Rai the world’s eleventh most admired person of 2018.[226] She was considered by the media one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities in India.[227]

Accolades

Rai has received ten Filmfare Award nominations, and has won two Best Actress trophies for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002).[48][143][228][229] In 2009, she was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest Indian civilian award, by the Government of India for her contributions to the arts.[230][231] In 2012, she was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Chevalier), a national order of France.[230]

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