Joined: 25 September 2006
Unfazed by the fate of her films at the box office, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan counts her blessings as she reaps the fruits of years of hard work.
This year, except "Endhiran", "Guzaarish", "Raavan" and "Action Replayy" haven't done too well at the BO. How much does that bother you?
Not at all. I got a great review for each of the films that I worked in, whether it was "Endhiran", "Raavan", "Action Replayy" or "Guzaarish", so for me, it's been a terrific year. Everything that I set out to accomplish when I took on these movies, as an actor, and in terms of the response I was looking for, I have been able to. Because, as an actor with so many years of experience now, you know when you take on a subject what potential the character per se holds. No one can ever preordain the destiny of a film and I say destiny because it's literally that. After so many years, you cannot necessarily say that a great film is a superhit or it's the other way around. I'm happy that the response from critics and audience has been so overwhelming for each of the characters essayed, no matter how different they were from each other.
From the devoted nurse, Sophie, in "Guzaarish" to the quarrelsome Mala in "Action Replayy", how difficult was it shifting gears?
That's your commitment, your craft and, of course, that's the objective that I seek as an actor. When you are starting out and you are asked what sort of an actor you want to be, you say 'versatile' and after years of experience if you get to do that year after year, you regard yourself blessed. I've been doing that for the last couple of years, but this year, as the releases were in such quick succession, it became glaringly obvious to viewers and critics. It's been 1.5-2 years of hard work.
With so much hard work involved, how important is it for you that your film does well at the box-office?
As a team member – I say that because I'm a team player – everybody would want their films to succeed because at the end of the day, you are an industry and it is a business on which the livelihood of many people depends, not ours, by the grace of God, but for many others. We all work for the love of art, but we do recognise it is a full-fledged industry. Hence everybody seeks the obvious commercial success of every venture taken on and if that doesn't happen, then as a team, it feels bad. But the individual fruits that one comes away with it is when it becomes much sweeter. When your effort is recognized, you come away with your reward and try harder the next time.
While working harder, do you intend to do things any differently next year to counter whatever happened this year at the BO?
I've never had such thoughts. It's been a dream journey for any aspiring actor, in terms of the variety of work. I've worked with the best of directors not just once, but a couple of times, got to essay so many characters, break across genres and languages… it's rare and a blessing.
Do you feel lucky that you are a part of Bollywood at this point in time?
I have carved my own journey from the beginning. The potential of different kinds of cinema will have its fruition depending on the way its business is planned. Bearing in mind the business of cinema, it's a great time for creative explosion. But I haven't suddenly changed my mode of work or my search for doing different kind of genres.
It's a star shower on TV… from Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar to Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. What would it take for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to host or judge a reality show?
Time, the mindset, the inclination and a very exciting opportunity. A lot of ideas have been brought to me in the last couple of years… but so far, I haven't had the time, and hence haven't thought about taking on anything. Anything that I take on, I want to be able to participate completely in and commit myself the way I have on every venture.
You always say age is a state of mind and have often cited the example of your father-in-law. Does Bollywood think that way?
I would've talked about him even if I hadn't been family, he's the most glaring example that you can see. Also, I'm not judgmental, and so far, I haven't experienced being judged. On that front, I'm fortunate to have met likeminded professionals and got to do the kind of work I wanted to.
How do you manage your time, between shoots and taking care of your family?
Manage, prioritise and commit to whatever you take on and get on with whatever next you have planned.
How was the experience of shooting in Rome with Kate Winslet and Chi Lin?
Rome is a beautiful city. It was very hot… I had never been there in summer. I was there very briefly to shoot for "Jeans", and to go back there and experience that summer could be so hot was a revelation for all of us. Coming from India, it was embarrassing to say that we have experienced summer. But then again, when you watch the commercial, you don't see that. We were all so committed to what we were doing, that you only see us having a great time.
Besides Longines, what else do you and Kate Winslet have in common?
Not only Kate, even Chi Lin. When we worked together, we realised that the way we work, the way we are as women, our thoughts, outlook to life, the work that we do, are very similar. We are very basic people, who have a mix of the old world and are the women of today. We all have deep-rooted values, cultural understanding and are committed to our craft.
– The Times of India
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