a quality difficult to define. More often than not when your mind is
searching for that right word to describe an indefinable quality about
someone, 'charisma' is what your brain comes up with. Everyone who has
Rai-Bachchan vouches for her charismatic presence.
But that is not all that makes the model-turned-actress a diva. It's a
lot more. After the delivery of her daughter, Aaradhya
seven months ago (November 16), she has received a lot of negative
publicity for failing to lose her post-pregnancy weight as is apparently
"required" of a public figure. Any other top-notch actress, known for
her beauty and petite form, would've been affected by the hullabaloo,
may have even decided to drop out of a brand appearance at the Cannes
Film Festival, with internet and news pages full of nasty stories about
her weight gain. But not Ash.
The French Riviera, where narrow
waistlines and designer outfits compete to make the statement of the
year, there was this delighted mother and proud woman who posed for the
shutterbugs with her usual aplomb in a fitted gown, flashing her
1,000-watt smile that screamed to all her detractors: "Go to hell".
Says director Sanjay
about one of his favourite actresses, "Aishwarya's
biggest strength is that she is headstrong, but in a beautiful demure
way, a combination very few are blessed with." Bhansali is known to be a
perfectionist, someone who doesn't let any actor deliver short of the
character he has created in his mind. It cannot be just co-incidence
that he keeps on zeroing in on Ash to portray some of his best female
protagonists, be it Nandini of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam,
Paro of Devdas,
or Sofia D'Souza of the more recent Guzaarish.
It has been almost two decades since she won the Femina Miss India
crown, followed by the Miss World title. But little has changed over the
years when it comes to her ethereal beauty, dazzling
smile and her determination to be known as one of the best actresses in
A leading designer says, "The first thing that
strikes someone about Aishwarya is her breath-taking physical beauty.
She truly is heart-stoppingly gorgeous. But physical beauty is only a
facet of divadom. To be a true goddess, one must possess something truly
unique — a quality that remains indefinable but consists of allure,
attitude, and above all, ownership. You must own the space you occupy."
Ash does that in every possible way. A few years ago when she was
asked about possibly taking up the role of a superwoman, she had said:
"Why in future? I am already a superwoman in real life. Ask any married
woman and she will agree to my answer."
Today, after the birth
of her daughter, she has taken detractors head-on and shown them that no
amount of criticism can put her down. From donning designerwear to
displaying a wider waist, she does not back off, or try to live up to
someone else's idea of a woman.
, who has known Ash since her beauty pageant days, explains,
"Ash never gives up. She will always push the envelope, whether it's a
photoshoot, a role in a film or real life. She has achieved so much, but
she is never complacent or arrogant. In fact, she's as friendly as she
was at the beginning of her career."
But don't confuse
demureness with weakness. Aishwarya's strength lies in her steely
resolve and silent determination, which people who know her talk about.
Bhansali swears by her calmness, but also admires her strong headedness
that makes her demand more out of her characters. She believes dignity
lies in silence, and just when you think you've cornered her with
bullying, she pulls out a masterstroke. The mark of a true diva.TimesOfIndia