Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai (born 1 November 1973), also known as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is an Indian film actress and model. She won the Miss India and Miss World pageants of 1994, and has acted in over 40 films in different genres. She is a leading contemporary actress of Indian cinema and has received two Filmfare Awards, two Screen Awards, and two IIFA Awards for her performances in Hindi films of Bollywood. Rai is regarded as one of the most popular and influential celebrities in India and is often cited in the media as the "most beautiful woman in the world".
Rai made her acting debut in the 1997 biographical film Iruvar and starred in the commercially successful 1998 film Jeans. In 1999, She received wide public recognition and several awards in the "Best Actress" category for her leading roles in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's melodrama Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Subhash Ghai's musical romance Taal; both films earned her a Filmfare Best Actress nomination with the former fetching her the award.

Rai received her second Best Actress (Filmfare Award) for her role as "Parvati" in Bhansali's 2002 period film Devdas which brought her international acclaim. She gained critical appreciation for her portrayal of Tagore's heroine Binodini in Rituparno Ghosh's 2003 film Chokher Bali, and a depressed woman in Ghosh's 2004 relationship drama Raincoat. Following a series of commercially unsuccessful films, Rai featured in the 2006 blockbuster adventure film Dhoom 2, the 2008 historical romance Jodhaa Akbar, and the 2010 science fiction film Enthiran. She garnered wide critical acclaim for her work in Bhansali's 2010 romantic drama Guzaarish.

Following a tumultuous relationship with actor Salman Khan, Rai married actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007. 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 HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). She was awarded 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 made some inroads internationally, but all of her Hollywood films proved to be disappointing at the box office.

Rai was born in Mangalore, Karnataka to a family belonging to the Bunt community of Tulu Nadu. Her father, Krishnaraj Rai, is a marine biologist, while her mother, Brindya Rai, is a writer. Her elder brother, Aditya Rai, is an engineer with the merchant navy and the producer of the Hindi film Dil Ka Rishta (2003, starring Rai). Born to a conservative household, she was raised as a Hindu, a religion she continues to practice.

Rai's parents were settled for work in Mumbai, where she did her schooling from Arya Vidya Mandir Secondary School. While in the ninth grade, she appeared in her first modelling assignment for Camlin Pencils. After graduating from secondary school, Rai attended Jai Hind College for a year, and later passed high school from DG Ruparel College. While at Jai Hind, photographs taken by her English professor (an amateur photographer) were published in a fashion magazine. These pictures were spotted by advertising agencies and she was cast for several television commercials. In 1991, Rai won a supermodel contest (organised by Ford) and was eventually featured in the American edition of Vogue. After abandoning an idea to pursue a career in medicine, Rai enrolled for a course in architecture at the Raheja College of Arts. However, she dropped out of college to pursue a full-time career as a model.

In 1993, Rai gained public recognition for her appearance in a Pepsi commercial with actor Aamir Khan. The following year, Rai stood second at the annual Femina Miss India beauty pageant (losing out to Sushmita Sen). Rai eventually won the Miss World pageant of 1994 held at Sun City, South Africa.

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