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I'm blessed to be able to play woman of character, says Aishwarya Rai Bachchan


Published on: April 27, 2023 | Updated on: April 27, 2023

Aishwarya Rai with her guru Mani Ratnam at the PS 2 pomotional event in Chennai. (Photo By Arrangement)

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan says her journey in films has been magical, thanks to the directors she’s worked under and the characters she’s been given a chance to portray

Interacting with the media on the last leg of the Ponniyin Selvan 2 promotional tour, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shared some interesting insights, not only into the movie and her approach to her role, but on a range of other aspects too.

On working with Mani Ratnam

He is my guru. Whenever he gives me a role, it’ll always be a ‘Yes’ from me. Moka mile toh any actor will say ‘Yes’ to working with him. I have been fortunate in that. I treasure my experiences of working with him. But he himself has always told me to be honest when choosing a character. ‘You need to think how you feel about the character. Even if you get an offer from me, you have to be honest and not just say ‘Yes’, as you will be bringing the character to life on celluloid,’ he says. 

On portraying Nandini in the PS franchise

She has the personality that every woman would love to possess. The character has a strange relatability. All of us are grey personalities, not black or white. We all have layered characters, that’s the deepest truth. In life there is no compartmentalisation, there is no positivity or negativity.

‘I treasure my experiences of working with Mani Ratnam’

We just attach these labels which are reactionary or emotional. This tendency can be the driving force for the choices you make in life, that’s the core which makes Nandini so relatable. I am thankful I was able to play Nandini.

On Mani Ratnam’s vision in  the film

He is the king of bringing romance even into tense moments and converting what is written on paper to an experience on celluloid. Who better than him to bring that kind of dynamic on the screen? We are fortunate to have represented his vision. It was truly magical.

On playing another Nandini – in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

What a coincidence! Nandini in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was very memorable too. She has remained special to me, and to Sanjay Bhansali ji as well. And I am so thankful that I got to play that Nandini too. It’s a tremendous blessing to have gotten to play such strong layered women of character who have touched the lives of so many women out there. I’m very grateful for the relatability factor.

On the magic of being an actress

We get to live the lives of so many people. The magic of cinema is we get to do characters which others relate to. It’s a humbling experience. And the appreciation and love we receive for the characters we essay feels good. It’s a cumulative team effort involving all cast and crew which brings characters to life on celluloid and makes them live beyond our time. Pichle janam ka kuch karm hi hai.

Actors are emotional people. Now, at the end of this promotional event, it feels like the end of the journey;  but it’s exciting to think that we are going to share the film with the people. We feel happy that we have received unconditional love while essaying all these characters, but we should not let it go to our heads, we need to focus on reality.

Doesn’t differentiate betwen South cinema and Bollywood

I look at cinema, as Indian cinema. I do not support the view that if there’s no work here, we must go south, and vice-versa. As an actor, we must go wherever we get the opportunity to shine, to learn, to grow and to be able to do fabulous work. Since the beginning of my career, I have made it clear with my choices that I don’t follow these thought processes.

I was blessed to get the opportunity to work with Mani garu in my first film and why wouldn’t I have said ‘Yes’ to him? Thereafter, I got to work with wonderful directors like Rajiv Menon and Shankar, and naturally, I said ‘Yes’. Besides, all the films have had AR Rahman’s music — why wouldn't I happily say ‘Yes’ to these incredible combinations of talent?