Get Paid To Promote, Get Paid To Popup, Get Paid Display Banner

At 38 and pregnant, Aishwarya Rai still dazzling Bollywood and beyond

    Last Tuesday, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan turned 38. Older than the average Bollywood heroine, Rai has managed to prove she's still widely popular and capable of driving plenty of hype.

    Rai's pregnancy has been the subject of tons of media hype since before it actually happened. Pregnancy rumors and speculation have flown around ever since her 2007 marriage to Abhishek Bachchan, and the Bollywood world erupted with joy once father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan announced a confirmed pregnancy via Twitter this June. Proving Rai's worldwide recognition — Time magazine named her one of the world's most influential people in 2004 — even non-Bollywood and non-Indian news sources carried the buzz.

    Now that the pregnancy is out, abundant attention — of Hollywood baby-hype proportions mostly unknown to Bollywood — has focused on Rai, her baby bump and how (and whether) having a child will limit her work as many Bollywood actresses slow down or even give up acting after becoming mothers.

    The will-it-won't-it debate focusing on the impact on Rai's career has highlighted the fact that she's outlasted many other actresses in similar situations. In an industry where 30 is often considered too old for a heroine and married actresses are fairly rare, 38-year-old Rai seems a real exception.

    Vaulting into the international limelight, Rai won the Miss World pageant in 1994, where she also won the title of Miss Photogenic. Despite the fact that many younger Bollywood actresses have earned similar titles more recently — including Priyanka Chopra, Miss World 2000; Lara Dutta, Miss Universe 2000; and Jacqueline Fernandez, Miss Sri Lanka 2006 — none have managed to supplant or even rival Rai as "the most beautiful woman in the world."

    Nor have many — if any — actresses been able to match her for versatility, ranging from true crowd-pleasers ("Dhoom 2") to historical epics ("Jodhaa Akbar") to literary adaptations ("Devdas" and "Umrao Jaan"). Fluent in five languages, Rai has appeared in Hindi (and Urdu), English, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali films, making her capable of reprising her own role in multiple remakes. She's also been one of the few Indian actors with success in Hollywood or crossover films, with roles in "The Pink Panther 2," "Bride & Prejudice" and "The Last Legion." She was also originally chosen to play Angelina Jolie's role in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" though she declined because of scheduling conflicts.

    Whether Rai keeps up a vibrant and prolific career post-baby is yet to be seen, but if her track record is any indicator, she'll stubbornly continue to dazzle on-camera for years to come.


Blog Archive