1 November 1973, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Aishwarya Krishnaraj Rai
5' 7" (1.70 m)
Born into a traditional south Indian family, Aishwarya started modeling at a young age. This green-blue-eyed beauty appeared in advertisements for many prestigious firms; the ones that brought her into the limelight were the garden sari and the Pepsi ad. Crowned Miss India 1994 runner-up, she was a hot favorite in the run for miss world title, which she won, her beauty and charm made her India's darling. Ash stormed into the Indian movie industry, where she has proven herself a brilliant & genuine actress. Her performance in The Duo (1997) was critically acclaimed, and she won the Screen best female debutant award for her role in ...Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997). She was adored in movies like Taal, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, her item number in 'Bunty & Bubbly' had sent waves of rhythm across the nation. With her successful Bollywood movies & prestigious Hollywood projects lined up for release it is impossible to ignore this Indian diva in international scenes.
Aishwarya was an architecture student before she entered modeling as her part-time job. She was best known for her Pepsi commercial with Mahima Chaudhry. With her green-grey eyes, she was already approached by big names in India's film industry, where they offered her starring roles. She rejected the film offers since she aimed to be an architect. However, fate had other things in store for her after she was crowned Miss World 1994. Soon after her winning, again she received offers to star in movies. In Southern India, she was best known for her role as Madhumita/Veishnavi in Jeans (1998) and as Meenakshi in I Have Found It (2000). She won the Filmfare Award for best actress for her performance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) as Ajay Devgan's wife who is in love with another man. She also won rave reviews for her performance as a rape victim in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000).
Aishwarya Rai (Ash) is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. This Indian darling burst upon the world stage when her striking beauty, poise and commanding intelligence won her the Miss World crown in 1994. This former architecture major soon became one of India's most famous models landing a prestigious Pepsi campaign and appearing in Vogue Magazine. India's top Bollywood directors were soon lining up to work with Ash. Her film debut in Mani Rathnam's 'Iruvar' (1997) received critical acclaim and her performance in Aur Paar Ho Gaya' (1997) directed by Rahul Rawail garnered her the Best Female Debutante Award. In 2000 she was awarded Best Actress by FilmFare and Zee Cine for her work in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", in that same year, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her special appearance in Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein (2000). In 2001 Ash was nominated for FilmFare's Best Actress Award for Satish Kaushik's "Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai".
Ash's star continued to rise in 2002 working again with Sajay Leela Bhansali in 'Devdas'. 'Devdas' is the most ambitious and most successful film in Bollywood history. It became the first Bollywood picture to ever receive a special screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival and broke box-office records in India and the United States.
2003 brought even more exciting opportunities. Ash became the first Indian actor to be a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. She is also the latest member of the elite L'Oreal Dream Team, joining beauties Catherine Deneuve & Andie MacDowell as their international ambassador. She graced the covers of India Today and the prestigious TIME Magazine. Time Magazine has also listed her on their list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World Today". She has graced numerous covers worldwide including USA, UK, China, Russia, Israel, United Emerites, Italy, Spain and France. Ash was also listed on Rolling Stone Magazine's annual "Hot List", Hello Magazine's Most Attractive Women in the World", Stuff Magazine, FHM magazine, V-Life from Variety Magazine, GQ Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Harper's & Queen and countless others.
2004 saw Aishwarya take on the leading role in her first English language film for Gurinder Chadha in "Bride & Prejudice". She also became the first Indian female to be immortalized in wax at the world famous Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London.
With over 17,000 websites dedicated to her, Ash finally launched her "Official Website" www.AishwaryaWorld.com
2005 started with appearances on "60 Minutes", "David Letterman Show" and the most watched television program in the world the "Oprah Winfrey Show". Aishwarya's career continues to grow even stronger - she will soon be seen in Mistress of Spices for director Paul Berges, Jag Mundhra's Provoked, Sanjay Gadhvi's Dhoom 2 and legendary film producer Dino De Laurentiis's The Last Legion opposite Colin Firth and Sir Ben Kingsley. The Queen of Bollywood is already becoming the talk of tinseltown and is currently in negotiations on two major motion pictures.
Wanted to study medicine, but circumstances prevented her.
Miss World 1994.
Dated Salman Khan.
Was offered Rani Mukherjee's role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
Runner up, Miss India 1994
Ambassador (spokesperson) for Longines watches since 1999.
Daughter of Vrinda Rai
Sister of Aditya Rai
In April 2003, she suffered an accident on the sets of Khakee (2004) when a car driven by a stuntman got out of control, hit her, took her down a crevice, and slammed her into a cactus plant. She broke a bone in one foot and suffered severe cuts, and she was rushed to a hospital. The incident rekindled the discussion about poor safety standards on Bollywood film sets.
The first Indian actress to be on the jury of the Cannes International Film Festival.
Has made over 50 music videos in only seven years.
Despite the fact that she is adorned with jewelry in her music videos and movies, she is apparently not too fond of it.
Created a frenzy at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival when she arrived at the premiere of her film _Devdas (2002)_ in a coach and wearing a beautiful yellow-orange-embroidered sari.
Was originally cast in the role of Jwala in the film _The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005)_, but dropped out before filming started due to contract problems. The role was later given to Ameesha Patel.
Loves collecting watches.
Made her first commercial for Camlin pencils when she was in the 9th grade.
Was the face of Coca Cola South Asia as well as the Middle East.
Favorite subject in college was Zoology.
Has achieved iconic status all over South Asia.
Is featured in the 2004 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
In a poll conducted by Hello magazine, she was voted the number-one attractive woman of 2003, beating actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
In April 2003, L'Oréal signed her as its new international brand ambassador (spokesperson).
The first Bollywood star to appear in Rolling Stone magazine (Issue 932, October 2, 2003)
Gained 20 pounds for Bride & Prejudice (2004) because she didn't want her character to look like a supermodel and also felt that it would add a sense of realism to the character.
Is an ethnic Bunt, like fellow actors Shilpa Shetty and Sunil Shetty. The Bunts are a South Indian community from Mangalore who mainly speak Tulu, which is Aishwarya's mother tongue.
Turned down the lead in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (2003). The role was given to Gracy Singh.
Turned down the role of Mastani in the film _Bajirao Mastani (2005)_.
The first movie star she ever met was Rekha. Aishwarya was still in high school at the time and was a model. While at a grocery store with her mother, Aishwarya was tapped on the shoulder by none other than Rekha herself. Rekha recognized Aishwarya from her modeling ads. She complimented the young Aishwarya on her good looks and wished her all the best.
Is fluent in the languages English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and Urdu.
Was originally intended for the role of Priya in the film _Chalte Chalte (2003)_.
Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai are the only stars to advertise for both Coca Cola and Pepsi.
Before she was famous, she auditioned to do voice-dubbing for a television serial and was rejected.
Shah Rukh Khan recommended her to play Kaurwaki in the film Ashoka the Great (2001). But the director wanted to cast someone who hadn't already been paired with Shahrukh as a leading lady.
After winning the title of Miss World in 1994, the host of the event, Richard Steinmetz, actually asked Aishwarya out. But being a professional, she refused right away.
Sued the magazine Star and Style for a sum of Rs 20 million (2 crore) for printing an article claiming that actress Raveena Tandon had caught her and Akshay Kumar in a compromising position at the poolside of a five- star hotel.
During the filming of the song 'Dola Re Dola' from the movie _Devdas (2002)_, Aishwarya's ears were bleeding because to the heavy earrings she had to wear, but she continued to perform anyway.
Is a trained classical dancer. She learnt classical dance and music for five years while in her teens.
Has a puppy named Sunshine, which was given to her as a gift by friend Vivek Oberoi.
Won the title of Miss Photogenic in the 1994 Miss World Pageant.
Has won over 100 awards since 1994 when she was 20.
Is good friends with actress Preity Zinta.
Has gained a cult following in Pakistan.
Was listed in Time magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world (The 2004 TIME 100).
Ran the Olympic-torch relay in June 2004.
Turned down a role in The Myth (2005) due to her touring schedule. The role was eventually given to Mallika Sherawat.
Has refused to work with Salman Khan after their break-up, in spite of several offers.
Has over 17,000 Web sites dedicated to her.
In 2004, Aishwarya became the first Bollywood and Indian actress to have her own statue at London's Madame Tussauds museum.
On January 2nd, 2005, she became the first Indian actress to be interviewed on "60 Minutes" (1968).
Voted #9 in Harpers and Queen magazine's list of the 100 most beautiful women of today. (Harpers and Queen, June 6, 2005)
A tulip produced in 2005 was named for her.
Member of the jury at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
When Oprah Winfrey saw Aishwarya's interview on "60 Minutes" (1968), she was so fascinated by her that she got a hold of Ash and invited her to be a guest on her show. On April 25, 2005, Aishwarya became the first Indian and South Asian actress to be featured on _"Oprah Winfrey Show, The" (1986)_.
Turned down a small role as Breseis in the film Troy (2004).
Director Andy Tennant offered her a small part in _Hitch (2005)_, but she was busy filming Bride and Prejudice at the time.
Turned down the role of Anna in A Sublime Love Story: Barsaat (2005).
In the summer of 2005, Mattel released limited-edition Barbie dolls inspired by Aishwarya and her costumes. They were released only in Britain and sold out within minutes. These dolls are now considered rare collectibles among fans.
Her favourite film is Casablanca.
Was voted number 12 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Actresses of the Last 20 Years. (December 2005)
Roger Ebert has said he considers her the most beautiful actress in the world.
Was voted as E's 7th sexiest celebrity in the world
The first actress from India to get signed on with the American Library Association and also have a poster made of her for schools and library's all across America.
Was originally signed on to play the part of Simmi in Bluffmaster! (2005), but was replaced without any notice by Priyanka Chopra. Director Rohan Sippy then gave Aishwarya a "special thanks" in the end credits as an apology.
Turned down the part of Sandhya in Saamna (2006)
When President George W. Bush visited India in March 2006, he invited Aishwarya, along with Aamir Khan, to a luncheon. Aishwarya could not attend because she was in Brazil at the time filming for Dhoom:2 (2006).
Was considered for the role of Priya in Krrish (2006).
Turned down the lead in Corporate (2006) because she didn't have any dates available for filming. The role was given to Bipasha Basu.
In mid 2001, Aishwarya started work on two films titled Radheshyam Seetaram and Hum Panchhi Ek Daal Ke. For reasons unknown, filming stopped on these films in February 2002. Filming was never completed and the films have now been shelved. The only glimpse of the movies that exist for the public to see are photographs from the sets and publicity shots.
Performed to an audience of 85,000 in Melbourne, Australia at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games with 800 backup dancers. (March 2006)
Was cast with a small role in Lajja (2001), but was dropped because there were already too many major stars in the film.
When Karan Johar asked Aishwarya on his talk show which film she wishes she could have been a part of, she responded Khamoshi: The Musical (1996)
Is the second Indian actress to appear on the cover of TIME magazine in 2003. The first was Parveen Babi in 1976.
Featured in People Magazine as one of the 100 Most Beautiful People in the World. (Issue May,8,2006)
Was considered for the role of Kalyani in Water (2005/I).
Got her education at Arya Vidya Mandir and DG Ruparel College, both in Bombay, India. She was also accepted into Raheja College of Architecture in Bombay, but never went.
Good friends with fellow Indian superstar and icon, Madhuri Dixit. The two worked together in the super-hit and widely acclaimed Devdas.
Listed as number 3 of 'Top Bollywood Actresses' of 2006. (rediff.com, 8-25- 2006)
Caused a day long traffic jam in Dubai, United Arab Emirates while filming a soap commercial. People would stop for hours just to catch a glimpse of their favorite actress. (September 5, 2006)
Listed #3 by UK magazine Eastern Eye one of "Asia's Sexiest Women" (Sept/ 2006).
Is the most photographed woman in India.
She was the first choice for the role of Jane Smith in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), but she turned it down due to filming conflicts.
She secured 90% marks in HSC at Ruparel college in Mumbai.
Her Pepsi ad with Aamir Khan was shot in one night during the infamous Bombay riots.
Has been in seven movies with now husband Abhishek Bachchan, more than with any other actor.
Came in #1 in BollySpice.com Magazine's list of "Top 10 Actresses of 2006".
Turned down the part of Malvika Talwar in Baabul (2006).
In January 2007, she announced that she has accepted a marriage proposal from current boyfriend, actor Abhishek Bachchan.
Is often referred to as "the most beautiful woman in the world".
In 2005, Hugh M. Hefner attempted to create and Indian version of Playboy for India, which would feature South Asian women and Indian pop culture articles, yes nudity. He wanted to have Aishwarya on the cover of the first issue.
Twice turned down the lead in the Hindi version of Chandramukhi (2005).
Was invited in 2005 to be a presenter at The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) (TV), but was unable to attend because she was busy filming for The Mistress of Spices (2005).
Is active in various charities and often visits orphanages.
Her favorite Western designer is Giorgio Armani. Whenever she is in London, clothes are taken to her hotel for her to choose from.
Is the second of five Indian women to win the Miss World title. The first was Reita Faria, who won in 1966. Others include Diana Hayden who won in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999, and Priyanka Chopra in 2000.
Has appeared on more magazine covers worldwide than any other Bollywood or Indian star.
Director Brett Ratner is a fan of Aishwarya's and he wanted her to be cast in Rush Hour 3 (2007), but she turned down the offer.
Was considered for the part of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006).
Her wax statue at Madame Tussauds Museum in London was borrowed by the museum in New York for six weeks. The statue was flown to New York and made its debut on August 15, 2007, making her the first Indian actress in the American version of the museum.
About 15 kilos of henna was special ordered from Sojat in Rajasthan for the henna ceremony before her wedding.
Her wedding invitations were embossed with two entwined As and delivered along with a box of chocolate meringues. Within the invitation was also a poem about new beginnings written by Amitabh Bachchan's father and renowned poet Harivash Rai Bachchan.
Her wedding ceremony lasted a total of three days. It was the most awaited and talked about wedding in years and the press followed it like Princess Diana's wedding.