Aishwarya on Chokher Bali

After playing Paro in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus Devdas, the light-eyed Aishwarya Rai is all set to woo regional audiences in the role of Binodini, the intelligent and beautiful leading lady of Rabindranath Tagore's novel Chokher Bali. Dressed in a cream and gold sari, Aishwarya was all smiles at the press conference to announce the release of her first Bengali film Chokher Bali in Mumbai, directed by the celebrated filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh. Though we couldn't pin her down for a one to one interview, here is what she spoke in bits and parts about Binodini and Chokher Bali. Excerpts:"Chokher Bali has been the fastest film I have ever shot for. Even before I got into the character, the film was over. Binodini is probably one of the deepest characters I have played in my career and it's been an honour and privilege to live her through the eyes of Ritu. It's Ritu's film, it's Ritu's interpretation of Tagore's story, the characters are his and so I just had to enact it as close as possible to his idea of Binodini.""The response the film has evoked in the local circles and in the international foreign film festivals has been really overwhelming. It's heartwarming to know that so many people appreciated our efforts and I'm hopeful when it releases this Friday in Mumbai and other parts of the country, it would be accepted here too!""I can't really say if Binodini is a subtler showcase of my talent compared to Paro in Devdas simply because no two films are similar. The genre in which they are made, the directors who are behind them, the stories, the ambience, the characters, the treatment - each aspect is unique to each film though yes, as an actor it gives me pleasure to know that the audience who have seen the film have appreciated the effort that's gone into making Chokher Bali and have accepted it. They saw me as Binodini and not as a Bombay heroine playing a role in a Bengali film. They accepted the character of Binodini and the actress portraying it.""I have never seen any of my roles, leave alone Binodini, as a step to reach a destination. Along the way if a film has helped me grow as an actor and get more satisfying roles, it's happened but I have never looked at it as a stepping stone or a smart career move.""I feel totally blessed to have been part of films like Chokher Bali and Devdas because if directors like Ritu and Sanjay Leela Bhansali have chosen to make period films and adapt literary classics to cinema, then I am only happy to make them reach out to a wider audience. In fact, when I do regional cinema, it's primarily because I'm being part of a film, which is going beyond its regional, local boundaries and making more and more people aware about its existence. In the process I get to learn about places and cultures I never knew before. And that's a good enough reason to do the film. So it doesn't matter how they look at me - a Bombay girl, a Bollywood heroine, a beauty queen, an actress doing international cinema - the labels don't matter."