Aishwarya on top of the world - literally!

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
11/20/2004 12:00:00 AM

Download Aishwarya Rai WallpapersAishwarya Rai is on the top of the world. And it isn't just because she's playing the meaty role of a battered wife in her new film 'Provoked'.

'My recent visit to Cannes has given me a new perspective on our cinema. We really must push the envelope to go global... And thank God, my clothes didn't offend the delicate sensibilities of the haute-couture brigade back home,' she told IANS on telephone from the sets of 'Provoked' in London.

It isn't just her choice of clothes that has pleased her critics. Her selection of roles is also giving the 'competition' some seriously sleepless nights.

'Really?' Ash is disbelieving.

'So far, I've shot for 'Provoked' for just under a week. And it has been a truly revealing and gruelling experience. I've never played a real-life character before. And that too a battered Punjabi wife! Throughout the week Naveen Andrews (who plays the sadistic husband) and me shot those tough scenes of domestic violence.

Download Shabd Wallpapers'But we really didn't go into the black eyes etc. I don't think the impact of domestic violence depends on how much brutality you show on screen. Most scars that really hurt are those that no one can see...'

Ash trails off meditatively. And you wonder if the role of real-life battered wife Kiranjit Ahluwalia has triggered off some secret scars within her.

'Oh don't try to read meanings into my roles,' she's back to being bouncy and happy. 'I have to speak Punjabi and have I mastered it? Well, I think I've got the hang of it... One thing that I haven't done is change my appearance. I haven't gone into prosthetics or facial padding to look like the real character.

'A lot of people believe that an actor must look like the person she's enacting. But I think it's far more important to 'feel' like Kiranjit Ahluwalia than to look like her.'

It's a hectic schedule for Ash, but fun. She has worked with Naveen Andrews before in Gurinder Chaddha's 'Bride & Prejudice'. And though Naveen beats the hell out of Ash on the screen, they're buddies off-camera.

Download Bride And Prejudice Wallpapers'I love the atmosphere on Jag Mundhra's sets. Though there's so much violence to portray, the set is absolutely stress-free.'

Later this week, Ash meets up with an important Indian director in London for what could possibly be the most important role of her career.

'Things are happening. And I'm so glad I'm part of the movement of Indian cinema towards the West.'