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Thursday's Connector: Aishwarya Rai

June 14th, 2010
03:34 PM ET

She's been called the most beautiful woman on the planet, is married to one of India's biggest celebrities and is herself, a leading figure in Indian cinema.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/14/rai.art.gettyimages.jpg
caption="Aishwarya Rai is your Connector of the Day."]

Aishwarya Rai has taken a career that started with her modelling as a hobby to becoming one of the biggest names in the Bollywood film industry.

Born in 1973 in Mangalore, India, Rai initially studied to become an architect but after being discovered during her modelling work, Rai soon was chosen as the Miss India candidate for the Miss World beauty pageant.

In 1994, Rai won the Miss World title and abandoned her academics to tour the globe as the winner of the annual event.

Soon after returning to India, Rai began to pursue her acting career and in less than a decade, became one of India's biggest stars.

She first came to the attention of Bollywood directors with her film "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" in 1999, which was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

In the following years, Rai appeared in a number of blockbuster films including "Devdas," "Dhoom 2," and "Jodhaa Akbar."

However, Rai is not only well-known in India for her work on-screen, but also for her marriage to Bollywood superstar, Abhishek Bachchan.

The pair got married in June 2007 and today, they are regarded as a 'supercouple' in the region.

Today, Rai is out with a new film called "Raavan" which is a Hindi film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. Conincidently, "Raavan" also stars her husband, Abhishek Bachchan.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Lee

    Actually, Aishwarya's first movie was with Mani Ratnam in Iruvar which was controversial but critically acclaimed and won several awards. Today Iruvar is considered a Tamil classic and perhaps Ratnam's best movie.

    She has also acted in the Tamil hits Kandukondain Kandukondain and Jeans and the Bengali hit Chokher Bail.

    In my opinion, two of her best performances were in the arthouse movie Raincoat directed by Ghosh and in Guru directed by Ratnam.

    Her latest movie with Mani Ratnam was made simultanously in Hindi and Tamil and also dubbed in Telugu – Raavan (Hindi), Raavanan (Tamil) and Villain (Telugu). I'm looking forward to seeing the movies on June 18th.

    June 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  2. Emine

    How do you juggle movies, endorsements, family , travelling and mange to be who you are at the end of the day. Just imagining your lifestyle makes me scratch my head in buzz.
    You are a great woman and role model to many like me, I hope one day I learn to be as flexible yet family orientated as you. Thankyou for the recognition you give to British Indians like me as 'Beautiful woman' .
    🙂 P.S my family and friends loves you and so do I

    June 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  3. Leaf

    Please ask Aishwarya if she plans on leaving movies now that she probably wants to start a family soon. She has not signed any movies for next year. We will miss her.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  4. trac2010

    What type of audience are you expecting for Raavan? Is Raavan a love story?

    June 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  5. Lolage

    Is Aishwarya willing to have a family? She has done many movies but isnt it time she thought about kids?

    But...obviously evry1 is going to miss her !! please reply

    June 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  6. Rani

    Your working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mani Ratnam again after so many years. Can you talk about the difference in working with them today.

    Rani from NY

    June 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  7. Sultan Ameer from Karachi, Pakistan

    Kites made $1.6M in U.S. overall and Prince of Persia made $3M in India in its first weekend. My point is that Kites was remixed by Brett Ratner to make it more appealing for U.S audiences but still didn't grossed what its creators were expecting whereas Prince of Persia did good business in India without any modification.

    My question is that why Bollywood movies can't do good business in foreign markets whereas Hollywood movies keep doing good business in India?

    June 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  8. Erik

    Ask Ash to describe what she feels is the entertainment factor in Raavan?

    What is Raavan's USP? Why should the audience go out to watch Raavan in a theater?

    My questions are in hopes that Ash gives Raavan a selling point or point of focus for the audience.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  9. Lorna

    I have always wanted to thank you for introducing me to Bollywood, I had not seen any Bollywood movies until I saw your movie, 'Bride & Prejudice' after that I was hooked. Was it and is it your intention to be an ambassador for India and show the rest of the world the true beauty of Indian cinema?

    June 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  10. rahul frm surat,india

    Lots of questions frm my side.....

    1)Why she is not sign any film frm last one year after Guzarish??Will this year become her last year in acting field??

    2)What abt her hollywood project especially "SINGULARITY", "CHAOS" N "TAJ"?

    3)What abt her plan to come on Twitter b'cos there are lots of aish fan's on twitter waiting for her very eagerly including me also..

    June 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  11. Louise

    One of your future projects is Guzaarish with Hrithik Roshan directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Will we get to see the chemistry you and Hrithik displayed in Jodhaa Akbar?

    June 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  12. Sultan Ameer from Karachi, Pakistan

    Unlike so much claims of being successful by Bollywood celebrities, after so many years Bollywood movies still aren't good and/or successful as foreign movies, why?

    June 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  13. Sultan Ameer from Karachi, Pakistan

    Will Bollywood movies ever go beyond South-Asian communities among foreign movie audiences?

    June 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  14. sandya

    Hi Aishwarya,

    This is the first time I am writing to you. I am pretty sure you might not respond because of your schedule., but I wish you and abhishek good luck and I am sure your film will do well.

    Drop in a line whenever you get time.

    All the Best!!!

    June 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  15. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Aishwarya Rai and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Aishwarya Rai on the following questions:
    – Who will win the Miss World 2010 according to you as former Miss World?
    – What has inspired you to play as Raagini Subramaniam in your latest movie Raavanan (Tamil: ராவணன்)?
    – How is your career inspiring people to really connect India and Pakistan just as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Hindi: मोहनदास करमचंद गाँधी, Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી) also known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा) would wanted it to be?
    – How has the famous Indian writer Mallanaga Vātsyāyana, also a well know Indian author of the Kama Sutra, inspired you as an Indian actress and former Miss World?
    – What can we expect from you in 2010?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Aishwarya Rai’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    June 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  16. guelsimsek

    hi CNN team & Ash..

    im a big fan of ash&abhi bachchan couple..i dont really know why..but its so..theyre so different like the other stars..i love the two

    my question is...wants ash to come to germay ? because here are many Fans with the dream to see ash live..for example for one of her film premire? And please come to Twitter please..

    gül simsek 20(turk)
    greetings from germany..

    June 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  17. Ayrawhsiata

    Please ask her this. When can we see Ash back in the slim avatar? Why has she gained sooo much weight? Is she such a big foodie and never works out? Or is she preggers?

    June 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  18. Keira

    My question is:

    If you could choose one Hollywood actor/actress to work with on your next film, who would it be and why?



    June 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  19. Justin from Houston, USA

    Aishwarya, I am one of your most loyal well-wishers. Here is my question:

    With four (you can even say five) releases this year alone, it will be important for you to promote those films. Many celebrities have found the internet to be a great medium to connect with fans, as well as to promote their films. Have you thought about connecting with your well-wishers on the internet? We would LOVE to hear from you!

    June 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  20. ankit

    well my question is very simple...
    media has become one of the governing factor for a film to work well, given that the so called"critics" ... often get paid previews and so audiences are mis lead. why is the film industry not standing up?
    its a minor issue but hazards are no less !!!
    gracias ...

    June 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  21. Neel Bairon

    Aishwarya Rai should now start a family. The age has started to show on her face.

    June 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  22. edwige

    Hi !First of all thank you for giving us this opportunity today.My question is to know if you will keep acting even two or three years after having a baby?Or would you go down the sabbatical road like some of your contempories by of making a movie every 5 or ten years?.
    Do not listen to people who criticize you sometimes for no reasons because you have the love of your well-wishers and your family.
    Are you planning to join twitter?Please do.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  23. Sade from Houston, USA

    Hi Aishwarya and CNN community!

    -I first would like to thank you for being who your are, you are an amazing person and an inspiration to all! I fell in love with Bollywood when I first saw you in Bride and Prejudice(first Bollywood movie I saw) been following Indian culture, language, and customs ever since.

    -My question is: Are you going to do any more English/Hollywood movie in 2011 and in the near future? Would love to see in a Hollywood movie again!

    -Also would you consider doing a M.Night Shyamalan film? I love his work and would love to see in one of his films!

    God Bless you and your entire family! Looking forward to all your films as well as your husband's films!

    June 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  24. melisa from algeria

    1) i'm one of your biggest fan. here is my question: Aish please Can I have your autograph and that of your husband? if you accept you'll make me the happiest fans in the world.
    2)when will see you pregnant ? would like to see you as a mother.
    3) when you come on twitter ? b'cos there are lots of aish fan's on twitter waiting for her very eagerly including me also.
    PS: send me your and ahi's autograph plsssssssssss

    June 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  25. Lorna

    Lorna – Wales, UK.
    I have always wanted to thank you for introducing me to Bollywood, I had not seen any Bollywood movies until I saw your movie, 'Bride & Prejudice' after that I was hooked. Was it and is it your intention to be an ambassador for India and show the rest of the world the true beauty of Indian cinema?

    June 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  26. Sade from Houston, USA

    -Do you see yourself/ Are you going to be doing more Tamil films in the future dubbed with your own voice like Raavanan?
    I would totally love that! I love your voice!

    June 14, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  27. Laxmi

    If Aishwarya stops working, I will get rid of Indian channels and quit watching Indian movies. Aish inspired me in many ways. She brought me back to my Indian roots. If she stops working, I have nothing to look forward about India. Aish does not have to stop working just because she gives birth to nanna munnas.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  28. Romi

    When are you planning to release your bio? Can't waitt !! And why haven't you done reality doumentries that peek into your life like srks inner and outer world? Evryone wants to know how indias princess lives..

    June 15, 2010 at 12:36 am | Reply
  29. Rakesh Kaushik from hyderabad,india

    yencha ullara aishwarya??(how are you?....it's tulu language....her mother tongue)
    I'm pretty excited about raavan,raavanan,action replay,robot and guzarish....my question to you is:


    June 15, 2010 at 8:55 am | Reply
  30. Dane Medina

    Dear CNN,

    Hi! This is Dane Medina, a Filipino fan of Aishwarya from the Philippines. Before I ask my question, I just would like to say that Bollywood films are not really popular in our country so i kind of consider myself a "special" fan of Ash from this side of the world. And I'm a huge, huge, as in HUGE fan of Aishwarya and the Bachchans! Anyway, here's my question for her:
    1. What is your regular day at home like (minus the meetings and other work stuff) just being the bahu (daughter-in-law) of the Bachchan household? And how is it when all of you are at home? Just wondering since we fans only see you on the public platform. 🙂

    2. Besides Ragini, what's the most memorable character that you've played so far and if given a chance, what characters would you like to play in the future that you haven't done before?

    Please, please CNN, please choose my question/s and ask her for me. Either of the two would be fine.. Just choose one and make one of my dreams come true.. Please CNN... Regards to the staff of the show and thank you so much in advance! 🙂

    Dane Medina
    Manila, Philippines 🙂

    June 15, 2010 at 11:30 am | Reply
  31. Joseph Gonzales

    Dear Aishwarya...I do a google check on you everyday and have been a fan since before you became Miss India. This is a 17-year love affair! I truly admire your work ethic which has brought you great fame, success and wealth. Congratulations and you deserve it! You are a fantastic example of career management coupled with talent that you obviously have in abundance.

    My questions is:
    1. Is there anything that you feel you have not achieved in your career yet?
    2. We all grow old...but you are an international celebrity – do you worry about it – wrinkles, putting on weight, greying, age spots...do you consciously and seriously take care of your attributes?

    Love you!!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  32. Kamran

    Please ask Aishwarya,

    "what was the reason no Muslim guest wasn't invited in her wedding even when there are so many famous Muslim Bollywood stars"?


    Geneva (Switzerland)

    June 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  33. srikanth

    @sultan ameer from karachi, pakistan..who asked why bollywood movies need to be remixed to appeal to the US audience, while hollywood movies neednot be remixed..

    ANSWER :: Indian Audiences can UNDERSTAND different cultures, their movies, their Ideas better than americans! 😉

    June 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  34. srikanth

    @Kamran from Geneva

    Dude, stop bringing this 'protest anti-muslim feelings' into every thing!!
    It was a private wedding. Its upto her whom to invite and whom to not invite. Why should you be bothered?

    June 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Reply
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    February 14, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply

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