Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and finest actresses in Bollywood. But before making her acting debut, the actress was a model. She won the Miss World title back in 1994 at the age of 21 and later, started receiving offers from the world of cinema and went on to work in some of the biggest hits to have ever been produced. Later in her career, she got married to Abhishek Bachchan – son of Bollywood legends Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan – and the couple currently have a daughter together named Aaradhya. The actress celebrates her 46th birthday today and she still looks ravishing and breathtaking as ever. But it’s not only her beauty but also her talent in the world of Bollywood, which has helped her reach new heights. As she begins the 46th year of her life, here is a look back at some of her best performances so far.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was probably the turning point in Aishwarya’s career. The starlet proved her mettle as an actor in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial and was lauded for her performance. From a hysterical laugh to a heartbreaking scene, Aishwarya aced it all. She also won Filmfare’s Best Actress award for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The film also starred Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn. The actress also got close to Salman and the two were rumoured to be dating, but soon broke up.
One of Aishwarya’s best performances was in 1999’s Taal. The actress played a small town girl who wishes to become a famous name in the world of entertainment and after a personal turmoil, just happens to become a nationwide sensation. Not only was Aishwarya’s acting amazing, but her dance skills were also tested – which the actress aced at. With A R Rehman’s music, this Subhash Ghai directorial also featured Akshaye Khanna and Anil Kapoor in titular roles. Aishwarya’s performance, as well as the film, was loved by many.
After Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Aishwarya starred in yet another film by Sanjay. She was cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in the period drama, Devdas – wherein she essayed Paro. The actress not only aced her character once again, but also looked breathtaking and dancing incredibly. Her character’s portrayal was also regarded as one of the best in Bollywood as she carried the grace, grief and depth – along with those grand costumes. Aishwarya also received yet another Filmfare for her performance in this film.
Bride & Prejudice
Aishwarya also starred in Gurinder Chadha’s romantic drama film, Bride & Prejudice – which was a Bollywood adaptation of the famous book by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Directed by Bend It Like Beckham filmmaker, Bride & Prejudice followed Aishwarya’s character – Lalita, as she meets a British man and falls in love with him, but gets upset at his lack of respect for the Indian culture and traditions. Aishwarya not looked beautiful but portrayed a well-respected, Indian girl perfectly, showing that the character was made for her. The film was not only loved in India but also appreciated by audiences worldwide.
Aishwarya made her acting debut with ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam for a Tamil film Iruvar, so when he signed her yet again for Guru, it was sure that the film would be a success. And it was. Not only did Mani give Aishwarya one of the best films of her career, but it was actually him who brought her close to her future husband – Abhishek Bachchan. Aishwarya played the role of a free spirited, supporting wife named Sujata Desai who is married to a very calculative yet charismatic Guru bhai and she ruled the screen space with her effortless acting.
In Ashutosh Gowariker's film, Jodhaa Akbar, fans saw Aishwarya on screen as princess Jodhaa. She dressed up in spectacular Indian outfits and jewellery and brought certain elegance into her character. Apart from looking like a princess throughout the film, the actress perfectly nailed the mannerism of a Rajput royalty, resulting into a moving performance. She shared the screen space along with Hrithik Roshan and their on screen chemistry was loved by many – just like it was lauded in Dhoom 3.
While Aishwarya has worked with some of the best filmmakers in Bollywood, it seems like Sanjay has always been the one to promise her an award and an outstanding performance. With Guzaarish, yet again with Hrithik, Aishwarya graced the screen in a role that not many have seen her in before – a nurse. Aiding to an ailing magician, Ethan Mascarenhas, Aishwarya delivered a power-packed performance as Sofia D’souza. Her performance also earned her another Filmfare award for the Best Actress.
In 2016, Aishwarya starred as Dalbir Kaur in Sarbjit which was a biographical drama based on the life of Sarabjit Singh who is sentenced to death in Pakistan for spying and terrorism. The film premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival and after a worldwide release, received missed reviews. However, Aishwarya’s portrayal as Dalbir was loved by many as she hadn’t really done such a role in the past. But the film did not fare too well at the box office. Filmmaker Omung Kumar was questioned by many on Aishwarya being cast in the film, to which he replied, “I’d decided that for Dalbir’s part, I wanted someone who’s mature enough, who could play a 22-year-old and 60-year-old as well, someone who commands and demands respect when she speaks. Aishwarya is a director’s actress, she is a fantastic. We can see her in any role possible.”