Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, also known as Aishwarya Rai, is one of the most well-known high-profile Indian celebrities. She is a model and actress whose claim to fame was winning the Miss World 1994 international beauty pageant. Many publications have stated that she is the “most beautiful woman in the world.” However, Aishwarya Rai is more than just a pretty face, as her career in film shows, proving her talent as a prolific and versatile actress. She was the lead actress in many Bollywood hits such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
(2002), Dhoom 2
(2006), and Jodhaa Akbar
(2008), and she has flawlessly portrayed a plethora of different characters with ease. Born in Mangalore, Karnataka, she hailed from a family that had no connections to film. It was after their move to Mumbai, that Aishwarya Rai emerged as a model. Despite being an academically successful student, she chose to pursue a career in modelling, and even won an international pageant hosted by Ford in 1991. Her first big break was her appearance in the 1993 commercial for Pepsi, and despite her being present for only a few seconds, everyone was instantly drawn to her beauty. After winning the prize for the first runner up in the Miss India pageant, second to Sushmita Sen, she went on to win the crown for the Miss World pageant in 1994. She continued with modelling for a while, after which she went on to acting. Rai made her debut in the film Iruvar
(1997), a Tamil film by Mani Ratnam. Her first Bollywood film was Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya
(1997). Both these films did not do well and Rai was critique heavily for her performance in them, as she was for much of her early films. However, she finally made her big break with Jeans
(1998), another Tamil film with co-star Prashanth. This film was a big hit, and pushed her forward to achieve success in the film industry. Rai's first big success in Bollywood was with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
(1999), which finally led to a number of critically appreciated roles such as Taal
(2000), and Khakee
(2004), amongst many others. At this point of time, she also gained a lot of global recognition, which led to roles in international films and collaborations such as Bride and Prejudice
(2004), The Mistress of Spices
(2005), and The Last Legion
(2007). In 2010, Rai's final film Guzaarish
(2010), was released, which marked the beginning of a five year stint away from films. After this break, she appeared in Jazbaa
(2015), and also has some ongoing projects.
She married fellow actor Abhishek Bachchan in April 2007, and the two of them became the power couple of Indian media. They have a daughter named Aaradhya Bachchan together.
Besides her on-screen presence, she also endorses a number of brands, including Titan, Loreal, Coca Cola and Pepsi, Lakme, and Palmolive. She has also done a lot of philanthropic and humanitarian work for children suffering from cleft palate, is a supporter of PETA, and an organ donor.
Aishwarya Rai remains one of the best known and internationally recognised celebrities of the country, even after her dry spell. Her associations with the Bachchan family and constant appearances to international award ceremonies have contributed to making her a well known face through the decades.