Saturday, April 28

Ash - May You Find Joy and Happiness!

Since we're on the subject of beauty and in accord with this week's festive mood (wedding of the year!) in India, allow me the indulgence of mentioning Aishwarya Rai!

Aishwarya Rai is easily the most well-known actress to ever emerge from India’s Bollywood scene. She is a veteran of about 50 films since her 1997 debut. Aishwarya (or Ash as she is fondly known) has won heaps of accolades and awards for her work.
She is the former 1994 Miss World title holder, and 60 Minutes claimed that she has “The Most Beautiful Face in the World.
Aishwarya Rai may not be so well known outside of Asia, but it's only a matter of time (she was in 'Bride and Prejudice', watch out for 'Legion' this year!) before India's jewel becomes the whole world's darling.
Before being crowned Miss World in 1994, Ash had previously done some modeling, and became well known in India after appearing in an ad for Pepsi. Since winning the Miss World title, she has become one of the most popular stars of India's huge film industry known as Bollywood.

Aishwarya Rai was born in Mangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, on November 1st, 1973. Her father, a merchant navy officer, relocated the family to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) when Aishwarya was four years old. She excelled at academics as a child and chose science as her area of concentration, hoping for a career in medicine (zoology being her favorite subject at the time).

...Brains & Beauty

Her beauty and grace have taken her to the top as a model, actress and general superstar in India and other Asian countries. She's almost considered a saint back home: During a trip to an orphanage, a child remarked that the warmth of her kindness was more radiant than her beauty.

Aishwarya's beauty is subtle and understated. This 5'7" stunner claims she doesn't need to diet to maintain her physique. Her full, luscious lips, curves and ultra-feminine mannerisms give her
top marks in the physical beauty category.

This stunning specimen is a prime example of unadorned, 100% natural beauty.
She relies on little or no makeup, and hasn't dyed her hair a lighter shade to feel more attractive. Aishwarya possesses breathtakingly delicate features and is known for her spectacular blue-green eyes (that sometimes take on a blue-gray shade). Her long, raven hair and
inviting, warm smile make her all the more irresistible. It's no mystery to us why she is a former Miss World.

Ash's personal taste in fashion fluctuates from form-fitting gowns when she needs something formal, to jeans and a T-shirt when she wants to go casual. She likes to keep things simple: Ash doesn't like anything too "fussy and frilly" as she puts it, and as far as favorite colors go,
she loves basic black.

A bright woman, she considered a career in medicine and opted instead for architecture, until modeling and winning beauty pageants got in the way of her studies. She speaks a number of
languages, including English, Hindi, Kannada, and a bit of Tamil.
Aishwarya entered the world of modeling when she was in the 9th grade.

...Taking the world by storm

Initially, she modeled part-time, while focusing on her studies. As more assignments started rolling in, Ash decided to take a break from architecture and concentrate on modeling.
Aishwarya became well known in India after she appeared in a Pepsi commercial. Other high-profile assignments quickly followed, including Palmolive, Casio, Philips. What started off as a part-time activity quickly grew into a full-fledged career, as more companies hired the young beauty with the magnificent blue-green (and sometimes blue-gray) eyes.

In 1991, at the age of seventeen, Aishwarya was coaxed into entering the prestigious Ford Supermodel Contest by a friend. To her amazement, she won, and also took the Tulips Miss Super Vivacious prize, which was part of the same contest. Ash was spotted by famous photographer Steven Meisel, and was soon featured in Vogue magazine.
Bollywood, the massive Indian film industry, quickly came calling, and she made her first film appearance in Mamagaru that same year.

Initially rejecting subsequent film offers, Ash still hoped to finish her studies as an architect, and be with her family. But her career plans were forever altered when she entered the Miss Femina World contest in 1994. When the 20-year-old became the first runner-up, and was tipped to take the title at the upcoming Miss World pageant in Sun City, South Africa. She was crowned Miss World in 1994, was named Miss Catwalk, and was selected as having the Most Photogenic Face by the pageant's judges.

...Queen of Bollywood

Although she had little acting experience, she won over the critics and audiences alike in 1997's Iruvar (a.k.a. The Duo). For her role as Aishi in 1997's ...Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, Aishu (another one of her nicknames) picked up India's Screen Best Female Debut award. In 1998, she took on the dual role of Madhumitha/Vaishnavi in Jeans, which also won the actress critical praise and much adoration.

Since successfully crossing over into the Indian film industry in the second half of the '90s, Aishu (her other nickname) has appeared in almost two dozen films over a six-year period, making her a more prolific actress than most Western movie stars. In her native land, she was chosen as India's Screen Best Female Newcomer for 1997. She followed that up by winning the Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 1999's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and Screen Weekly's Best
Actress in 2000.
In 2000, she starred as Meenakshi in Kandukondain Kandukondain (a.k.a. I Have Found It). That same year, she appeared in Mohabbatein (a.k.a. Love Stories) and won rave reviews for her performance as Preeti, a rape victim, in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai. She was selected as Screen Weekly's Best Actress for 2000

Her modeling career hasn't completely been eclipsed by her screen success; she became the international ambassador/spokeswoman for Longines watches in 1999.

...In her words

"Life will take its toll on all of us. We get injured, we get old. It's really sad to try to run away from these harsh realities of life. Looks are not everything. I am not going to look beautiful all the time."

...My Fave Ash Movie - Hum Dil De Chuke

Plot Synopsis
Romantic misunderstandings, unrequited love, and the gap between two very different cultures provide the backdrop for this romantic musical drama from India. Sameer (Salman Khan) is a gifted singer from Europe who has come to New Delhi to study Indian vocal techniques with Pandit Darbar. Darbar's beautiful daughter Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) makes a strong impression on Sameer, and soon he's head over heels in love. But everyone advises Sameer to stay away from the girl, and Nandini is set up in a marriage with Vanraj (Ajay Devgan), a successful lawyer. But Nandini isn't happy with her new husband, and Vanraj soon finds evidence that his wife has been corresponding with Sameer, who has since returned to Europe. A jealous Vanraj packs his bags and sets out to find the singer, wanting to know the nature of the relationship between him and Nandini. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was a major box-office success in India, and was enthusiastically received in screenings at the 2000 Vancouver Film Festival and 2000 Seattle Film Festival.


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