'Since when has good-looking been a bad thing?'

Published On: 2018-01-01

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‘Since when has good-looking been a bad thing?’



Source: Khaleej Times 

Date: November 13, 2010 



As one of Bollywood’s hottest on screen couples, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, breeze into Dubai. The actress snubs her critics once and for all while the actor explains the duo’s intense chemistry to Davina Raisinghani. 


“HE’S RUNNING A little late, so why don’t we go ahead?” charmingly smiles Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, by way of explaining her flu-ridden co-star’s absence. The muse-worthy actress (or at least that’s what her director Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to think) had swept into the room only moments before, looking resplendent, but surprisingly somewhat de-glammed, in a traditional white salwar-kameez ensemble. “It always sounds a bit dramatic when either of us say it, but Sanjay and I have always maintained that ours is a past life connection,” notes Rai. That is her oddball answer to how she came to be a part of the filmmaker’s latest outing, intense romantic drama Guzaarish also starring Hrithik Roshan. 


“Sanjay and I are so in sync with each other that it borders on cheesy. Sometimes we just exchange a look and know the other’s thoughts on a subject. We can have entire conversations without uttering a single word. And that would always leave Hrithik and everyone else on the set feeling completely lost.” But it was more than just her inexplicable mental bond with Bhansali and his attractive promise to portray her in a never-seen-before avatar that got the 37-year-old on board; and the reason has nothing to do with her successful pairing with Roshan either. “I am personally familiar with the situation seen in the movie,” comments Rai, referring to Roshan’s paraplegic character Ethan Mascarenhas. 


“In fact, someone from my family suffers from the same problem, which is why I didn’t need to do much research for my character. But, Hrithik was completely at sea because he had no such interactions to speak of.” In her role as Sofia D’Souza - nurse, caregiver and eventual lover to the protagonist - Rai claims to have fit right in, once the look of the character was settled upon by her, her stylist and Bhansali. But, the actress insists, it’s not as superficial as it sounds. “It is easier to become somebody else once you have visually created them. The way Sofia dresses is unique. The length of her dresses is almost theatrical. Choosing to wear red lipstick on certain days is her way of dressing up for Ethan and bringing colour into his life. Or maybe it’s an attempt to escape her own. She communicates through her silences.” 


It’s a controversial life Quietly whispered, but viciously nasty rumours, always seem to follow close in the footsteps of Bollywood’s queen bee (she’s earned that title). And sometimes subtlety is violently hurled out the window. For instance, the latest piece of offensive gossip doing the rounds is that the rest of the Bachchan clan, inclusive of husband Abhishek and in-laws Amitabh and Jaya, are severely upset by Rai’s intimate scenes with Roshan in Guzaarish and have asked the director to censor his work. But the actress simply laughs it off. “Life has been very, very colourful. When I took my fledgling, baby steps into showbiz I was warned by a lot of my seniors that I would be in this for the long haul and during that time there would be a lot to put up with. I’m thankful to my parents for whatever it is that they ingrained in me that allows me to take it all in my stride. I only give reactions where necessary.” 


Rai’s critics have also often accused her of using her good looks as a lucratively successful crutch; and her acting skills have just as often been dismissed as non-existent. But on this subject, the actress drops her nonchalance. “Everybody makes the ‘looks remark’ when it comes to me but in my defense this is a visual medium. Since when has good-looking been a bad thing? I’m very happy for the genes I’ve received from my parents. It has just made my creative pursuit easier. The box office results of my films have also never been the fulcrum of my professional trajectory.” 


Enter the hero A little later in the evening, when Roshan’s up and about, we’re led into a room filled with teasing banter and contagious laughter. It’s an uninhibited version of Rai as she trades mock insults with her co-star, complete with juvenile, albeit friendly name calling. “Aishwarya communicates through her nods. She indicates her disapproval or liking for a scene I have shot in that way,” quips Roshan as he sits down. Rai is perched on a chair a few feet away, newspaper in hand, but glancing our way to insert a comment here and there. “That’s the equation we have built, ever since we first worked together,” adds the actor. When quizzed on whether it is their off-screen friendship that translates into the near-tangible chemistry that the duo share onscreen, as seen in both Dhoom and Jodha Akbar, it is Rai who replies. “Chemistry is on paper. It depends on the content, otherwise you have nothing to draw on. If that works, then any good actors should be able to bring that out on screen.” 


Meanwhile, Roshan had temporarily sacrificed his flawlessly sculpted physique to play Ethan in Guzaarish. He went as far as to abandon his extensive workout routine for four months, binging on greasy treats. “I jumped from one end of the health spectrum to the other and my body went for a complete toss. I ate batata vadas (potato cakes) and samosas; I used to have like 14 samosas in one go. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But the severity of the damage was so evident because in those months my blood report just went through the roof. That’s how bad these foods are for you. “I had to do all of that because I’m really passionate about this film. And obviously you cannot have a good physique if you’re playing a quadriplegic. The film is a festival. The spirit of these characters is a reason to celebrate. There was always laughter and music on set. Mr. Bhansali used to always sing and the guitar was never far away.”