Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is poised, refreshing and speaks with breezy abandon. The well-crafted words do not take away the sincerity of thought. From a Bollywood star, such candidness is rather uncommon. The actor, who was in the city to inaugurate the new 'Longines Boutique' and present the new model of the 'The Longines Master Collection Blue Edition', spoke on her second coming, the joy of motherhood and how it is to be a celebrity in these times.
It's been two decades since you entered the industry. How do you look back at your odyssey?
Two decades already? Well, yes! I started working after 'Miss World' in 1996. I did my first film, 'Iruvar' in '97, so yes. I think I've stopped counting (laughs).
After a hiatus, you returned with 'Jazbaa'? Did you find the industry changed? Were you a changed person after motherhood?
I didn't feel the break. Has motherhood changed me? You lead more than a lifetime each day. Now, I sound like a gushing mother (laughs). You recognise your own capacity, how much you are able to do -- all in a split second--- like doing a scene, making a call, planning lunch, running my home, looking after my kid, her schedule....I remember when I was doing 'Jazbaa', there were courtroom scenes and this was something I had never done before and I had always wondered how you prepare for it. But you realise your faculties are all thousand percent switched on, every single second. It's a learning -- of recognising your own capacity. You need to be your own best friend and that's the way you put your best foot forward. When people ask me what the trick to multitasking is, I say being true to yourself, to give your best to everything you can. It's also about time management and prioritising.
But then you are a celebrity mom, and that is different...
That's a tricky question today. It (stardom) has been a part of my life for so long. On one front - weirdly- it is kind of natural and on the other - weirdly- it's not. It has manifested itself differently with the evolution of the demands on the media and they want to grab every millisecond. You recognise it, but then you are also human. You have to be stoic and patient, which is not easy. Many a time, it's not about you but about others around you and you feel the need to respond because you meet the eyes of some people around you who are appealing to you to possibly respond because you are the celebrity at that point in time. So you can possibly help control a situation. It's a vicious circle that you are part of. You need to remain true to your opinions and feelings, at the same time recognise you are somebody on the public platform and every twitch, word, action, reaction mean something to somebody out there. But a mom is a mom is a mom, and I don't think it has anything to do with being a celebrity. That will be foremost when it comes to Aradhya. My concerns and protective instincts will only come naturally as it would to a mother.
When are you going to do a South Indian movie next?
I would love to. Talk about 'Jimikki Kammal' taking over (laughs)! Everybody is enjoying the number and it makes me smile. Lal (Mohanlal) sir is somebody I did my first film, 'Iruvar', with. It was so nice to see to see how this song from his film has been loved and appreciated and is a rage. We all love grooving to it!
You lost your father sometime back. How inspiring has he been, professionally and personally?
There is so much to recollect about him. That will be another interview and pan out to a lot of emotional talk. So I'd just like to say that my father is the embodiment of unconditional love. He believed in simple living and high thinking, giving your best, and how service to mankind is service to god. By observation I have noticed that he is that individual who does not just talk about doing something, but actually does it. He is not the one who delegates and finds excuses. I'd like to say 'is' and not 'was' about my father. He made me believe that you can do what you want to if there is honesty and commitment.
How has your association with Longines been as the brand's Ambassador of Elegance?
It's been 18 years together and that is quite a journey. A wonderful one at that. The best part is we, together, feel time has flown. It has been very fulfilling for me. In fact, we refer to each other as family.
How integral has it been to you?
Longines has been part of so many milestones in my life, personally and professionally. It has truly been an elegant journey.
What is the best part of being an actor? And what about it do you abhor?
I am not a complainer. Anybody who chooses to come into this job, ought to have recognised what goes with the turf and in the present time, it's all there on your face, thanks to social media. If you have decided to take a step into this world, you are what you are in for. So brace yourself! There is a lot going on in there but what you are seeing is just on the periphery. Mainly, there is a lot of hard work. And that grows with the demands today because of the avenues and the interests of the number of kids out there to make acting a career option. You have to work hard to find your own identity and today longevity is going to be challenging. If there is something you do not like, up and leave. You have to figure out how to carve your own niche, have your own individuality and leave a stamp of it.