Odishatv Bureau

Her claim to fame initially may have been winning the Miss World title in 1994 but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan really came into her own when she started her career as an actress in multilingual films and bagged some great projects with directors as diverse as Mani Ratnam to Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Ashutosh Gowarikar and Gurinder Chadha. Scroll down to see the five of Aishwarya’s most unforgettable performances    

  • Iruvar (1997, Tamil)

Filmmaker Mani Ratnam in an interview once mentioned that he considers Iruvar his best film. He’s right because the multilayered film takes its inspiration from the real life dynamics between MG Ramachandran, Jayalalitha and M. Karunanidhi - the three stalwarts of Tamil cinema and politics. Aishwarya Rai is particularly notable for her double roles as Pushpavalli and Kalpana. Her distinct portrayals of two girls - one a housewife and another as a famed actress is a performance that is hard to match even today.    

  • Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999, Hindi)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s musical romance starring Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai remains a hot favourite with cine goers even today, not just for its music but for the stellar performances of its entire cast and particularly Aishwarya who as Nandini makes the transition from a bubbly, chirpy young girl to a woman in love for the first time who matures and falls in love yet again after an arranged marriage. She showcased her talent not only as a dancer but as an actor par excellence.  

  • Chokher Bali (2003, Bengali)

Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel of the same name penned in 1903. It has Aishwarya in one of her most understated and subtle roles as Binodini - a young widow, who has to come to terms with an uncertain future, seeking love that is elusive. The film won the Golden Leopard for Best Film at Locarno International Film Festival and bagged three National Awards for Best Feature Film in Bengali, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.       

  • Jodha Akbar (2008, Hindi / Urdu)

Ashutosh Gowarikar’s magnum opus is best remembered not just for its extravagant, opulent sets but also for a very chiselled Hrithik Roshan who portrayed a young Akbar and a very mesmerising but feisty Jodha - his wife and the queen of the Mughal empire, played to perfection by Aishwarya Rai. As a reluctant Rajput princess married off to Akbar, Jodhaa creates her own place in the royal household and holds her own against the emperor himself, consummating their marriage only after falling in love.     

  • Bride and Prejudice (2004, English) 

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Gurinder Chadha’s romantic drama ‘Bride and Prejudice’ won Aishwarya a global fan following. She played Lalita Bakshi (Elizabeth Bennet in the novel) to Martin Henderson’s Will Darcy. Hailed for her performance as the haughty yet sensitive Lalita, Aishwarya walked away with laurels for her nuanced performance.