Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's recent release, Sarbjit, has managed to create the right amount of buzz. The film features the actress playing the role of Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's sister.
After garnering raving reviews from the critics all over, Sarbjit finished its Day 1 Box Office run at Rs 3.69 crore. This may or may not be what the makers had expected, but Aishwarya to be at peace with her performance in the film.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan recently opened up and spoke about Sarbjit, her fascination with de-glam characters and what Cannes means for her. Excerpts:
Considering you don't look like the real-life Dalbir Kaur, how challenging was it for you to pull off the role of in your new film, Sarbjit?
I had done one similar - dare I say biopic - Provoked (2006). I had chosen not to meet Kiranjit Ahluwaliaji. The first thing people ask is 'Do you look like each other?' No, I don't look like Kiranjitji or Dalbirji. And both the directors (Jagmohan Mundra and Omung Kumar) were clear about not playing into that.
They wanted me to essay the part because they believed the actor could do justice to the character. When it comes to physicality, you refer to the original photographs and use that for styling. But some things you need not replicate. Like in Provoked, we did not replicate the bob cut. I had a blunt. You can show a visual translation of a character without necessarily doing a photocopy.
How much research went into playing Dalbir Kaur?
We had references of her speeches, there is a lot of usage of hands, and we brought that in. There is also a certain way that she projects her voice - when you meet her, you sense her resilience and strength, but she is also soft-spoken.
So we brought that in too. She's an incredible lady. I don't believe in asking a lady who's gone through a painful journey about her ordeal. It is insensitive. I first met her on the set when Randeep (Hooda) and I were shooting an intense scene. She was moved watching us perform. She probably relived a chapter of her life. We just hugged each other and shared so much in just that one embrace. We communicated in that one hug.
When you play such an intense character, is it difficult for you to emerge out of it once the shoot is done?
When I'm in front of the camera, I'm giving from deep within my soul. But once you've given that part of yourself, it's not necessary to come back and ruminate and dwell in it. I'm a mother. I have a life to come back to. Maybe, if I were a single girl in the city, staying alone in an apartment, I'd end up living with my day's work. But I live a whirlwind life. So I'm immediately onto the next mode and I'm full throttle into that.
Is it challenging to do such a non-glamourous role?
It's never been only about the superficial for me. I hope I have made that obvious with my choices right from the start. My first film - Mani Ratnam's Iruvar - wasn't about glamour. When Omung (Kumar) came to me with this subject, I said yes in five minutes because I was well-versed with Sarabjit's story. The script throws light on the subject largely from Dalbirji's perspective.
While there's been media reportage, somehow, the human story is left to people's perceptions. I felt that here was a story that could awaken people's sensitivities. I wanted to be part of that narrative. It's a departure for me to be playing Dalbir. To be willing to play someone in their 60s is to be fearless. As an actor, this underlines my attitude, my secure perspective. This story had to be told.
Your Cannes look has come under the scanner this year because of the lavender lips.
I work with L'Oreal, it's their prerogative and I am cool about it. It is my professional commitment to deliver what they expect from me as their ambassador. I get to work with great professionals and they have been magically creative with me. We started having fun with it. It is a hair, makeup product company and that is what it is projecting. It works in tandem with fashion.
You have been to Cannes for 15 years now.
I have gone there initially for my films like Devdas, then as a jury member, for the opening ceremony, and as a brand ambassador, besides a couple of times for our cinema. I feel fortunate to take Provoked there; there was a shout out for Raincoat (2004) -- the work was celebrated. It's a blessing when you get chance to take your work there. I have done that year after year and you all have liked it. I will go with the flow.
-- Sourced from Anita Britto, Bollywood News Service