Friday, February 11, 2005

'Aish'a bhi hota hai

I tried hard to resist. I thought of avoiding the cliched path. I thought this topic is best left buried. But I read about one more American TV appearance of Aishwarya Rai, and I knew that I had to write about it.

What's with this Aishwarya mania? I really don't get it. Agreed, she is considered undisputably beautiful in India. It is also understood that she has zero selling power at the box office by herself. She really hasn't had any hits beyond the Bhansali camp and the odd Taal and Mohabbatein here and there. I am one of her fans, but only of her looks. I'd like to reiterate that Aishwarya Rai in a saree is God's gift to mankind (pun intended). But really, she isn't paid the kind of obeisance in India as she is being paid abroad right now. When she made it to the jury of Cannes, that was a shocker. She has no body of work to talk about (neither did Meg Ryan, but at least she had Harry and Sally :-))

Is it because she looks beautiful and is urbane enough for the Western audiences? This is the age of Asia, say the Western TV executives. Let's promote people from India. Whom do we promote? Who is looking westward? Who can actually speak English? Lo and behold. There's the beauty queen from India. Why not call her over? Time Asia called her the Face of Bollywood (the crappiest article on Bollywood possible). On all Western shows, she is repeatedly called the most successful actress in India. Hello?

Then came the appearance on 60 minutes. For years, she has been accused of being fake, a plastic beauty. Well, she reiterated it on the show. Look at how she plays the slighted diva when she says the best compliment someone ever paid her was that she looks real!!! What's with all the giggling? You can see the obvious effort to appear smart. Oh, by the way, you can watch the appearance here. I also saw her appearance on David Letterman. She was irritating even more than on CBS. I guess she was trying to pander to the Nascar/NFL crowd, unlike people who watch 60 minutes. And what's the big deal about her doing a kissing scene? It has now become an international issue.

Alright, enough of the criticism. Here are some positives. I like the fact that she tries to sell India, and is a defensive mode when the interviewers feign ignorance about the country. I like the fact that she has been bold enough to think beyond the borders of India and is thinking of true international stardom. I guess I am just jealous that we might lose our beauty queen to the decadent western powers :-) I like the fact that she still looks a million bucks!

When I started the post, I mentioned another TV appearance, right? Here's the breaking news: she might appear on Oprah.


Sachin said...

i missed all her apperances on US TV. Thanks for the link on ur blog.. will have to watch it to form a any opinion.

Avinash said...

Why are u so bitter? :-) For a people who place so much emphasis on physical attributes, it was natural for them to choose Ash. She is after all a former Miss World. Tho i really think all this kissing thing is just blown up ToI tabloid nonsense. I would really like her to kiss. Atleast it might lead to some proper kissing in Bollywood instead of the type shown in Murder et al which just makes u throw up.

RTD2 said...

It is tragic but not so much coz I beat u to it :) I knew u'd end up writing a blog on this issue!
That aside..Avinash, I read your sentence "I would really like her to kiss" as "I would really like to kiss her"! See what happens with the English language when you juggle some words around.."I would like her to kiss really" "I would like to kiss her, really ." And so on! For more on the exciting twists word placement and punctuation can bring to English sentences, check out Especially the Dear Jack letter. Sorry for the long post, I am in a crazy mood today :)

Seema said...

As a female. I can truly say that I think Aishwaraya is no big deal...she appears dumb and fake. Compare her to Kajol. Kajol isn't a beauty but she's pleasant and more importantly she was a warm genuine smile that reflects in her eyes and intelligence! I don't think I've ever seen a "real" smile on Aishwaraya or any real emotion in her eyes.

Seema said...

I feel that Meg Ryan has more personality then her. Yes she does have Harry and Sally! INteresting you mentioned it I just watched it a few days back for the nth time. Love that movie.

phucker said...

Haven't seen any of her interviews myself. And as for her success abroad, let's just appreciate it. I never expected a Shahrukh (sorry had to drag his name in here) or a Kajol to do anything for people abroad. Aish? Somehow she always seemed to fit into this crowd (well I thought). As for acting ability, i've only seen one movie with her in it, and she did act decent in that movie - Hum Dil De Chuke...I can't speak for the rest. Further, I don't know if her acting is really much worse than other actresses. Sorry, like Avinash (or is it Sachin) I'm no fan of Bollywood either.... where 99% percent of the movies are complete trash, in my not-so-humble-opinion. Now if that is the place she's coming from, who's to say if she's really "good" or "bad". if you ask me, she probably just has a good press agent, and some clever marketing savvy, and the ability to think a little outside the box. Hell, Miss World, Bollywood Actress, Cannes Jurist, On the Letterman Show. Name any other Indian to have that on their resume? Whatever you may think of her acting ability, I would rather have her representing India, than Laloo Prasad, Suniel Shitty (typo on purpose) or Veerappan. And ngreat face it is too. Amitabh bachchan said that he never wanted to go to Hollywood because all they offered him was the stereotypical 'Apu' type roles, and I respect him for that. This woman doesn't mind, and seems to know what she wants, lousy interviews notwithstanding. But frankly, I think it's all a flash in the pan. Aishwarya, will be forgotten, and the bollywood craze will die with her. But yea, Parth, you do seem to be a little too upset at her being interviewed. It should be pretty obvious by now, that whatever foreign Media wishes to expose about India, is always a reinforcement of their pre-existing biases and prejudices.

Parth said...

I have no problems with her being interviewed, neither am I jealous of her success. I just feel she is being anointed by the west for their own selfish reasons, and she hasn't really done anything to deserve this kind of 'success'. I am bitter that she pretends to be someone else to please others. I guess all of us do that one time or the other. I don't know, need to articulate better than this.

Geetanjali said...

Ah I know where yo're coming from Parth - I used to admire Ms Rai till initially - but lately she's just too fake and superficial. It's like she's trying to push it into your face that she's made it and that the West has accepted her as the face of India. What galls me is that those ppl there think that Aishwarya Rai is the BEST actress we have around and the most beautiful too - what about the other much more talented actresses we have and those who look beautiful even without make-up, though they don't pander to the Western beauty aesthetics?

Sadly we as Indians too are guilty of alling in that trap, so can we really blame the West totally? Worth another post eh?

Anonymous said...

Wow, can't believe I am playing devil's advocate on Ms. Rai's behalf, but here goes:

She is one of the most visible faces of Bollywood. True, she doesn't have the acting chops of a Rani, or the box-office success of a Preity, but you think Aishwarya and you think Beauty and Bollywood.

The whole kissing kissa. Jeez. I can't believe there is SUCH a buzz and question about whether she will or she won't kiss. The western media constantly asking her this question is ludicrous. Also, quite possibly a moot point. Didn't she lock lips with Vivek in that film Kyun..Ho Gaya Na?... I haven't seen the film, but I have seen trailers that show the kiss.

About her appearance on 60 mins. I could have shot myself. Or her. She was so annoying. Hey, I am all for appreciating perkiness and a zest for life, but she was being presented as the epitome of femininity and as a diva and what we saw was nothing more than a giggling teenager. I thought she was much, much better on David Letterman. She looked like a million bucks and managed to hold her own. There are people who think she should have shown up in a saree to "represent the country", hello, she was there to plug her movie, not as an ambassador from India!

And lastly - Parth, you seemed to have missed her appearance on Good Morning America. There was a pre-recorded interview with Carol Schippman(sp?), where Ash was again asked about kissing, and again blatantly lied about eating just about anything she wants. But wait, there was one rare moment where she displayed a presence of mind. At the end when Carol asked her who she thought was the most handsome man on earth, she responded, "Don't you know him? Charlie!!" (referring to Charlie Gibson, co-anchor of the show).

Sorry about the long comment guys! I should start writing my own blog one of these days!

Anonymous said...

Ash is one of the most known faces from india. Being an indian she has got the fame and name to be recognised in the west. She is not in any group in India and therefore she may be derided in India. The crab mentality of an Indian is seen. Let her dress in saree or skirt how does that matter? what matters is how she pushes Indian cinema along with her own interests abroad.Her conduct has been impecable so far.Only scandal was about the nutty Salman. I wish her the best of luck.