One of the most famous actresses in Indian cinema, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be one year older on November 1. She started her career with the Miss India Beauty pageant in 1994 and won Miss World. Her acting career began in 1997 with Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar. Aishwarya’s filmography is peppered with several popular films, many of which are blockbuster hits. However, she also starred in some very rare and underrated films. An artist who enjoys experimenting with her craft, Aishwarya has given critically acclaimed performances.
On the occasion of her 48th birthday, let’s take a look at some of Aishwarya’s best performances in her acting career:
Hum Dil By Chuke Sanam
In this drama by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Aishwarya plays Nandini, a carefree young girl who falls in love with a singer. However, after being forced to marry another man, she ventures with her husband to find her lover. In Hum Dil By Chuke Sanam, Aishwarya captures viewers’ attention from the first frame in which she appears. Despite being one of the most commercial projects of her career, she aptly portrays every complex layer of her character.
A film that was forgotten at the box office but has regained much of its fame over the years, this Rituparno Ghosh director is another gem of Aishwarya’s filmography. He follows two lovers, who have been reunited after many years. Manoj (Ajay Devgn) knocks on the door of his ex-fiancée Neerja (Aishwarya) in desperate circumstances. However, he doesn’t know that all is not good in his life. The interaction between the two lovers, with desire and tension, is shown with great compassion by Ghosh. Aishwarya’s performance in one of the best elements of the film.
In Devdas, Aishwarya is an eager Paro, who must let her love go for self-respect and the honor of her family. She plays grief and pride seamlessly, sometimes often at the same time. We see Paro go from an innocent doe-eyed maiden to an aristocrat, battling obstacles and keeping his head held high through it all. Several times in the film, Aishwarya steals the show from her co-stars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The highlight of Devdas is a scene you can’t forget no matter how long you’ve been watching it.
Rituparno Ghosh’s award-winning Bengali film Chokher Bali saw Aishwarya in one of his best career performances. According to the work of Rabindranath Tagore, the actress plays Bindondini, a young widow, who begins an affair with a man married out of loneliness. In this film that questions conventions for women, Aishwarya delivers a strong but vulnerable performance.
In Omung Kumar’s Sarbjit, Aishwarya played Dalbir Kaur, who fought for years for the freedom of his brother Sarbjit Singh, imprisoned in Pakistan on suspicion of espionage and terrorism. Based on a true story, Aishwarya played a shocking role, fully mimicking the pain and grief of a sister. While this is a memorable film in its own right, Aishwarya’s performance takes it to the next level.
Provoked is easily considered Aishwarya’s best performance in her acting career. She played the real role of Karenjit Ahluwalia, who set her husband on fire. The actress played the trauma of a female victim of physical, sexual and mental abuse for a decade and how it all spills over. Aishwarya plays her role with great precision, not letting it go in the direction of melodrama. Provoked is an underrated film that is worn only by the actress.
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