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    I did ''Kyun Ho Gaya Na'' for fun: Aishwarya

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Sunday, August 15, 2004
    As usual Aishwarya Rai is pressed for time. She has been on a promotional tour for her new film "Kyun Ho Gaya Na". And before she leaves for London, she's extremely gung-ho about her life and career.
    "I did 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na' because I wanted to have fun. In recent times, I haven't really let down my hair. You know after doing 'Devdas', Dilip Kumar needed to do lighter films. So did I," Aishwarya told IANS in an interview.
    "'Choker Bali' and 'Bride and Prejudice' were taxing because I had to go into new languages and ethos. And as luck would have it, I had an accident during those films. 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na' was a blessing and just in time."
    Compliment her on her young-and-fresh appearance in the film, and she giggles girlishly.
    "I've still not learnt how to take that. When people say I look lovely in the film I'm flabbergasted. I feel I can never be a style icon because I'm always dressed according to my character," she said.
    "If I look young and fresh in 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na', then I've also aged quite a lot to play Niroo in my next release 'Raincoat'. And the two happened at the same time. So I'm definitely playing different persons in every film."
    Aishwarya has no regrets about her rather brief and ill-defined role in Raj Kumar Santoshi's "Khakee" earlier this year.
    "I did 'Khakee' only for the director. Rajji has proven to be a friend. He had been asking me to do every film of his since I came into movies, 'Lajja' included.
    "Even now after 'Khakee', he continues to come for script narrations to me. He's been an undemanding friend. To say 'no' repeatedly to a director of his stature, and that too one who never went hammer and tongs at me in the media just because I said 'no', was awkward.
    "I couldn't say no to 'Khakee' since it required me for just 20 days... I remember Rajji came on the set of 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na' all the way to Madh Island and waited patiently for half an hour. Imagine a man of his stature! But he said, 'No you were working, so why shouldn't I wait?' I liked that."
    When reminded that fans felt cheated by the length of her role, Aishwarya said: "Rajji very honestly told me the role in 'Khakee' wasn't central but it required either an Aishwarya Rai or a complete newcomer. I knew 'Khakee' was a male-oriented film. But I had to do it for Rajji.
    "After all these years, I've to be an open-minded actress. Every film doesn't have to revolve around me. I did 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na' because after a long time I got the chance to do a pure fun film. After going through several very intense roles 'Kyun Ho Gaya Na' allowed me to lighten up."
    Aishwarya is very excited about the impending release of Gurinder Chadha's "Bride and Prejudice". The stunning actress recalled how she signed the film.
    "I remember when 'Devdas' went to Cannes, the Western media was being very generous to me. That made me think of exploring the West as another route for self expression. When Gurinder first came to Mumbai to meet me, we were unable to meet.
    "I finally met her in London when I was there to promote 'Devdas'. She mentioned three subjects. I liked all. When she finally zeroed in on 'Bride and Prejudice', I was more than happy to play Lalita."
    Chadha thinks Aishwarya is going to erupt on the international scene with "Bride and Prejudice". The observation is rewarded with a trademark Aishwarya giggle.
    "Gurinder is very, very sweet. We had such a fabulous time filming 'Bride and Prejudice'. I love Gurinder's energy. It's just perfect for her genre of filmmaking. On the sets, she was very, very sure about what she wanted from her cast and crew.
    "At the same time she was so wacky and fun-filled. These qualities went a long way into giving both 'Bend It Like Beckham' and 'Bride and Prejudice' their unique quality. She's a very strong woman and a good friend."
    Aishwarya is now excited about her second film with a female director that she has just completed. "My first female director Gurinder Chadha has given me a gift called 'Bride and Prejudice'. Now there's Leena Bajaj in 'Shabd'. What a wonderful experience!
    "Hats off to producer Pritish Nandy for putting together the project so quickly. Pritish wanted to start in March when I had some time off. But I wanted to use that time to get to know the director.
    "In March, I got some time to get into the groove with the director and shot the film in June in Goa at a stretch right after my brother's wedding.
    "Working with the whole team - Leena Bajaj, her cinematographer husband Aseem, my co-stars Sanjay Dutt and Zayed Khan - was great fun. I play a very unique character called Antara in 'Shabd'."
    Unlike her boyfriend Vivek Oberoi who doesn't mind discussing his lady love in print, Aishwarya is very guarded about her private life.
    "I'm a normal girl with normal feelings. I go through all the normal experiences. Beyond that I'll go with the flow. Right now there're no marriage announcements happening," she said.


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