In hindsight, actor and former beauty queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan feels she has been “school girlish” in her choices and feels she should have been more fierce about taking up projects.
“I think I was very school girlish in my choices… I was very good at keeping with schedules, and because of that I kind of walked away from some very great films and opportunities… because I would be sincere to schedules. Now when I think back, I should have maybe been more fierce and aggressive with wanting the films and allowed the schedules to figure themselves out as I have seen a lot of colleagues have worked over the years,” Aishwarya told a group of media in a video interaction from Cannes.
She, however, has no regrets. “There are so many stories to be told, look at the population of the world. There are enough films and enough work to do,” said Aishwarya, 44, who was in the French Riviera to attend the 71st Cannes Film Festival as the L’Oreal brand ambassador.
Having made her film debut with Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar, Aishwarya has worked with some of India’s most well-known filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Guzaarish), Ashutosh Gowariker (Jodhaa Akbar), Rituparno Ghosh (Chokher Bali and Raincoat).
She took a five-year break when she had daughter Aaradhya with husband Abhishek Bachchan, making a comeback with Jazbaa in 2015.
“Recently, there was a colleague who asked me, ‘Was Jazbaa the comeback vehicle you wanted?’ I was like, ‘Guys, it was a script, I liked the idea and I went with it’. I don’t want to play into how one has to go about things,” Aishwarya said as she explained how her choices have always been about following her heart, and not the herd.
“I came in from Miss World, so because I experienced blast of stardom so early, I, from the very beginning — from Mani Ratnam to date — made choices from my heart, and tried being myself… I ended up doing my own thing and not following patterns that existed before, after or what is the natural trajectory of a leading lady in our industry.
“I think that’s why people think I end up breaking preconceived norms… And that wonderfully continues.”
The actor keeps getting asked when will she be seen on-screen next, but she says she keeps dilly-dallying it.
“When I took a break with Aaradhya and even now, I get asked, ‘Why don’t we see more of you?’ Yes, I want to do more films. I have been a little easy on my time planning… I have happily played mummy to Aaradhya and thrown work around here and there. Even now when I am offered a good script, I feel like doing but then I think, ‘Let me take one more holiday this month. I will do the next one’. I think this attitude needs to change,” she said with a laugh.
At the Cannes gala, Aishwarya made a style statement in elaborate gowns. She says she is fine with people “commenting, critiquing or criticising” because “that’s part of being a celebrity, being a public figure and being in the public domain. “That is fine. That goes with the turf… I am very easy with it and everyone has seen it over the years. I don’t disrespect it.”
However, she feels women need to stop judging each other in day-to-day lives.