Doing Sanjay Gupta’s Jazbaa has been a life-changing experience for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The film taught her the importance of balancing home and career. In what could be termed a glorious comeback, Aishwarya dazzles in this week’s release. The compliments flow, though for now, the one opinion that matters to her is yet to come.
“Abhishek has not seen Jazbaa as yet. Neither has the rest of the family. But they will soon. Their opinion means the world to me,” says the still stunningly-beautiful actress who took a three-year break from acting to look after her daughter Aaradhya.
The decision to stay away was easy but the resolve to return was not.
Confesses Aishwarya, “I was very clear about my priorities. It was my daughter above anything else for me after she was born. Now that she is going to school and has friends, I could think of doing a film again. And I did. But it wasn’t easy. And Aaradhya was with me throughout.”
What Jazbaa has done for Aishwarya is to make her conscious of the tough choices working mothers have to make.
“Chalo, for me at least there is the freedom of flexibility. Whether I work or not is my choice. The hours that I decided to shoot were worked around my daughter’s time-table. But what about those thousands of women who must work with no room for concessions as a mother. How difficult it must be for them to wrench themselves away from their children!”
Seeing her glow on screen it’s evident that Aishwarya hasn’t aged by a day since we last saw her in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish 4 years ago.
She laughs her trademark laughter and says, “Believe me; I’ve done nothing to look the way I do. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t do any of the things one is supposed to do.”
Jazbaa finds Aishwarya Rai Bachchan packing in a punch-filled performance. She attributes it to her co-stars and director. “When Gups (Sanjay Gupta) narrated the script to me I immediately thought of Irrfan and Shabana Azmiji for the two other main characters. When I told Gups this he said he too was thinking about them for the roles. So we were on the same page from the start.”
On the sets, Aishwarya found the atmosphere easygoing and fun. “Gups was open to suggestions, ready for discussions. He was never rigid. Never the know-all on the sets. If I get more directors like him to work with I’ll certainly do more films.”