‘It is my honour and privilege to work with Mani Ratnam’: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
All roads led to VR Mall on Wednesday afternoon, where actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made a rare public appearance in Chennai. Aside from dropping in occasionally with her husband Abhishek Bachchan for the Chennaiyin FC matches, the actor has, for the most part, kept her visits to the city very hush-hush. But that doesn’t diminish her love for Chennai, insists the 45-year-old, who was in town to launch a store (dressed in a stylish, shimmery silver pantsuit). “It is all the people who make Chennai a place of such love, warmth and memories for me,” says Aishwarya, when asked what she loves about the city.
She continues, “I have been coming here since I worked on my first movie, Iruvar, with Mani (Ratnam) garu. I have worked on so many films in Chennai. I have enjoyed many things about the city — visiting the temples, filming in the studios here, working with so many professionals. I have received such love, warmth and respect. There are so many memories. I share a deep connection with the people of Chennai, and I cannot thank them enough for all the support and making me feel comfortable every time I am here.”
Aishwarya, who has been selectively choosing her roles ever since she got back to acting after a five-year sabbatical, was last seen in the Hindi film Fanney Khan (2018). Down south, her absence has been even longer — having acted opposite Superstar Rajinikanth, way back in 2010. Which is perhaps why her recent casting in Mani Ratnam’s adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan has been talked about. The film, which is a dream-project-of-sorts for the ace director, also stars Karthi, Jayam Ravi and Vikram in the lead roles. Aishwarya, it is reported, has been roped in to play Princess Nandini, the wife of Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, the chancellor/treasurer of the Chola Kingdom, in the eponymous epic novel, written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.
Upon being asked when audiences in the South will get to see her on-screen again, the actress shyly responded, “You all already know. I am working with Mani garu, my guru, in Ponniyin Selvan. It is my honour and privilege to work with him any and every time, throughout my lifetime as an actor. I am really looking forward to it,” says the actor, who has, in the past, worked with the director on films like Iruvar (1997), Guru (2007), Raavanan/Ravan (2010).