Rai, in 2009, was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador of Smile Train, an international charity that provides free Cleft lip and palate surgery to children in need. Her work with Smile Train will focus not only on India, but on 76 different developing countries around the world.
Early Life of Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai, born in a bunt family in Mangalore, was an architecture student before she took up modelling as her part-time job. The family later moved to Mumbaiwhere she went to Arya Vidya Mandir High School. Thereafter, she continued her immediate schooling at Jai Hind College for a year and then completed her HSC securing 90 percent marks from Ruparel College in Matunga.
She is also a trained classical dancer, and later continued with her passion in modelling and acting, and as a result left architecture. She appeared in many commercials and was already approached by big names in India's film industry, offering her starring roles. She rejected the film offers since she aimed to be an architect. However, she was crowned Miss World 1994. In the 1994 Miss India Contest Rai was placed second behind Sushmita Sen and went on to win the Miss World title.
Film Career of Aishwarya Rai
With the film "Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya", Aishwarya Rai was introduced to Bollywood. She was awarded the Filmfare Best Actress Award South for her third project, a Tamil-language film, Jeans (1998) by S. Shankar. Aishwarya then appeared in hit Bollywood films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Taal (1999), Mohabbatein (2000), Josh (2000), Kuch Naa Kaho (2003), Umrao Jaan (2006), Dhoom 2 (2006). In 2002 Aishwarya Rai appeared in the 'Devdas' Produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali with superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The film was a major box-office success and received a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival. It was during this time that she acquired the attention of the West as an Indian actress and went on to appear in a few Hollywood projects like "Bride and Prejudice", and 'The Mistress of Spices', 'Provoked' and her first American film The Last Legion. Rai also acted in the critically acclaimed and commercial success Bengali cinema an adaptation of one of Rabindranath Tagore's novels by the same name, Chokher Bali in 2003. Aishwarya Rai was chosen by Times Magazine
Rai's seven minute dance sequence for the song Kajra Re from the film Bunty Aur Babli was a huge hit. Aishwarya Rai has been a regular at the Cannes Film Festival since 2002, and was a member of the Jury at Cannes in the year 2003. She appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as representative of Indian culture, on behalf of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Delhi. Mani Ratnam's "Guru" starring Aishwarya Rai and her husband Abhisek Bachchan premiered in Toronto, was both commercially and critically very successful. The other films she acted in were Sarkar Raj (2008) Jodha Akbar (2008) and Action Replay, Raavan, Guzaarish, all in 2010. Apart from these she had a foreign film release, The Pink Panthar in 2009 and Raavanan in 2010, a Tamil Film.
Awards and Honours Received by Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai is the first Indian actress to be one of the jury of the Cannes International Film Festival and the first Bollywood star to appear in Rolling Stone magazine. A tulip in Netherlands was named after her. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 2003. Aishwarya Rai was chosen by Time magazine in 2004 as one of the World's "100 Most Influential People". She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January 2005. She is the first Bollywood star to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman and Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment.
In October 2004, a wax figure of Aishwarya Rai became on display in London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum which indeed a prestigious one. In 2009 she got the France's second highest civilian honour, Ordre des Arts et des Letters (Order of the Arts and Literature) by the French government for her "exceptional career" in 2009. She has been the winner of International Indian Film Academy Awards for about 8 times. The Zee Cine Awards, The Star Screen Awards and the Filmfare awards have bestowed on her countless awards for her stunning performances. Rai has been tagged as the "The World's Most Beautiful Woman". Apart from these awards she has been bestowed with the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in Field of Entertainment in 2002. In 2004 she received the GR8 Women Award for Contribution to Cinema. Rai was bequeathed with the highest civilian award, the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India.
Personal Life of Aishwarya Rai
In 1999, Rai was dating Salman Khan; Bollywood actor - their relation was rather controversial one, which ended in 2001. She married actor Abhishek Bachchan on 20 April in 2007 as per Hindu rituals of Bunt community, where she belongs. The couple had a baby daughter on 16 November 2011. The baby girl was finally named as Aaradhya Bachchan in March 2012.