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'Ash and Abhishek have good chemistry'
April 12, 2007 15:08 IST
Former editor of Femina, Sathya Saran has known Aishwarya Rai from the days when she competed for the Femina Miss India crown in 1994.
In the months leading up to the Miss India as well as the Miss World beauty contest Saran, formed a close association with Ash, which continues even today.
A few days before Ash's wedding to Abhishek Bachchan, Saran remembers the girl who enrolled in the Femina contest and wishes her well for her marriage:
When I first saw Aishwarya, she was like any other human being. The only thing that set her apart was a certain presence, which I think was due to her modelling experience (she had done a Pepsi ad and some other shoots before).
She was well groomed, came from a good home and had a pleasant personality.
When she decided to join the beauty pageant, the other contestants got very scared and we had people dropping out of the contest!
Miss India contestants prepare hard for the crown. But I don't think Aishwarya had to work that hard. She was naturally slim and only needed to tone her body. We had to persuade her quite a lot.
When she won the Miss World title, she came to the Times (Times Of India) office and gave each person with whom she had interacted, a small present and a handwritten 'thank you' note.
After her success, everybody expects her to be exceptional. Everybody wants to clamber for her attention and get her to do things. I think that is the reason why she maintains a certain distance. Otherwise, she would end up doing everything that everybody wants.
I remember someone wanted her to do a campaign for eye donation. I picked up the phone and asked her if she could do it and she agreed immediately. She didn't even take money.
Another time, when I had gone for her brother's wedding, I remember she made it a point to locate me and even introduced me to her new sister-in-law.
As for her having an attitude, I think it depends on who talks to her. If you approach her with preconceived notions, she is going to react -- anyone in her place would do that. But if you talk to her about a relevant subject -- like if you are doing an interview of a certain movie and you ask her about the film -- she will answer intelligently. She is a very intelligent woman.
Being in the public eye all the time has made her put up a kind of fa�ade, I think. Who wouldn't hide their feelings if one is always being watched and judged?
It's been a year and a half since I met her. Now, when I look at her, I see a certain maturity. She has grown on screen as well as off screen.
Recently, I saw her talking about her movie Provoked on television and I noticed she had very little make-up on. That speaks volumes about her self-confidence. Other beautiful women feel insecure without makeup.
She needs a good director to make her even better. I have seen her in movies like Raincoat, and more recently in Guru, where she was very good. I also loved her in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and thought the progression of her character was brilliantly done.
As for her pairing with Abhishek, I think they have a good chemistry. During their first movie together Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke (in 2000), he was very shy. She kept teasing and ragging him. It was all very friendly -- more like 'I am a star and I am helping you become one' kind of camaraderie.
Today, Abhishek is a star in his own right. I think they should be good for each other.
I would always like to wish her the best in life. I also would like to wish her parents the very best for standing by her and making her the strong woman that she is now.
Sathya Saran, who is presently the editor of the ME, a DNA publication, spoke to Patcy N.
Sathya's photograph: Zakia Shakhir