Is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing a negative role in Mani Ratnam's next?
There's no official announcement yet, but the director seems to be collaborating with his favourite actress -- they've worked together in Iruvur, Guru and Raavan before -- for fourth time in a Tamil film called Ponniyin Selvan.
This time, she's playing the antagonist.
A source close to Aishwarya tells Subhash K Jha that she was reluctant to go grey.
"It isn’t even grey," the source says. "It's an out-and-out black character.
"Aishwarya was not inclined to do a negative part at this stage in her career.
"She believes, and perhaps rightly so, that she has to set an example to her fans.
"In a country besieged with crime, she does not want to glorify negativity by playing a negative character.”
Mani Ratnam convinced her about the character and why she needed to play it.
"Aishwarya flew down to Chennai to meet her second-favourite director (after Sanjay Leela Bhansali).
"He sat her down, narrated the script and explained why, as an actor, she must do this.
"As for her misgivings about what her daughter Aaradhya would think of her mother playing a 'bad woman', Mani assured Aishwarya that Aaradhya would be proud of her mother when she was old enough to understand what acting is all about,” says the source.
Apparently, this was all the convincing Aishwarya needed.
In an earlier conversation, Aishwarya had said, "There are two filmmakers I can never say no to -- Sanjay (Bhansali) and Mani sir.
"I started my career with Mani's Iruvar where I had to play a complex character of a politician and speak in Tamil.
"I knew nothing about either (politics or the Tamil language) but he had faith in me. That’s what gave me the courage to go for it."