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Aishwarya Rai turns 33
She rules the hearts of millions and is touted as one of the most beautiful actresses ever to grace Indian cinema. Aishwarya Rai, who turns 33 Wednesday, returns to the marquee after a long hiatus - playing a courtesan in "Umrao Jaan" and an oomph girl in "Dhoom 2". The actress, who is said to be dating Abhishek Bachchan, will reportedly announce her engagement on her birthday. According to insiders, Abhishek's ailing grandmother Teji Bachchan is eager to see him married, and the couple is said to be planning to tie the knot early next year.
But Aishwarya, who is apparently attending family dinners and get-togethers at the Bachchan household, is tight-lipped about her relationship.
She is currently busy promoting her two films. In Yash Raj Films' upcoming "Dhoom 2", Aishwarya plays a hi-tech thief along with Hrithik Roshan, while in J.P. Dutta's "Umrao Jaan", a screen adaptation of Mirza Mohammed Haadi Ruswa's Urdu novel "Umrao Jaan Ada" and a tragic historical, she plays a courtesan.
Aishwarya never believed that success can be attained by doing a lot of skin show on screen.
"I am not comfortable about kissing or nudity. I am clear about what I want. I'll work only with good directors who'll offer me two-dimensional roles. The director and the role are most important.
"Women in the industry have been exploited very often but there are some actors who believe that the short cut to stardom is through nudity or exposure. Such success is, in fact, very short-lived. I have never done a kissing scene nor do I have intentions to," she is quoted as saying.
Since she set foot in filmdom, the India media has been sometimes nasty to her but she hasn't bothered much about what they thought or wrote about her.
"Someone asked me why I'm politically correct, even when people hit out so openly at me. But the truth is I've never been brought up to behave any other way. I can't say anything hurtful about anyone. I just don't believe in saying mean things. I won't feel good doing that. This is the way I am.
"I'm amazed how many people feel good hitting out at me. They're welcome to do it. Earlier, they had more leeway to deny their indiscretions in print. But now on television they look pretty ridiculous denying what they say," she has said.
Apart from promoting a wide variety of disparate brands, Aishwarya has many firsts to her credit - she has the distinction of being the first Indian actor to be a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival and also appeared on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
About her appearance on Winfrey's show, she told the media: "I never thought I'd actually be meeting her -- and that too, on her show! I was extremely happy to be on her show. I admire her."
She also appeared on another prestigious American talk show "60 Minutes".
She has graced the covers of international magazines like TIME, which placed her on their list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World Today". Aishwarya has also been termed as one of the most beautiful women by TIME magazine.
Aishwarya, whose last Hindi release was "Shabd" that sank without a trace at the box office, is hoping to hit the bull's eye with "Umrao Jaan", "Dhoom 2" and Mani Rathnam's "Guru". While "Umrao Jaan" releases next Friday, "Dhoom 2" is set for a Nov 24 release and "Guru" in December.
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