Aishwarya and Pink Panther Interview

Posted on Oct 4 2013 - 11:41pm by bollywoodhatke

The Lady Miz Diva:  Namaskara,

 Please allow me to congratulate you on the tremendous honour of the Padma Shri Award given to you by the Indian Government.  That’s like the Medal of Freedom in the US or the French Legion of Honour.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan:  Namaskara.  Thank you so much, it’s an absolute privilege.  It’s really humbling.

LMD:  What did that mean to you to be honoured by your government that way?

ARB:  It really, really is absolutely a very special honour because it’s granted to you by your country.  It’s a recognition accorded to you by your country, by your government and it really holds a very special place.  I truly cherish it.

LMD:  Was there a ceremony?

ARB:  Yes, that will be in a couple of months and it’s going to be awarded by the president.

LMD:  Wow!

ARB:  Yeah, it feels good.   What makes it really special is when people react to it and respond to it the way that they do, it just makes it that much more special in your life. It’s among the four top honours granted by the government and it’s special.

 LMD:  Of course we must talk about Pink Panther 2, which was so much fun.

ARB:  Exactly! {Laughs} I’m so glad you said that because that’s something I’m fighting with reminding the viewers that that’s the core of it, but that’s exactly it. That’s exactly the reason I was so happy to be a part of it, because it’s a franchise I’ve grown on. It’s just fun, it’s a fun film, its Pink Panther. Steve Martin is a total institution in entertainment and I think he is just fabulous as Clouseau. After Peter Sellers, who we grew up on to have Steve Martin take it forth is just wonderful.aishwarya-rai-pink-panther-2-03


LMD:  How did you even come up for consideration for the role of Sonia?

ARB:  Well, through my manager I was asked about the movie and the script and they ran the script by me and I thought the role was fun.  I mean, you already know what Pink Panther’s gonna be like; you know it’s gonna be one hell of a journey, you know it’s gonna be fun and family entertainment.  So, when they sent me the script, I was like – I hate that I’m finding myself repeating myself – but that’s it, the word fun is what describes it.   And there was a great ensemble cast that have been brought together, so I was like this is an experience that I will definitely cherish, because where do you get an opportunity to work with the kind of team which has this incredible body of experience behind them, whether it be Steve Martin, of course, whether it’s Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, you’ve got John Cleese, you’ve got Jeremy Irons doing a cameo, you’ve got Lily Tomlin doing a cameo, it’s just such a fantastic team.  Emily Mortimer is in it {and} Yuki {Matsuzaki}.  So I was like, one minute, this is gonna be the chance of a lifetime, where you’re doing a fun film, and then again having the opportunity with actors who are all willing to be a apart of this fun journey, even thought everybody has this wonderfully diverse experience in terms of their own individual body of work. So I was like “All right, great.” I signed to be on board in a quick duration, it was a short, tight schedule and fun.  I was very happy to be on board.

"The Pink Panther 2" Spain Photocall

 LMD:  I was surprised by the quality of the actors appearing in Pink Panther 2 like all those you mentioned.

ARB:  It just goes to show that all these actors, who do an incredible variety in terms of the kind of work that they normally accept, when they’re willing to be a part and I literally mean a part of a project like this.  You know it’s just gonna be a fun trip and come together and put up a good show, that’s really the spirit with which we’ve all come together and that’s how we were happy to be onboard.

LMD:  And you can really see that the whole cast is having a good time.

ARB:  Exactly, and no one here is a beginner.  Everybody here has done their gig and you’ve been acting for a couple of years, you don’t have to reiterate in terms of ‘All right, you’re here and you’re serious about your work.’ You’re just happy to take on a variety of work, do different kinds of roles.  There are some movies which are intense acting pieces, there are some movies which just like this, a fun trip an ensemble cast happy to be aboard, there are some movies where it is a biography or historic piece. It’s great when you can mix it all up and just give your audiences different facets to you as an actor and this is one such trip.

LMD:  We got to interview Steve Martin a week ago and he kept us in stitches.

ARB:  {Laughs} That’s totally him!

 LMD:  I wondered if he was that funny all the time onset? Did you laugh a lot making the film?

ARB:  Yeah, we all had a really good time making it because it was just natural; the kind of scenes we were putting together, it was all a laugh.  It was great that we did it in that spirit and with that kind of energy and God Willing that’s what got translated on screen.

LMD:  I asked Steve Martin, Jean Reno and your director Harald Kwart about working with you and they said you were absolutely wonderful, but Steve said he had no idea of your following and your popularity until you filmed in Paris and these huge crowds of fans and the paparazzi showed up.

ARB:  {Laughs}  Yeah and that was the first day of filming and they were like, “Wow, does it get this way?” Because they had blocked off the street to shoot and they were everywhere. {Laughs} There was a huge crowd.


LMD:  Are you used to that, paparazzi following you wherever you go?

ARB:  It’s a fine line because you’ve got paparzzi and then you’ve got your well-wishers. {Laughs}

LMD:  Well, that’s a problem too, isn’t it? Because you want to be good to your fans.bollywood-aishwarya-rai-bachchan-6

ARB:  No with fans it’s never a problem, because they’re just expressing their love. I mean it’s people here we’re dealing with. They just want to make that connection and to talk. Everyone’s out there just appreciating your work; they’re just being loving. You know there’s a fine line between stalkers and fan and well-wishers – I don’t like the word “fans,” I always say well-wishers – so, there’s a fine line between that.  That apart, well-wishers are easier; if you’re busy, if you’re at work everyone’s very understanding.  It’s incredible, their patience, I mean, sometimes I’m like “Guys…,” you know?  I mean you feel guilty, because like when we were in Paris and it’s cold and you’re filming and they’re just so sweet, they just wait.  I’m like “Are you serious?” and they’re there.  On a humane level, I never find it impossible to make the connection with well-wishers. And paparazzi… well, what can you do? {Laughs} You just have to accept that it’s part of the territory; I mean otherwise I think you’re deluding yourself.

LMD:  In my research of your, I found a clip on YouTube where you were asked this incredibly rude question by an Indian reporter and you told them off with such grace and logic in two languages!

ARB:  That’s how I try speaking {Laughs}

 LMD:  How do you keep your cool in that situation when there is so much interest in your personal life?

ARB:  Well, I guess you’ve answered that question already.  With patience, with grace and dignity; which is something that you’ve grown up with.  By trying your best to communicate and hope that people get you.  And if they don’t, then they just don’t – and they never intended to, you know what I’m saying?  You try to make the communication because this is part and parcel of our life and we’re always going to get the opportunity to speak to each other, but if a person is willing and receptive, then the word will be put out as it actually is.  And if you’re not receptive then you recognise that the intention never was and you move on.

LMD:  I spoke with Akshay Kumar and he revealed that he has done 120 films.

ARB:  Wow, really?

LMD:  Yes, that’s what he said.  I wondered if making that many films that was something you could picture for yourself?

ARB:  I didn’t know, has he really?  Wow!  No, my number is nowhere close, but then again I don’t remember having a free day.  I think the kind of films I have attracted and worked on in my duration, which I don’t think is as long as Akshay’s, but within that time I think just the kind of films I’ve worked on have been huge by the time it’s taken into making them.  I’ve put my best into the kind of work I’ve done. No, the number is nowhere close and no regrets on it.

You know, it’s not about the number of films, I mean God Bless him and good luck to him and his energy is incredible, but I think it’s just the kind of films that you do than the number and it’s just what your schedule and your time permits. That’s always a huge deciding factor in my array of film that I eventually end up doing, because sometimes they give you so many more, which are just so attractive and exciting, but there’s no way you can fit them into your schedule. So time has always been a huge, huge deciding factor in eventually narrowing it down to the number of films I can do.

LMD:  I need to ask about Slumdog Millionaire and whether you’ve seen the tribute to a certain member of your family? {Indian cinema legend Amitabh Bachchan is Aishwarya’s father in law and Slumdog Millionaire’s young Jamil Malik leapt into an outhouse cesspool to get his autograph}

ARB:  {Laughs} You know, because of my schedule I still haven't managed to see it.  I wasn’t even in Mumbai, I was filming elsewhere. Anil {Kapoor} did call for to the premiere, but I wasn’t even in the city.  I was really happy for the entire team; for the amount of pride it’s brought them and the kind of laurels and accolades. I think that’s fantastic. {A.R.} Rahman is just so special. He is someone I’ve worked with in so many movies and I’m a fan, I love him.  He is just a wonderful person, so I’m really, really happy for his awards and I’m sure there are many more coming. I’m happy for the entire team and I look forward to watching the movie.

LMD:  What’s next, Aishwarya?

ARB:  Ha, what’s next? What’s current!  Currently I’m already working on Mani Ratman’s Raavana; I’m working on both the Hindi and Tamil version.  Then there’s Shankar’s Robot, which is a Tamil movie.  Next, I’m going on Vipul Shah’s movie with Akshay.

LMD:  With Akshay? Oh Great!original_Abhishek_46fb5a4eecac8

ARB:  Yeah… and they’re already cracking jokes that both Padma Shris are in it. {Laughs} {Akshay Kumar also was awarded the Padma Shri along with Aishwarya} And there’s Sanjay Bhansali’s with Hrithik {Roshan} later in the year and Abihnay Deo’s with Abhishek {Bachchan, Aishwarya’s husband}.

LMD:  Okay, when do you breathe?

ARB:  See what I mean?  And still it’s nowhere close to 120.  But, yeah, it’s full, the diary is full and it’s a busy year, in good films.  I mean good subjects; I’m excited as an actor to be doing different things in each of them, which is what I always look for.  Yeah that’s about it, and Pink Panther, I’d like to keep reminding the viewers to remember it’s an ensemble film and it’s Pink Panther. It’s a fun trip and that’s the way it ought to be viewed!

LMD:  In light of that insane schedule, I’d like to thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

ARB:  Thank you.  Please give all to your readers all my love and thanks for their appreciation.

~ The Lady Miz Diva

February, 1st, 2009

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