Aishwarya Rai also was known by her married name Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is an Indian actress, model and the winner of the Miss World 1994 pageant. Through her successful acting career, she has established herself as one of the most popular and influential celebrities in India. Rai has received numerous accolades, including two Filmfare Awards from eleven nominations, and she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009 and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France in 2012. She has often been cited in the media as “the most beautiful woman in the world”.
While in college, Rai did a few modelling jobs. Following appearances in several television commercials, she entered the Miss India pageant, in which she placed second. She was then crowned Miss World 1994, after which she began receiving offers to act in film. She made her acting debut in Mani Ratnam’s 1997 Tamil film Iruvar and had her first Hindi film release in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya that same year. Her first commercial success was the Tamil romantic drama Jeans (1998), following which she achieved wider success and won two Best Actress awards at Filmfare for her performances in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002).
Rai garnered critical appreciation for portraying a passionate artist in the Tamil romance Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Tagore’s heroine, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a depressed woman in the drama Raincoat (2004), Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British drama film Provoked (2006), as a nurse in the drama Guzaarish (2010) and as a justise-seeking sister in the biographical drama Sarbjit (2016). Rai’s greatest commercial successes have been the romance Mohabbatein (2000), the adventure film Dhoom 2 (2006), the historical romance Jodhaa Akbar (2008), the science fiction film Enthiran (2010), and the romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016).
Rai married actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007 with whom she has one daughter. Her off-screen roles include duties as a brand ambassador for several charity organisations and campaigns. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2003, she was the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.