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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan clocks 25 years in movies! A look back at the actor's illustrious ​career

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan created a mark not only in India but internationally too.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan clocks 25 years in movies! A look back at the actor's illustrious ​career
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Iruvar & Fanney Khan

Last Updated: 04.26 PM, Jan 14, 2022


Starting a career with lighter films is what most newcomers opt for. But there are very rare debut vehicles that become memorable despite having completed about 25 years in the film industry. Yes, we are talking about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, whose debut film Iruvar clocks 25 years of its release today, that is, January 14. The film is loosely based on the lives and times of MG Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi, and J Jayalalithaa, played by Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, and Aishwarya, respectively.

The former beauty queen was indeed an interesting choice, but not a surprise, because her beauty redefined something else in Indian cinema. The actor in both looks, as village belle Pushpavalli and as actor Kalpana, was breathtaking, and fans couldn't stop lauding how gorgeous she is.


Before making her big movie debut, Aishwarya left an impressive mark in the world of ads and, of course, even became the second Indian to be crowned Miss World in 1994.

However, it took a lot of time for the viewers to accept her as an actor, and, naturally, if you see Aishwarya's early movies, namely Iruvar, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, Jeans, and Aa Ab Laut Chalen, those films mainly focused on the actor's beauty and impeccable fashion choices.

Before Deepika Padukone, it was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, whose acting prowess was brought to the big screen by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Yes, we are talking about Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, in which she played the role of Nandini. The film starts with her being a chirpy woman who is foolish in love. But as the film touches the second half, it takes a huge turn and we see a very serious and intense side of Nandini. It just took that moment for the naysayers to accept Aishwarya as an actor and someone who is going to rule the industry for sure.

In the very same year came Taal, directed by Subhash Ghai, and even though this film boosted Aishwarya the actor and put her on the map, many filmmakers then realised that she could carry a film irrespective of her male counterparts (Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam & Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna in Taal). Moreover, these films also showed what a graceful dancer she is.

In the year 2000, Aishwarya had multiple releases, including Kandukondain Kandukondain, directed by Rajiv Menon. The Tamil film was an instant success, and fans lauded the actor for standing out despite the ensemble cast including Mammootty, Ajith Kumar, Tabu, and Abbas.

Just a few months before fans witnessed Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya's romantic pairing in Mohabbatein, they got to see them as twin siblings Max and Shirley in Josh. It came as a shocker to many when two of the leading actors chose to play siblings in their first-ever outing together. However, it was majorly accepted and fans couldn't stop gushing over the duo.

Nonetheless, SRK and Aishwarya romanced each other in the Aditya Chopra directorial. However, she was a figment of his imagination, as she had long passed away in the story.

Then came Bhansali to the rescue in 2002, when Shah Rukh and Aishwarya, along with Madhuri Dixit-Nene, came together for the magnum opus Devdas. The film redefined Aishwarya’s and proved that she could perform in an out-and-out drama effortlessly and match up to both Shah Rukh and Madhuri’s acting skills.

In 2003, Aishwarya forayed into Bangla cinema with Chokher Bali, directed by Rituparno Ghosh. This year saw the actor in an experimental mode when she played a negative role in Khakee, which is a huge spoiler, FYI! The same year, she went international with her English debut, Bride & Prejudice, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel directed by Gurinder Chadha.

Not just that, Aishwarya even tried her hand in parallel cinema with Ghosh's Raincoat opposite Ajay Devgn, and was appreciated for her beautiful performance as Neerja.

In 2005 the actor featured in two movies, namely Shabd and the English film The Mistress of Spices. But what fans remember is her special dance number, Kajra Re, with Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in the film Bunty Aur Babli. It was not a usual sight to see a leading lady making a special appearance with a special dance that is still hummed by people.

However, Aishwarya did that before with the 2002 release Shakti: The Power in the song Ishq Kamina opposite Shah Rukh.

With Dhoom 2 in 2006, Guru in 2007 and Jodhaa Akbar in 2008, Aishwarya enjoyed box office success, which not many actors could get back then. She had three blockbusters in her kitty, and each of her characters was poles apart from each other. No wonder she won several accolades for these films.

However, Aishwarya's questionable choices are often neglected as, out of the blue, she delivers a sure-shot hit performance that mints millions at the box office.

The actor returned to the Hollywood space in 2009 with The Pink Panther 2, where she played a very important role. Or can I just say, the main mastermind of the heist on which the film is based?

In 2010, the actor had ample releases before she went on a five-year-long sabbatical due to her daughter Aaradhya’s birth. The actor featured in Raavan/Raavanan in Tamil, in which the actor was reunited with Mani Ratnam after Guru. She also played the female lead in Enthiran opposite Rajinikanth, and the actor brought the sexy back with the role.

Aishwarya featured in Action Replayy and, for the first time, she was seen as the onscreen mother to the grown-up man, Aditya Roy Kapur. Finally, another soulful and intense performance was delivered by the actor in Bhansali's Guzaarish, opposite Hrithik Roshan.

After five years of hiatus, Aishwarya returned with Sanjay Gupta's Jazbaa, which was sadly a box office failure. Her very next release, Sarbjit, also failed to strike a chord with the masses and was declared a flop instantly.

Then came Aishwarya in an ultra-glam and never-seen-before character as Saba Taliyar Khan in Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The actor was appreciated for her bold choice to play a romantic partner to Ranbir Kapoor, and their chemistry also grabbed many eyeballs.

However, the actor once again tried her hand at romancing a younger actor, that is, Rajkummar Rao in Fanney Khan, and it failed miserably.

It's been nearly four years since Aishwarya appeared on the big screen, and fans hope that her magic with Mani Ratnam in Ponniyin Selvan is redefined all over again. Interestingly, the actor plays a dual role in the period drama.

Which of the 25 years of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in movies is your favourite performance by the actor? Do let us know.