Can Aishwarya Rai crossover?

August 21, 2007

You can catch her right now in The Last Legion, but you probably won’t because it appears to be one of the worst movies of the summer.

Personally, I’m not a huge Ash fan. I think her stunningly beautiful face lacks real depth. But I do wonder if she will be able to pull it off. Will she ever move to Beverly Hills, when she can stay in India and be true royalty? And what about her Bollywood husband, heir to the throne of Bachchan? Can a traditional Indian man ever succumb to the success of his wife?

It sounds like she has a couple of Hollywood films coming up like Pink Panther 2, with Steve Martin and the Roland Joffe directed period-piece Singularity, where she will play opposite Brendan (Encino Man?) Fraser as an Indian spy named Taluja.

I wonder what these means for South Asian Americans in Hollywood. Does her exposure mean that the door will open for more brown girls, or will it be a step backwards for those actresses not “exotic” enough?




Aishwarya Rai crossing over? May be. But in racist Hollywood, Preity Zinta or even the Kapoor sisters could crossover much more easily. Many ignorant American movie fans would think that Zinta is Italian and this would help her a lot..., the person who will really fit into Hollywood is Rimi Sen, she looks white and her views may be better appreciated among the American movie goers especially the white women...
May be if the Indian female actors continue using skin whiteners, it may just fool them enough to get them into Hollywood.. exceptions being Neha Dupia, Preity Zinta and the Kapoor Sisters. Even the racist Rimi Sen is not white enough..perhaps she can get her director Mr. Shetty to whiten her skin enough and make her pretty enough to get her into Hollywood. Right now she is a tad too dark and ugly for Hollywood.Hollywood is mostly interested in white people or white looking people. Every year approximately 5,000-7,000 H1Bs are allocated to white actors from UK and Australia and some from Canada. Yet no one hears the racist anti-immigration groups such as FAIR and CIS complain about them displacing Americans white or otherwise. In particular Asian Americans have very few opportunities in Hollywood, and yet they import white foreigners with accents and dub the American accent to make them look American eg. Poppy Montgomerry of Without a Trace who is from Australia and Melaney Linskey of Two and a Half Men who is from New Zealand. Unemployment among aspiring American actors is very high. I found at least four attractive women all of them white, living on the streets of Hollywood looking for a break and being chased away by business owners. I dont see many homeless IT people. Yet, to listen to these racist anti-immigration groups, it would seem as though the American IT people are living on the streets due to cheaper (not bright according to these groups, but cheaper) professionals from India and China. Racism, pure and simple.
I agree, the Desis that make it in Hollywood would be the white looking ones. But who needs Hollywood. Independent films are better.
"I agree, the Desis that make it in Hollywood would be the white looking ones."The anti-immigrant groups and the anti immigrant white racists will keep quite if one say Ms. Rai, or white looking actors such as Ms. Zinta, and the Kapoor sisters make it in. But, let the "floodgates" open, all these racists who have been keeping quite about foreign whites displacing Americans come out and protest that these indentured Third Worlders are undercutting and displacing just wait and watch if it ever happens. You will start hearing from Mark Kirkorian and Steve Camarotta of the racist Center for Immigration Studies and Dan Stein of the Federation of American Immigration Reform.
CCBT, thanks for the two article links. I never realized that there was so much chatter about non-American actors playing in American productions. We export film and TV all over the world - an act which displaces indigenous media product.Also an extra thanks for the Little India article. I was a little concerned about halfway through that they were not going to touch upon the very obvious logical 'destination' that the 'fairness' fetish would lead. But they eventually dealt with it head on. That's good.Personally, I've always found the complexion of Tamil girls very sexy.
"We export film and TV all over the world - an act which displaces indigenous media product."It has not done this in India and hopefully it wont..although there is a tendency to include more and more white actors into the Bollywood films...I mean not Indian white like Preity Zinta or Hrithik Roshan but whites like Antonia Bernath and Tom Alter.By the way I look like a typical black male and hence no one bothers me at airport security. On the other hand, I have family members who dont and get harrassed.
i am a male and a indianAishwarya beauty is up for debate. What is the big deal with her beauty. She is common looking.Is it changing the world as we see it? No. Aishwarya is not the most beautiful woman it is impossible to know who the most beautiful woman in the world is everything is up for a debate.Aishwarya is not a big box office deal either most of her movies are flops.I was in Dubai a month ago and I saw the most beautiful looking woman she was in fact perfect. Now that mystery woman could be the most beautiful.
"Does her exposure mean that the door will open for more brown girls...?"If it opens the door for more "brown" girls, trust me when I say that in terms of Bollywood, they'll open for light-skinned actresses such as Aish, Preity, Dia Mirza, Celina Jaitly, etc. Lovely and exotic ladies like Bipasha and Mallika are very gorgeous. But in Hollywood, they'd probably be casted in some flimsy, minor role as the exotic export but not in a substantial role.And remember, a lot of these Bollywood actresses are NOT dying to step into Hollywood. Many are just content with acting in Indian films. In addition, what's more important for serious actors like Aish, John Abraham, Abhishek and Preity is becoming a "global" actor. Becoming famous on a global level does not necessarily mean you have to star in a Hollywood film to become known, although it would help.I think I read that Bollywood films have a larger global audience than Hollywood films do, so in terms of celebrity status, Bolly actors (the good ones) are doing just fine.In general, many non-whites are cast as their respective stereotypes. Note this is NOT the case ALL the time. But what is the percentage of non-whites in leading roles versus the percentage of whites in leading roles? I'd give it a 1:10 or 1:5 ratio.
"If it opens the door for more "brown" girls, trust me when I say that in terms of Bollywood, they'll open for light-skinned actresses such as Aish, Preity, Dia Mirza, Celina Jaitly, etc. Lovely and exotic ladies like Bipasha and Mallika are very gorgeous. But in Hollywood, they'd probably be casted in some flimsy, minor role as the exotic export but not in a substantial role."Zinta and Kapoor sisters are near white as is Katrina Kaif..heck in Namaste London all the whites watching with me thought that Katrina is white. Also if there is ever a significant increase in number of Indians in Bollywood look out for racist anti-immigration groups such as FAIR and CIS to show up. Zinta, Kappor Sisters and Katrina Kaif can all be passed off for whites and the American audience, even the racist ones will not know the difference. Also add Neha Dupia to this list.
CCBT,it is a good thing that India has maintained the strength of its homegrown movie industry. I think Idia is better for it and so is the rest of the world (although personnaly I could live without most musicals). Hong Kong and Korea have also maintained their own voice andit does so irrespective of the white, western audience's acceptance or not. a newcomer is 'nollywood' or the nigerian film industry which will also give a too long silenced continent a chance at a voice.Given the nature of the little india article you posted, i would not be surprised that there is a 'light' fetish in Bollywood. Why would the art media fail to reflect what seems to be a prevelant voice in the population? Flash us some more pictures of those delightfully brown girls!
http://aishwaryaraifanclub.netAshutosh Gowariker's Jodha Akbar, which was slated for release around Diwali this year, may get delayed and in all likelihood release in the first week of January 2008. While Ashutosh Gowariker was not available for comment, UTV, the producers of the film, declined to comment on the release date. Said an industry source, "All decisions are made by Gowariker, besides, there are quite a few days left for the shooting of the film. A period drama like Jodha Akbar will take more than three months for the post production and processes like colour correction."The film, that is yet to complete its shooting, has been facing logistic problems too. From Hrithik's accident to Aishwarya's unforeseen marriage, the delay factors have marred the shooting of the film. Also, the fact that multiple releases are proving disastrous at the box-office this year would have prompted the producers to shift the film. Industry experts indicate that it's been a year of surprise hits and none of the supposedly big films have actually made it good at the box-office. We're not sure, but the presence of other big films in the same period, like Om Shanti Om, Saawariya and Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Pe, may have also have prompted the producers to shift the release to the next year.
Hi, FriendAishwarya Rai, the angel and the queen of the Bollywood, was born on 1 st Nov1973 in INDIA.Born to a marine engineer father and a teacher mother at Manglore,Aishwarya has spent most of her life in Mumbai. She did her matriculation from AryaVidya Mandir and later joined Jai Hind College. She did her twelfth standard fromRuparel College. Having scored well in her exams, she landed in the RachanaInstitute. Please visit For More Detail
All you folks are right. The white looking Indians make it in films, whether american or indian. I am so sick and tired of it. Not all indians are light, most are brown or darker. Be proud of yourself.
You're making a few assumptions here. One- that her husband is a traditional man, and two- that Indian traditional men are not comfortable with the success of their wives. While I do not claim to know her husband, I'm guessing that he's not very traditional as he married an older woman. Also, I do know that men growing up in Indian metros (large, bustling cities with a strong media/arts presence) can have very cosmopolitan and (surprise!) liberal ideas regarding equality in marriages, based on their socio-economic class. (Someone from Bombay won't think like someone from Lucknow. But then, you don't expect someone in Nebraska to behave like a Californian. Also, people can be traditional in a certain aspect of their lives, but very open-minded in another. Life isn't in black and white.On another note, a lot of men, regardless of geography, have a hard time if their wives are more successful than them. It isn't restricted to the subcontinent.
You're totally right Priyanka ... I think I was more harping on the point that a lot of men do have trouble with the whole wifey success thing. And I guess my assumptions about the young Bachchan's traditionalism come from the media reports about his family and that Rai was considering not working to become a traditional wife like her mother-in-law. Such rumours have since been squashed.
Aishwarya Rai is a new phenomenon in the Western world but yet her attitude and her characteristics are indeed typical of an Indian women…you have to be “Indian” to recognize that! This is the reason she is so desirable in the West. Many other foreign women have had the same opportunities and have succeeded, but because Aishwarya Rai is so traditional and guarded of her private life, securing a permanent place in Hollywood seems unlikely. I think she enjoys the odd flick here and there and not necessary to attain Awards but popularity! The “Bachchan” family is very stringent about every aspect of their private life so I don’ think she will do anything to offend her husband. That is the Indian way, I know because I am one.
Neela,Abhishek Bachchan is anything but traditional Indian man. And I am not sure if there is anything that can be easily labeled “traditional” Indian man as patriarchy abounds everywhere in this world in different forms.Abhishek was educated in the West, his family has multiple instances of intercultural marriage, and Ash’s decision to work after marriage is entirely her own and both Amitabh and Abhishek said that they will support her decision. If Abhishek had problems with Ash being more successful, then he wouldn’t have married her on the first place.Secondly, Ash is not trying to “pull it off” as you stated in Hollywood. Hollywood is not the final frontier to conquer for Ash. She clearly stated that she will do projects that excite her and not typecast her into sexualized roles like a prostitute, as is done to other newcomer minorities. Hollywood’s movies are just as vacuous as Bollywood’s, if not more. Besides, any reputable actress will reconsider before getting a role in Hollywood, because it is not the be all and end all for everyone.Your remarks about other South Asians in Hollywood imply a superiority of Hollywood which South Asian girls are trying to penetrate. The truth is that Hollywood is still very racialized and it will take much longer for them to recognize the merit of a multicultural casting. However, studios like Warner Brothers have realized that tapping into the 1 billion plus Indian market is a lucrative venture and have decided to work in India housing Indian projects with Indian directors.Food for thought is that “Brown girls don’t have to come to Hollywood. If Hollywood and the West is smart, they will go where the Brown girls are.”
Maya: I guess the prickly thing here is our perhaps differing definitions of Hollywood. When I refer to Hollywood, I'm not just talking about the summer blockbusters but anything that is coming out of the big American studio system. For example, González Iñárritu's film "Babel" came out of Paramount; "Children of Men" from Universal and Scorcese's "The Departed" from Warner Brothers. I'm not sure I would refer to any of these films as vacuous. Granted, Hollywood puts out a lot of inane shite and there are AMAZING art films coming out of India -- but I'm not a big fan of Bollywood. Does Ash have the range to make films in America without relying solely on her looks? Perhaps that is the real question. The movies that big Hollywood studios are making in India don't really interest me either. I agree, the West needs to get on the Brown girl bus -- but I'm not sure I'm going to hold my breath til then.