Birth Name: Aishwarya Krishnaraj Rai
Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
Birthday: November 1, 1973
Birthplace: Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Rai was born in Mangalore on 1 Nov,1973 to Krishnaraj and Vrinda Rai, in the South Indian state of Karnataka; her mother tongue is Tulu.Rai attended the Arya Vidya Mandir at Santacruz, Mumbai, then entered Jai Hind College, Churchgate, Mumbai for one year and then moved to Ruparel College, Matunga, Mumbai to finish her HSC. She was an A student and was on track to become an architect. Her mother tongue is Tulu. She also speaks Hindi, English, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil.
In the 1994 Miss India Contest Rai placed second behind Sushmita Sen and went on to win the Miss World title.
As a professional model, Rai has appeared in many Indian fashion magazines, including the Indian Vogue; more recently she has featured in international ads for L'Oréal, De Beers Diamonds, and Coca-Cola.
The first film she acted in was the popular Tamil movie Iruvar in (1997), directed by Mani Ratnam. Rai's earliest films made money, but Rai herself did not impress critics -- they commented that her performances were stilted, as if she were still modeling.
Her breakthrough came with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Later successes include Taal and Devdas. Rai has also acted in other Tamil films such as Jeans, Kandukondain Kandukondain, and in the Bengali film Chokher Bali.
Devdas, in which Aishwarya joined Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, was a huge hit, lavishly produced as it was. The film attracted overseas attention as well, receiving a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
Rai was becoming an international star rather than simply a Bollywood one. In 2003, Rai was a member of the jury at Cannes. In 2004, she was chosen by TIME Magazine's Asian Edition as one of Asia's "100 Most Influential People." Rai was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on January 2, 2005 - "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." A month later she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and on April 25, 2005, she was featured on Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment. A wax figure of Rai is on display in London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum.
Although frequently the subject of gossip column speculation about an imminent Hollywood career, it was only in 2004 that Rai finally acted in a foreign film. British director Gurinder Chadha hired her to play the heroine in Bride and Prejudice, a Hollywood-funded but Bollywood-ized version of Jane Austen's classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. The movie did well at the box office and Aishwarya's Hollywood profile rose a notch.
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