New Delhi, March 23 : Last year she was seen in just one film - Hollywood’s ’Pink Panther’. But this year Aishwarya Rai has four films lined up for release - two southern projects ’Ravana’ and ’Endhiran’ as well as ’Action Replay’ and ’Guzaarish’, collectively costing over Rs.300 crore (Rs.3 billion).
While her bilingual sci-fi film ’Endhiran’, starring southern star Rajnikanth, is said to be made at a budget of Rs.125 crore (Rs.1.25 billion), approximately Rs.45 crore (Rs.450 million) has been spent on Mani Ratnam’s much-awaited ’Ravana’, which is set for a June release.
Vipul Shah’s ’Action Replay’ costs around Rs.60 crore (Rs.600 million) and if reports are to be believed, UTV is shelling out close to Rs.80 crore (Rs. 800 million) for Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed ’Guzaarish’ for which Aishwarya is currently shooting along with Hrithik Roshan in Mumbai. Aishwarya has been busy shooting all these films for the past one year and even suffered health problems due to her hectic schedules.
According to a well-placed source from the team of ’Ravana’, the Hindi version of which also features Abhishek Bachchan, the actress has given some of the most difficult shots in the movie without complaining about geographical or weather conditions used to can the scenes.
’Aishwarya’s role in ’Ravana’ is the toughest. In the Hindi version, Vikram (southern star) plays Ram and Ravana in the Tamil vesrion. And Aishwarya plays Sita in both the Hindi and Tamil versions. Both the versions were simultaneously shot. Mani Ratnam canned the film in the most difficult and dangerous places. Still Aishwarya gave the same shots twice for the two versions - be it in the rain, on mountains, jungle, etc,’ a source said.
’People say Vikram’s role in the film is the toughest, but the actor himself feels Aishwarya’s role is the most difficult,’ the source added. While shooting for ’Ravana’ in the jungles of Kerala, the entire cast and crew had a scary experience when an elephant ran amok and killed a 51-year-old mahout, Andavan. The actors including Abhishek, Aishwarya, Vikram, Prabhu and Munna had to take shelter in a guest house and survived on bread and eggs.
’Ravana’ is said to be a modern-day version and a loose adaptation of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Apart from ’Ravana’, Aishwarya’s role in another southern project ’Endhiran’ has been a well-guarded secret till now, but some leaked photographs of the film’s shooting show her in a different avatar.
’Action Replay’, starring Akshay Kumar, is a time-travel tale in the 1950s and its storyline is based on an eponymous 1994 Gujarati Indian play. The director has emphasised a lot on the lead actors’ ’retro looks’ in the movie.
’We, Akshay’s designer Shabina Khan, Aishwarya’s designer Manish Malhotra and all of us have worked really, really hard to give ’Action Replay’ a unique look. If that look is leaked out, we’d lose our biggest USP,’ Shah had said.
In ’Guzaarish’, the actress will play a married nurse who falls in love with a paraplegic patient essayed by Hrithik.
Though each role is different from the others, it remains to be seen which one of these strikes gold at the box office.