Vidya Balan denies rift with Aishwarya Rai ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service


Feb 1 (IANS) Talented actress Vidya Balan has completely dismissed

rumours of a rift with Aishwarya Rai during the making of Mani Ratnam's


"By now I'm used to all kinds of rumours. But this one truly takes

the cake. I can't say we got along like a house on fire simply because

we didn't have that many scenes together. But whenever we worked

together, Aishwarya was a dream co-star ... an absolute delight and

someone I look up to."

She is quick to laugh off reports that Aishwarya was responsible for

her rather short role in the film.

"To even suggest that she had my role cut is so ridiculous. I was

aware of the extent of my role from the start. I did 'Guru' for the

pleasure of working with Mani. There're moments in the film where

Aishwarya needed to reach out to me emotionally. She did it so

naturally and spontaneously that she won me over."

What about stories that Vidya didn't attend the premiere of "Guru"

in Canada because of Aishwarya?

"This is too much," giggles Vidya. "I wonder who's spreading such

nonsense and for what purpose! I was in Australia shooting for Sajid

Khan's 'Hey Baby' on Jan 10. The premiere of 'Guru' in Canada was on

12th. There was no way I could reach there and get back to my shooting

without disrupting Sajid's schedule. I wouldn't do this to anyone,

least of all Sajid Khan who's a first-time director and a dear


She takes a deep breath and adds: "I hope this puts to rest all

these silly speculations about Aishwarya's role in my life. She's way

above all this petty politics. Her dignity in the face of adversity is

exemplary. If I can possess even a fraction of her poise I'd consider

myself lucky."

Vidya, who turned a year older Jan 1, says she is quite happy with

the year gone by.

"After 'Parineeta' I needed to consolidate my position. 'Lage Raho

Munnabhai' did that for me. 2007 will also hopefully start on an

auspicious note with 'Salaam-e-Ishq' and Eklavya."