Johannesburg, Feb 8 (IANS) Aishwarya Rai says she as well as the Bachchan household wants to do much more than moviemaking, and the opening of a rural school for girls in Uttar Pradesh named after her is the first step in that direction.
"I'm so glad I have married into a family that feels the same. They're very sensitive about life itself and I'm very glad that we as a family feel the need to do a lot more beyond our craft," Aishwarya, who is the daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan, told IANS in a telephonic interview.
"This is our initial step in this direction and with everybody's support and blessings, we should be able to do a lot more in life ahead."
Aishwarya does not mind the constant public glare when something as innocuous as visiting a temple with her in-laws draws the paparazzi by the hordes.
"I think, as Pa (superstar Amitabh) has very rightly put it in several interviews before me, the fact is that today there is just a lot more media attention. We have always gone to temples or places of worship individually, even before I married into this family.
"It's just a way of life, but I guess with the widespread reach of the media today and with them being everywhere and with the number of television channels and websites and newspapers and magazines, it's going to happen," she said.
Recently, an Indian television channel, India TV, claimed that Aishwarya and top Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie could be related as research has shown that all blue-eyed people have common ancestry from centuries ago.
"This is crazy," the surprised actress broke into peals of laughter. Like most of the times, she was completely rooted to the ground, unfazed by "the strange biological parallel."
Commenting on her "foray" into Hollywood, Aishwarya said: "You know I've always said that it is not a foray - I'm not going anywhere.
"I'm just very glad of the fact that I've been fortunate enough to be able to work in cinema in the larger sense of the term, irrespective of the language or the place in the world it has been made in.
"So, be it Tamil movies; be it a Bengali film; Hindi movies; and a couple of English movies; time is a huge deciding factor in my schedule. The last English film I acted in was 'The Pink Panther 2', which will be released probably by the end of the year or early next year. Let's see what the future holds for me (in Hollywood)!"
Aishwarya will be on board for a Tamil film directed by Shankar opposite Tamil superstar Rajnikant. Titled "Robot", the film is a Rs.1 billion-project and it will be her second movie with Shankar after "Jeans" in 1988.
Incidentally, the 57-year-old southern icon Rajnikant has a daughter named Aishwarya.
Speaking about her forthcoming release "Jodhaa Akbar", which releases worldwide Feb 15, the actress said: "The decision was an instant 'Yes!' Given the character and the script and the subject, it is an actor's dream to be part of such a project."
Asked how it was working with Hrithik Roshan on two movies - "Dhoom 2" and "Jodhaa Akbar" - back-to-back, she said: "I was very lucky to get to work with Hrithik in two movies. They were so diverse in genre, energy and personality.
"At one end is 'Dhoom 2', which was so contemporary - joyous, fast and bold and today and fun! It was just wild energy. At the other end, we immediately delved into the subject with 'Jodhaa Akbar', which is so detailed, so researched and yet so pure, so spontaneous and innocent."
Aishwarya and Hrithik shared good screen chemistry in "Dhoom". And in "Jodhaa Akbar", the vibes were just as good.
"Hrithik and I became friends on the sets of 'Dhoom' because we were all part of a team working in the movie. Hrithik and (my husband) Abhishek grew up together. They were childhood friends and I instantly became a part of the team.
"The energy that we share, the comfort level that we share; I think that is what translates into chemistry on screen."
Talking about her swashbuckling, sword-fighting scene, Aishwarya said she had not undergone any formal training: "The Hollywood film 'The Last Legion' was my first experience of sword-fighting and I took to it instantly. But even here, there was no time for any kind of formal training. We did it right there on the sets."
The former Miss World will also star in a Hindi film by Sriram Raghavan, featuring John Abraham.
"He is putting the final touches to the script. When he is ready with the script, we'll decide on the schedule and when it will go on the floor."
For the immediate future, of course, there is "Sarkar Raj", which is complete.
(Fakir Hassen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)