Highlights

  • 'Ponniyin Selvan' marks Aishwarya's comeback to Tamil cinema after a decade
  • Aishwarya plays dual roles in the Mani Ratnam directorial
  • She has praised her 'guru' in several interviews

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'Ponniyin Selvan': Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Mani Ratnam have collaborated for the fourth time.

‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is finally out in theatres. The Mani Ratnam directorial marks Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s comeback to Tamil cinema after a decade. She plays dual roles in the historical drama- princess Nandini, and her mute mother Mandakini Devi.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made her acting debut almost 25 years ago with director Mani Ratnam’s epic political drama film, ‘Iruvar’, and the rest is history. Today, she is one of the most bankable actors, having carved a niche for herself not only in Indian cinema, but also across borders.

Here’s a recap of how Mani Ratnam discovered his favourite student, Aishwayra.

Who introduced Aishwarya to Mani Ratnam?

Cinematographer Rajiv Menon introduced Aishwarya to Mani Ratnam. In a previous interview with The Hindu, Aishwarya revealed that she had worked with Rajiv on a number of ad films, and during one of the shoots, he shared the music of ‘Roja’ and she fell in love with the tunes.
Rajiv, who knew Aishwarya was an admirer of Ratnam’s works, informed the actor that she was being approached for a film, which she initially thought was a joke.

Aishwarya-Mani Ratnam's first meet

The director discussed a few ideas about his film ‘Iruvar’ with Aishwarya during their first meet. He bowled her over with his humility by asking her if she’d do the film when he already knew it was a ‘yes’ from her side.
Mani Ratnam's narration about ‘Iruvar’ assured Aishwarya that this was the film with which she will make her debut as an actor.
She said, ‘Listening to him back then was like sitting in front of a teacher; I just knew that it was the perfect place for me to start my work as an actor. I didn’t have any previous training. No one in my family has ever had any links to the film industry. I was nosediving into it and, when I met Mani, I knew this was where I had to start. I sort of felt like I belonged.’
Post 'Iruvar', Aishwarya starred in Mani Ratnam’s 'Guru' and 'Raavan', and now in multi-lingual film ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, alongside Chiyaan Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi and Trisha.

Aishwarya's equation with her 'guru'

The actor has spoken about her 'guru' Mani Ratnam in several recent interviews, and she has been seen seeking his blessings by touching his feet during the promotions of her latest release.
Aishwarya said she owes a debt of gratitude to the ace director and praised him for making 'Ponniyin Selvan: I', an ambitious historical epic drama.
At ‘Ponniyin Selvan's trailer launch in Chennai, she thanked the director for the privilege and honour to take her as his student in the project. Referring to him as her 'guru (mentor)', the actor said that she has learnt ‘passion, commitment, dedication, and focus’ from him.

Aishwarya's daughter in "awe" of the director

During one of the film’s promotions, Aishwarya mentioned that Aaradhya is in ‘awe’ of Mani Ratnam. She revealed that her daughter Aradhya got a chance to be on the sets of the film and recalled how excited she was when Mani Ratnam gave her the opportunity to say 'action'.
She said probably that’s the most cherished memory for Aaradhya and she values it already and with growing years she’ll cherish it even more.

What happened on sets of 'Ponniyin Selvan'?

Aishwarya’s ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ co-star Trisha, in a recent interview, revealed that Mani sir had to request that they behave less amicably at work.
Calling Aishwarya, one of the hardest-working performers, Trisha told NDTV, she got along pretty famously on set with Aishwarya and there were times when the director would scold them for their 'camaraderie'.Fans are over the moon to see Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Mani Ratnam reunite for the period drama.

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