Here is an excerpt from Aishwarya Rai’s interview with Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra
Aishwarya Rai , I don’t know if you would remember but last year when we met here, you gave me this mantra about what you do at Cannes – ‘I go with the flow, enjoy the show’. But in the same evening, your lilac lipstick sent the internet into a meltdown. It was just perfect timing.
It was not pre-meditated, I cross my heart and promise you, it wasn’t. Talk about going with the flow!
So, has all that frenzy around that shade of lipstick changed anything for you, or is it still ‘go with the flow’?
Absolutely, it’s still the same. There was so much I had packed in on that day, it was day three. I had to take Aaradhya [her daughter] to the carousel, the ice-creams, the beaches – I had to do all of that amidst the professional commitments. I had the Sarbjit (2016) press conference in the morning, then all the personal stuff, and we made it literally in the nick of time to the Martinez, we got ready and had to run. Then I had to bring our team on the red carpet, who had never done it before.
So that was obviously for my brand commitments, for L’Oréal, and to ease my team into what the red-carpet experience could possibly be like. None of us knew how it would unfold. I think the festival was generous to give that kind of a platform to the entire team of the film. Charlotte, who has worked on my makeup for years, saw that dress which was full of weaving, and she pulled that purple lipstick out and asked me, ‘What do you think?’.
I told her that ‘you’re the expert, this [pointing to her face] is the palette, do your artwork and have fun’, because there’s so much else that I’m focusing on. I trust the team I work with, because they are obviously looking after the interests of the overall impact, which has only been positive year after year. And if not, it’s art. I’ve always said this from time to time – Picasso, like it or don’t, Mona Lisa, appreciate it or don’t, that’s the artwork, not me, but what I’m trying to say here is that that is creativity, that’s art, that’s fashion. It was never meant to outrage, it was just a shade.
It was great, because it evoked that kind of a reaction and that’s what’s happening in the present time – you get to experience and realize that the world has become a smaller place on social media. Everyone has an opinion, so go out there, communicate, and we’ll smile along as we always have. And like I said, go with the flow and enjoy the show!
This is your 20th year in making movies. What are you looking for now as an actor?
What I did the first time. Nothing changes, and that’s what I’ve always firmly believed. I genuinely feel like a student, that there’s so much to do that’s not being done. It’s not just a feeling that I have, I genuinely believe in it. There’s a lot of time that gets committed to making any piece of cinema and those are the kind of filmmakers I’ve worked with, largely. I’ve never been in a rush to pack in more number of films year after year, which at the time I’d started was so different for a leading lady. People were belting out releases and mine would come precisely at the same interval twenty years hence, which is two or three at the most in a year.
That’s been the pace because that’s the way I like to work – to be more involved with my filmmaker. Initially of course there’s learning, a learning curve recognising the kind of work you want to do. There have been times where I was able to commit to the kind of cinema I really wanted to do, and sometimes not but I’ve never been the kind to back away or drop a film, so then you complete it and you learn from the experience, whether that was something you actually wanted to put out or that was just one more ‘under the wing’ in terms of an experience that was not enriching or fulfilling enough, so you continue searching. But that is what this place and the creative energy is always about, you don’t always know.