Fifteen years after she won the Miss World beauty pageant, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan continues to be the most celebrated Bollywood brand ever. With her waist-length hair cascading down high cheek bones, and striking green-grey eyes, with bodyguards keeping vigilance, she looks every inch the diva she is. And we ask...

How’s it feel to be the most beautiful face in Bollywood 15 years after you won your crown?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: I’m not very good at handling compliments but I accept it with grace. I’m grateful to God, my audiences and my filmmakers —be it Mani Ratnam (Iruvar, Guru, Raavan), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Guzaarish), Mansoor Khan (Josh), Ashutosh Gowarikar (Jodhaa Akbar), Ram Gopal Varma (Sarkar Raj), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Khakee), Aditya Chopra (Mohabbatein, Dhoom II) and others who never used just my beauty as the fulcrum. Instead, they kept the beauty and the aesthetics going at the same time in each of the film characters I played.

Life has come a full circle. Even after marriage, you still have the best mak ers backing you.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: These are the same filmmakers I have worked with in the beginning of my career. I got married in the middle of shooting Jodhaa Akbar and when I reported back on his set, Ashu told me that nothing has changed. It just meant so much more hard work for me because when I come to the work front, I don’t want anyone to think of me as being any less professional than I was when I was single. It was important for me to strike the right balance between home and work. All the film-makers I’m working with are super passionate about their work. Thanks to them, I still feel the same adrenaline rush that I always feel when I’m on set.

Earlier this year, you were awarded the Padmashree...
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: It has been a memorable year, every other month there has been some honour. I have much to thank God for.

Abhishek and you have tickled audiences with that recent soap commercial.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: It is ten years of my association with the brand. So they suggested that it would be nice to bring Abhishek on board. Honestly, how time flies.

Amitabh Bachchan said it is for you and Abhishek to make him a grandpa whenever...
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Well, if you ask him a question like that, what can he say? It is an apt answer for a parent to give. When I was on the Oprah Winfrey show, I told her that every time there is even a bump, it is assumed that I’m with child. Being pregnant is not something one can conceal. When I am pregnant, the world will know.

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