Tbt to when Sanjay Leela Bhansali was mesmerized by the eyes of Aishwarya Rai on their first meet

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Published by Nibedita Goswami on 18 Jun 2021

Sanjay Leela Bhansali admired Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s beauty with talent in his film, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999 which was later stretched with the masterpieces like Devdas and Guzaarish. But Aishwarya’s first meet was on the screening of the film,  Raja Hindustani. The director got mesmerized by the eyes of the actress and saw a ‘fire’ in her.

Talking to Filmfare about his first meet with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the director says, “There’s something in her eyes. That’s the most important aspect of her beauty. They are not ‘normal’. They are so powerful that even if you don’t give her dialogue, they emote. Some eyes have devi shakti (power of the goddess). Like Hemaji’s (Malini) eyes. Like Lataji’s (Mangeshkar). Also, her eyes are beautifully coloured and fill up naturally. When I met her for the first time inhi aankhon ka asar huwa tha (these very eyes had affected me deeply). I remember we were at the screening of Raja Hindustani.”

he adds sharing ever-glorious first meet of him with Aishwarya in the lobby, “After the film she came up to me in the lobby, shook hands and said, “Hi! I am Aishwarya Rai. I liked your work in Khamoshi.” Our hands met, our eyes met. I saw a fire in her eyes. Those days I was looking for a girl to play Nandini. I said to myself, ‘Yehi to hai meri Nandini (she is my Nandini)’. People had doubts, whether she would deliver because she had a Miss World image and a Western face. But I thought why not tie her hair in a plait and give her a traditional look?”

The director reveals that other Bhansali films like Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat also been offered to Aishwarya.

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