Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous

Updated: October 31, 2013 17:37 IST

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, often hailed as the world's most beautiful woman, continues to draw gasps of admiration from one and all as she turns the big 40. From being the face of international brands to being a doing mommy to 23-month-old Aaradhya, life has changed drastically for the former Miss World, but Ash is not complaining and describes being a full-time mum as "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, often hailed as the world's most beautiful woman, completes 40 wonderful years today. From being the face of international brands to being a doting mommy to 23-month-old Aaradhya, life has changed drastically for the former Miss World, but Ash is not complaining and describes being a full-time mum as "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

On this special day, we take a look at the life and times of Bollywood's international ambassador as she turns a year older.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya was born in Mangalore on November 1, 1973. Her family belongs to the Bunt community and speaks Tulu. Aishwarya's father, Krishnaraj Rai, is a retired marine biologist while her mother, Vrinda Rai, is a writer.

Ash has an elder brother, Aditya Rai, who is in the merchant navy.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Brought up in Mumbai, Ash studied at Arya Vidya Mandir High School, then moved to Jai Hind College and finally completed her HSC degree from Ruparel College.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
While in college, a young Ash dreamt of becoming an architect. However, destiny's favourite child quickly fell into modelling instead.

In the 1994 Miss India pageant, she stood second, narrowly losing the crown to Sushmita Sen.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Staying true to her indomitable spirit, Ash stuck to her guns and went on to beat 86 other contestants at the Miss World pageant in 1994.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the time honoured tradition of beauty queens seeking Bollywood fame, Aishwarya decided to try her luck in movies.

Three years after winning the Miss World title, in 1997, Ash debuted with the Tamil film Iruvar, a fictionalised account of the lives of Dravidian political icons M G Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi. She played the role of actress-politician Jayalalithaa. Directed by Mani Ratnam, the film was a raging critical success.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the same year, Ash made her Bollywood debut with Rahul Rawail's Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya. Even though Ash won the Screen Award for the Most Promising Newcomer Female, she could not save the movie from being a box office disaster.

Her next movie was the Tamil musical Jeans. The blockbuster, directed by Shankar, was India's official Best Foreign Language Film entry at the Oscars.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
After the mediocre Aa Ab Laut Chalein (1999), which was directed by Rishi Kapoor, Ash delivered a breakthrough performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999).

Aishwarya also bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her stupendous performance in the movie.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
It was on the sets of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that Ash met Salman Khan. It was love at first sight for the two extraordinarily good looking co-stars.

Even though there was no happy ending for the couple in reel life, their real life romance continued for two years and they didn't shy away from going public with their relationship - a rare phenomenon in Bollywood back then.

Alas, their fairytale was to have no happy ending. After a two-year relationship, Aishwarya and Salman split acrimoniously, sending the media into a state of complete frenzy.

The relationship ended on a bitter note, with allegations that Salman had physically abused and verbally threatened Ash on numerous occasions. A few years later, a popular newspaper published transcripts from a phone conversation between the former couple, in which proof of Salman's use of threats and abuses became apparent.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash's talent for dance secured her the lead role in Subhash Ghai's blockbuster Taal (1999).

She was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in the movie.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the year 2000, Aishwarya starred in the Tamil movie Kandukondain Kandukondain, which was a Tamil adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. The movie went on to become a major hit. In the same year, she starred in two movies with Shah Rukh Khan. In Josh, she played his twin sister while in Mohabbatein she played his sweetheart.

. Both the films were declared blockbusters at the box office.
br> Ash also featured opposite her future husband, Abhishek Bachchan, for the first time in Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke (2000). Sadly, the movie was a tragic flop.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
After the success of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Sanjay Leela Bhansali cast Aishwarya as Paro in his magnum opus Devdas, in which she was once again paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan.

The film was a huge hit and swept all the major awards. Ash went on to win the Filmfare Award for the Best Actress, Star Screen Award and IIFA.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In 2003, Ash forayed into Bengali filmdom with Rituparno Ghosh's critically acclaimed Chokher Bali, which was based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore. Critics heaped praises on her performance.

Ash's blouse changing scene in the film, which implied that she was topless, created quite a stir at the time.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
After Mohabbatein and Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Ash teamed up with future father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, again in Khakee (2004). The movie also featured Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Tusshar Kapoor.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash delivered one of her most acclaimed performances in the Rituparno Ghosh-directed Raincoat (2004), an adaptation of the short story ‘The Gift of the Magi' by O Henry.

Even though the film was a commercial flop, it was a critical gem.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
British film director Gurinder Chadha gave Jane Austen's classic ‘Pride and Prejudice' a desi twist in Bride and Prejudice (2004).

Aishwarya played the novel's protagonist Lalita, a Punjabi version of the fiesty Elizabeth Bennet, adding her own charm to the role.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
It was during this time that Aishwarya was dating actor Vivek Oberoi, who insisted on going public with their relationship. However, Ash was keen to keep the relationship low-key after her failed romance with Salman made headlines.

The then couple even appeared together at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

However, after working with Vivek in Kyun? Ho Gaya Na! (2004), Aishwarya quietly ended the relationship and moved on with her life leaving Vivek apparently devastated.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the year 2006, Ash starred opposite Hollywood actor Dylan McDermott in The Mistress Of Spices, which was a film adaptation of Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee's novel.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha's husband, Paul Mayeda Berges, the movie was a miserable flop.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
The late Jag Mundhra, best known for his erotic thrillers, took the true story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, who killed her abusive husband, and made Provoked (2006) with Ash in the lead role.

After Raincoat and Chokher Bali, many consider it one of Ash's finest performances.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In JP Dutta's remake of Umrao Jaan (2006), Ash was once again paired with her future husband, Abhishek Bachchan. She had the difficult task of recreating the role of a 19th century Lucknow courtesan, which had won actress Rekha a National Award in 1981.

Sadly, Ash and Abhi's sizzling chemistry could not repeat the magic of Muzaffar Ali's 1981 version. Even though Aishwarya looked overwhelmingly beautiful, the movie failed at the box office.

However, the movie marked the beginning of Ash's real life love story with Abhishek Bachchan.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
For the 2006 action heist film Dhoom 2, Ash shed not only her demure, girl-next-door, perpetually-in-love image, but her clothes, as well. She completely reinvented herself with Dhoom 2.

A sequel to the 2004 movie Dhoom, Dhoom 2 saw Ash paired opposite Hrithik Roshan, in the role of a sexy thief turned police accomplice.

Shedding the extra pounds she had gained while in Bollywood, Ash bounced back with a body to die for, sharing crackling chemistry with Hrithik that remains one of the highlights of the film.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash's next film Guru, which again starred Abhishek Bachchan, marked a turning point in her life. At the premiere of the movie in Canada, Abhishek popped the question to her, and Ash said yes.

Amitabh Bachchan took to his blog to announce the happy occasion, creating a media furore like none other. Directed by Mani Ratnam, Guru turned out to be a phenomenal success at the box office.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya and Abhishek were married on April 20, 2007 in an elaborate wedding. Bollywood, however, took umbrage to the guest list, which included only a few close friends of the Bachchan and Rai families, blissfully ignoring many of the industry's biggest stars.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Two years later, in 2009, Aishwarya was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
25. Marriage did not stop Aishwarya from continuing to work in movies. The actress delivered a commendable performance in Ashutosh Gowarikar's magnum opus Jodhaa Akbar (2008), where she played Rajput queen Jodhaabai opposite Hrithik Roshan's emperor Akbar, the woman who influenced many of his decisions.

While the movie generated some controversy for its depiction of Jodhaabai and Akbar's relationship, it went on to become a huge hit. Once again, her chemistry with Hrithik had hit the mark.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya and Abhishek's first film together after they were married was Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar Raj (2008), the sequel to the very successful Sarkar (2005). Aishwarya played a character with subtle shades of grey, as did Abhishek. Sarkar Raj was based on Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather II.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the 2009 movie The Pink Panther 2, Ash appeared in the role of a criminology expert, Sonia Solandres, opposite everybody's favourite funnyman, Steve Martin.

She was the film's main villain and also the prominent eye-candy, holding her own against the Hollywood A-listers.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash's bilingual portrayal of the reinvented role of Sita in Mani Ratnam's Raavan (2010) and Raavanan (2010) met entirely different fates.

Raavanan was a huge hit down South and the actress saw that as a potential ready to be tapped. Raavan, on the other hand, was one of the most loathed films of 2010.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Another Southern superhit followed, this time opposite the redoubtable Rajinikanth, in Enthiran (2010). The dubbed Hindi version, Robot, was also a superhit.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash was once again paired opposite Hrithik Roshan in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish (2010). She played Hrithik's Florence Nightingale and reaped rewards for her sensitive but strong portrayal.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya, who has been attending the Cannes Film Festival as the face of L'Oreal since 2002, announced the launch of her next film, Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine, on the French Riviera in 2011.

However, just a short while later she unexpectedly announced that she was having a baby. Bhandarkar, who furiously accused Ash of blindsiding him, first shelved the film and then controversially dropped Ash from the project, replacing her with Kareena Kapoor.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Aishwarya then took a long sabbatical from work, clearly enjoying her pregnancy and, after that, her new role as a mother.

This picture shows a heavily pregnant Ash checking in to the Seven Hills hospital for delivery.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Here is Aishwarya, glowing and happy, soon after the birth of her daughter Aaradhya on November 16, 2011. She was seen at the Bachchans' residence, Jalsa, with husband Abhishek.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
The new mum made her first major public appearance after her pregnancy break at Cannes in May 2012.

Already under public scrutiny for failing to shed her pregnancy weight, Ash had a mixed bag of fashion hits and misses at the Cannes. She earned a thumbs up with her dresses and gowns but left style watchers divided in a cream and gold embellished sari worn with a jacket-style blouse.

Her final red carpet appearance in a grey Elie Saab, accessorised with a huge smile and a carefree wave of her hand, unmindful of the fact that the dress clung to every plus size curve, was a fashion high for her.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
These images are from Aishwarya's first job, a jewellery campaign for Kalyan Jewellers, after her long maternity leave. Ash even inaugurated a Kalyan Jewellers showroom in Kochi on August 19, 2012.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
On the occasion of International Peace Day, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan attended the peace bell ceremony at the United Nations in New York. Dressed in a black and cream lehenga, Ash was among a host of celebrities who took part in the ceremony which aims at ending hostilities among nations around the world. Also seen with the actress was veteran Hollywood actor Michael Douglas (extreme right).
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash looked poised and elegant in a blue Gucci dress at the UNAIDS event where she was announced as its new Goodwill Ambassador.

Who cares about weight anyway when we have that beautiful face, piercing light-eyed gaze and cascading hair to look at?
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In December 2012, Ash was interviewed by British journalist Sir David Frost - best known for his interviews with former President Richard Nixon – at the Whistling Woods International Institute for Films, Media, Animations and Media Arts in Mumbai.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
The weight-watchers were stunned into silence at Amitabh Bachchan's 70th birthday bash. Ash and Abhishek can be seen posing for a picture.

Ash, who looked lovely in a golden anarkali suit was on double duty juggling minding her daughter and playing the perfect hostess at the birthday celebrations.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
We got our first real look at Aishwarya's bundle of joy, Aaradhya, at Big B's bash.

This picture was posted on Twitter by @AishwaryaSpice
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
In the year 2012, Ash finally accepted the second-highest Order of France, ‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres', becoming the fourth Indian actor, after Sivaji Ganesan, Nandita Das and Shah Rukh Khan, to be chosen for the award.

She had earlier refused it because her father was suffering from a serious illness and she wanted her whole family to attend the award ceremony.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
The very private Bachchans kept Aaradhya's first birthday, November 16, a low-key family affair.

However, doting grandad Amitabh Bachchan posted these pictures of his granddaughter with her parents Abhishek and Aishwarya on Twitter.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Since then, Ash has been making her presence felt by making more public appearances.

In this picture, saw Aishwarya looks beautiful in an off-white Shahab Durazi sari with black border at a Longines store launch in Hyderabad.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Earlier in 2013, Ash had unveiled the new Filmfare trophy, featuring a gold base, to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema.

She looked ethereal in a beige Sabyasachi anarkali.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash, who celebrated her sixth wedding anniversary with Abhishek this April, still looks very much in love.

Whether it's a B-town event, a family party or even a world premiere, Mr and Mrs Bachchan Junior seem to have eyes only for each other.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Like every year, Ash attended the Cannes Film Festival this year too. Her wardrobe received mixed reception this time around.

A shimmering Tarun Tahiliani sari and a blue Gucci gown with hot pink lips received minus points for the severe hairdos.

A floor-length anarkali by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla swamped her figure and added years. However, a stunning black lace Elie Saab couture dress was a smash hit, as were a black Zac Posen skirt and white Saint Lauren shirt combo, and a black and gold Sabyasachi sari accessorized with a gold hair ornament.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
While we wait for Ash to pick a comeback film, we have this stunning pictures of her from a recent photoshoot for an international magazine to look at.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Ash and Abhishek have also been roped in as the brand ambassadors of kitchen utensils brand Prestige.
Aishwarya, 40 and fabulous
Here's wishing Aishwarya a very happy birthday and a great year ahead.

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