True-to-life film reveals another side of Aishwarya
Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan dazzled in floor-sweeping gowns at the 69th Cannes Film Festival red carpet in France this week to promote her new film Sarbjit. But in the biographical drama, we see a different, rawer side of the former beauty queen. The movie tells the story of Indian farmer Sarbjit Singh (Randeep Hooda), who was arrested by the Pakistani army and sentenced to death for unknowingly crossing the border. The family’s 23-year battle for justice is narrated through Sarbjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur, portrayed by Bachchan. Bachchan and co-star Hooda underwent drastic transformations for their roles. She was aged up for the role, while Hooda lost 18kg in 28 days. Director Omung Kumar says: “There are very few actors who are mature enough to play a 22-year-old and a 60-year-old also. Young actors can be aged but it looks fake. I wanted that middle person. “Nobody would think of Aishwarya in this role at all. I made Dalbir my way. All the mannerisms of Dalbir are there: the walk, the talk; but look-wise I’ve made Aishwarya not to look like Aishwarya.” Bachchan jumped on the opportunity to take on this role: “I believed in the film from the onset itself. Her (Dalbir’s) spirit is just an incredible divine light, I believe that exists within her, because despite such a trying situation she is a positive human.” Bachchan describes the inspiring woman: “She isn’t embittered, she continues to work, to help people. There is a bigger message in this and that is about hope and recognising the futility of division.” Sarbjit received positive initial reviews at Cannes and the cast were praised for their moving performance. Out in UAE cinemas tomorrow.