The actress is struggling to recreate her onscreen magic despite several ‘comeback’ films.
The iconic Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s second inning has been far from encouraging as her four films have received a lukewarm response. Immediately after she returned from motherhood, Aishwarya did an author-backed part as a single mother trying to retrieve her kidnapped daughter in Sanjay Gupta’s Jazbaa. Unfortunately, she looked ill at ease in the tailor-made role of the traumatised mother while her chemistry with her onscreen daughter was also woefully lacking.
Next came director Omung Kumar’s Sarbjit, where she played a real-life character for the first time in her career, that of Dalbir Kaur, the sister of Indian soldier Sarabjit Singh. However, the film bombed in spite of all the effort. Once again, she failed to do justice to her role. After this, she played a Pakistani poetess who has a fling with a younger man in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Though the film did moderately well, it cannot be called a success.
Says a leading trade analyst, “Somehow Aishwarya’s comeback films are not working. It could be her selection of roles. It certainly can’t be the way she looks, as she is looking better than in any of her films.”
Apparently, Aishwarya contributed a whole lot of inputs to her character in Fanney Khan. “Even the idea of the tattoo on her wrist was her’s. She hand-held debutant director Atul Manjrekar because she knew they were treading on wobbly ground. But the final outcome was far from appealing,” says a source close to the Fanney Khan team.
A prominent filmmaker who has worked with Aishwarya feels that she lacks the emotional depth. “She wants to go from Jennifer Lopez to Meryl Streep, but she doesn’t have the range. In Jazbaa, she played a traumatised mother but looked shallow and too taken up with looking glamorous. In Fanney Khan, she is fine singing, dancing and playing the pop diva. But when she has to communicate her character’s loneliness, she is at a loss. Aishwarya lacks the emotional depth to pull off 40-plus characters,” says the filmmaker.