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    Talking Hrithik never distracted me: Aishwarya Rai

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    Hrithik never distracted me: Aishwarya Rai
    Aishwarya Rai speaks to Subhash K Jha on the pleasures of going back in time.

    Your life changed completely --from Ms to Mrs?during the making of Jodha-Akbar.
    Yes, that's true (laughs). It's the film during which I get married. That makes it very special. Five years ago I'd have never imagined I'd have got married during the making of a movie.

    I'd have thought I'd finish a movie, take time off for my wedding, like any other girl getting married. Never did I imagine I'd be working through my marriage. When I look back I smile at how it all happened.

    The making of every shot and every frame in Jodha- Abkar has been unique for the whole team. We worked through all changing weather seasons and circumstances. And those don't show up on celluloid. That's quite an accomplishment. We were in Rajasthan a bit. Then in Karjat. The whole team worked really hard.

    Jodha-Akbar isn't your first costume drama. Do you feel comfortable in the genre?
    I've done other costume dramas, yes. Yes, I played tawaif in Umrao Jaan and I went into Roman history in The Last Legion. But never before a Mughal historical. So Jodha-Akbar is a first.

    And the main challenge for me was to overcome the perception that I've done this before. Because I haven't. I wanted to create a completely new character. Of course it's the same face and personality.

    But I had to assume Jodha's persona beyond exterior props like clothes and hair. I'm very glad people who've seen it so far have responded to my character as something I haven't done before.

    That for me and my director is a joy, as it always has been, be it my character in Guru or earlier in Devdas and Raincoat. In the posters the audience should be looking at Jodha, not Aishwarya Rai..

    Was it tough getting into all those Rajasthani costumes?
    Patience has always been a virtue. I've had experience of elaborate costuming and makeup before. Though I must admit have never done this amount of accessories and embellishment before. Another first!

    But there was pre-certainty about my familiarity with the dressing-up. The director knew I'd be able to get every stitch in place before arriving on the sets. But for Hrithik the costume-drama was a first.

    He'd look at me and acknowledge my familiarity with the genre. But familiarity didn't make it any easier for me.

    Hrithik and Abhishek feel you and Hrithik make a very special pair?
    It makes it damn exciting to know that Hrithik and I earlier did a totally different world on screen in Dhoom 2. Hrithik has been a special co-star. We've shared a fantastic rapport that gets translated into wonderful chemistry on screen.

    We're both genuinely commited to our craft. That apart, we share a special friendship from the time we did a commercial together many years ago. Even before that I had been approached for Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir.

    That's the first time we met. He was very new then. I was also offered Krissh. But had no dates.We never came around to working together in a movie until Dhoom 2. It was a very new genre for me. But because of the friendship we stuck doing Dhoom was a pleasure.

    I think part of our comfort level comes from the fact that Abhishek and Hrithik are childhood friends. So vicariously I was already a part of that brat pack. I'm so amused when I hear them sharing childhood memories of the parties that they both attended together.

    All three of us had a ball during Dhoom 2.

    What about all these rumours that Hrithik was trying to distract you during the shooting of Jodha-Akbar?or was it the other way around?
    Just goes to show how unfounded these rumours are. You're confused about who was distracting whom. Hrithik and I both find it beneath our dignity to even respond to these rumours.

    How does one explain something so baseless? We know how well we worked together and how comfortable we were doing our two back-to-back films?and both so diverse in mood and era.

    Hats off to Ashutosh Gowariker for actually envisioning you and Hrithik in the Mughal era after Dhoom 2
    Actually he signed us before the release of Dhoom 2. Nothing changed in Jodha-Akbar after Dhoom We were all like-minded people creating something we believed without looking over our shoulder.

    Just a silly thought?.how did everyone tell the two Ashs apart on the sets?
    Ha ha I've always called him (Ashutosh Gowariker) Ashu. But people do call him Ash. I remember during my world tour with Aamir people would keep referring to Ashutosh as Ash.

    Did you miss out on time with your husband because you were working?
    God bless them for being so supportive. Abhishek and I got engaged in January 2007. That's when the shooting of Jodha-Akbar gathered momentum.

    Earlier there was sporadic shooting in Rajasthan. But Ashutosh and Hrithik were very accommodating. My personal life was never allowed to put a spoke in the wheel. Between January and March 2007 I worked really hard to finish maximum work before marriage.

    Ma and Pa (the Bachchans) were really concerned about my stretched working- hours. I'd be rushing from my old home in Bandra to my new home in Juhu to my shooting I Karjat. I'd be all over the place.

    How did you manage it?
    I've no idea how I did it. I traveled back every day from Karjat though the unit had made provisions for me to stay overnight in Karjat.

    But I had to return to be with my new family. I was fully committed to Jodha-Akbar during the day.

    Then after pack-up I was fully committed to my family. There was no way I wouldn't participate in this new and exciting phase in my life.

    Did you feel torn between work and marriage?
    No question of that. I was very clear about my priorities. Even the time between shots I wasn't connecting with Abhishek and my new family. I was preparing for my next scene.

    So time spent with the unit between shots was sadly limited.

    Otherwise the time spent in traffic within Mumbai is so much, traveling to Karjat was just a bit more of an effort. So complaints.

    When have you ever complained about anything?
    Ha ha. That's because I'm clear about my priorities. Everyone was so co-operative and considerate. Only we knew what effort we made to make Jodha-Akbar.



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