Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Cannes bad taste

Publié le 20 Mai 2009

For me the yearly Cannes festival is not much more than an industry's self-celebration which is probably best left unwatched, but these days, it’s difficult to miss Cannes photos and interviews even if you’re only slightly interested in Bollywood. Aish comes every year to France, and being a Frenchman, I feel pleased that she does. But I wouldn’t have said anything about it if there hadn’t been two or three rather injurious remarks levelled at her, which I heard and made me feel rather embarrassed, and I wouldn’t like people to think that all French people, whom Aish always thank so warmly for their welcome, should be categorised in the same bunch as some of them.


First interview, at Canal+ (a French private channel), Aish is welcomed by a panel of personalities, one of whom declares that if she’s here, it’s because she “really deserves it”, a transparent allusion to her endorsement of Loréal  (their silly slogan being “parce que je le vaux bien”). Not much to say there, because it’s Aish’s decision if she wants to earn money that way. Then a woman asks if she would like to perform a few classic movements such as can be seen in Indian films, and Aishwarya, sensing that perhaps she is turned into not much more than a clever performer, retorts “you'll have to watch my movies, babe!”, which even if a little flippant (she could have left out the “babe”), did point to that silly habit of self-satisfied Europeans who look down on people from other parts of the world and reduce them to their pleasant idiosyncrasies.


Seconds later, the French humourist Frank Dubosc, who was sitting next to her, tried a good one, and said that he was pleased, because he’d thought the organising staff had told him he would be sitting next to Rika Zarai, not Aishwaya Rai. Now Rika Zarai is a 71 year old franco-jewish singer who recently suffered from a stroke, and using her, even if it was to set off Aishwarya in contrast wasn’t exactly in good taste. And of course, there was no way Aishwarya could understand the joke; she just sat there, trying to compose herself, feeling out of place, and in fact told Frank Dubosc that “we could not understand”…


At another interview Aish was asked whether she would contemplate nudity on screen… Rather flustered she started to explain she had never contemplated that, and would never do so, but then realised she had been trapped into actually talking about it, so she stopped in her tracks, and
verballyslapped the journalist : “you’re a journalist brother, let’s leave it at that!” If you're like some bloggers I've read in relation to these things, you  might be tempted to say that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a high and mighty star who cannot take a joke. She snubs everybody, I've read, she can take a bit of snubbing herself. For me, at any rate, a journalist who can ask an actress why she doesn't perform nude has a degenerated conception of what it is to be an actress (or a woman even), and not much sense of dignity. Am I that old-fashioned?


All of this points to the sad fact that the show-business is nothing than a business, and that those who join it with a certain amount of principles (Aishwarya belongs to that number, even if she compromises with the star-system) must be ready to fight for them.

Rédigé par yves

Publié dans #Bollywood Talk

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I absolutely agree with your analysis Yves, Aishwarya is actually deeply Indian, traditionally speaking. And even if she attends each Cannes festival, she's just always puzzled by French humour which doesn't care about conventions and people's feelings. Ariane Massenet's questions are always a bit childish unfortunately and I don't think it was meant to hurt her. I think that Aishwarya should also learn to take it easy and be more sportive by eluding questions in an easy-going manner. She must remember that she is evolving in the cruel yet exciting world of big stars. Thank you for your posts, I really appreciate your film reviews. Old is gold , keep making oldies alive!
<br /> Hi Astia,<br /> Thanks for your comments and for visiting! I completely agree with your way of saying things; indeed I don't think A. Massenet had meant any harm, yet the way it came out was typical of a kind of<br /> cheap journalism that we tolerate because it's so common, but it's basically disrespectful.<br /> Thanks for your encouragements too.<br /> <br /> <br />
You'll have to watch my movies, babe??!!!!!!!!!!! EWW!
<br /> Yes "Babe", that did come as a shock!<br /> You know, I wonder if that word didn't slip out of her mouth because she was herself doing the babe thing!!!<br /> <br /> <br />
Wow!  Such an insightful post!  America always treats foreign stars with a certain amount of condescension so I suppose it makes sense that France would do it to.  It really just highlights our prejudices, na?
<br /> Hi FG,<br /> Yeah... well I suppose you just right and that's all. But it does hurt, no? Pity you can't always decide to opt out of your nationality. These days, I could be... Burmese!?<br /> cheers and thanks for visiting<br /> <br /> <br />