-- Kaushiki Sanyal
she cannot so get beyond the fact that she is considered as extremely beautiful and has been called "the most beautiful woman in the world." she is perfect in movies like "taal" where all is required from her is to be beautiful, wear beautiful costumes, occasionally let tears roll down her beautiful cheeks, and occasionally spasm and contort her face to indicate emotion...which totally works when you have a regular hindi flick.
however, when you deal with a Chokher Bali or a Raincoat and the movie is riding on the shoulders of an extremely small cast with no snazzy costumes, song and dance routines, and foreign locales, well then, all you have is aishwarya rai trying to act, which is quite painful to watch from the audience end of things.
In Chokher Bali, everything was sumptuous and very period, and the era was captured very well. but, the problem was that none of the other actors in the movie were strong enough to carry the movie and therefore ms. rai's poor performance made the whole movie sag down. she simply could not get into the skin of the character and the problem was that everyone else was in character and doing a pretty good job.
in addition, there was zero onscreen chemistry between ms. rai and the other characters and thus it was hard to feel any sympathy or interest in ms. rai's character. in fact, hard core art movie fan that i'm, i simply could not wait for the movie to end. all along, i kept feeling ms. rai was trying to tell me that wasn't she a good actress and wasn't she doing a good job and to look at her in a simple white sari and no jewelery and see how good she could look.
imo, rani mukherjee, nandita das, gracy singh would have done an amazing job in Chokher Bali.
Raincoat is a much better movie than Chokher Bali due to Ajay Devgan, who has done a superb job. (i have to admit upfront that i'm not an ajay devgan fan. in fact, i find him quite annoying.) He really makes the movie worth watching even when ms. rai forgets her bengali accent and one starts mentally correcting her. i have to say that having ms. rai keep quiet for the most part, as in Chokher Bali, is better than having her babbling and yakking on forgetting the accent she is supposed to have.
are we so short of female talent in the hindi film industry that ms. rai was given the opportunity of wasting two fantastic roles?
-- Sonya Pelia