Aishwarya Rai to play antagonist in Mani Ratnam’s period drama
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan greenlights mentor Mani Ratnam’s period drama that will see her as an antagonist
There has been much speculation around Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s next, with rumours suggesting that she may reunite with Mani Ratnam for a film based on the historical Tamil novel, Ponniyin Selvan. In the latest development, mid-day has learnt that the actor has given a go-ahead to the period drama. With his favourite actor on board, the auteur has now put the multi-lingual into overdrive and hopes to take it on floors by the year-end.
The film, based on the life of Arulmozhi Varman who became the great Chola emperor, will see Rai as the antagonist. Says a trade source, “The story takes place in the 10th century before Raja Raja Chola became a king. Aishwarya will be seen as Nandini, the wife of Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, who served as the chancellor and treasurer of the Chola kingdom. Her character is written as a mysterious, power-hungry woman who manipulates her husband to plan the downfall of the Chola empire because she has been wronged by them.”
While Rai has previously portrayed grey characters in Khakee (2005) and Dhoom 2 (2006), it will be interesting to see the performance that Ratnam extracts from her. Ever since her film launch in Iruvar (1997), she has given some of her most stellar performances under his guidance. “Aishwarya was approached for the project last year. But she bid her time, understanding the layers of her character before giving the nod last month. Contrary to reports, Amitabh Bachchan is not part of the movie. Mohan Babu will play Aishwarya’s husband.”