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On her character in Dhoom:2 (2006): "It`s the kind of character I have never essayed before. Sunehiri, my character in the film, is distinctly different from any other character you have seen me play. That`s what makes her exciting to me. For the first time in my life I went through a bit of a fitness regime. Contrary to popular belief, right since modeling, to the (Miss World) title, to films, I have never been a fitness freak or exercised." (October 2006)

My reason for choosing a film is not to impress people. I don`t choose films for the box office. (November 2006)

Indian cinema has begun to be recognized globally. And it`s very important for us to make our presence felt at important events such as Cannes. I feel there should be more Indian representation at festivals. India is producing such a large cross section of films. We need to be part of world cinema, and we need to do that now.

I am not comfortable about kissing or nudity. I`ve never said I`d never kiss, or whatever on screen. I`ve always maintained I`d cross that bridge when I come to it. Again, I`m accused of playing it safe. The truth is, I don`t know what tomorrow holds. So I can`t make a close ended principle about it. (2007)

I choose films with characters that I feel are relative to a woman`s growth for me. In The Last Legion, I play a warrior. This was a first for me and it was a fantastic experience. I would like very much to do more action films. As for the right direction, I make my choices and always move forward one step at a time. (4-26- 06)

I only entered Miss India after pressure from friends and because I thought it would be a laugh.

On donating her eyes after death - "People know me more because of my eyes. So, I decided to donate my eyes. But before that, I acquired all the information about the campaign. Within what time after death one has to donate eyes, and all other information. Only then I decided to donate my eyes. It`s not that just for doing something, I donated my eyes. I found that useful so I did it. I like to do social service from my heart. Whatever is possible I do, but I don`t speak of that. But I would like to give more time to it in the near future."

As far as The Last Legion (2007) is concerned, it is a film based on a book (A novel by Valerio Manfredi). I don`t think the character of Meera (her role) is there in the book. I did the film for the new experience and it is for the first time that I was with a complete foreign crew. Working with Ben Kingsley was a great experience. Meera is an Indian in the film and she has great roots and you will identify with her strength. I feel for Indian audiences, and want them to feel pride in what I am doing: I am not doing films just to be there as guest appearances.

Good films are good films regardless of being made in India or abroad. I believe a great story transcends cultural lines and language barriers. (American Way Magazine, 3-15-06)

Comedy is difficult for an actor. But I think I have a good sense of humor and manage to make people laugh and make them happy.

My family is my strength and my weakness.

About turning down the role opposite Jackie Chan in the movie _Time Breaker (2004)_, "I did not have the required dates as I was busy with the shows abroad. I had to turn down the film. I have no regrets because there is always a next time."

I know for a fact that if there`s a role which I am suited for, I`ll be signed on. I`ll never go begging.

Her advice to aspiring professionals: "My biggest concern is always the students who are working toward a certain career - when they limit themselves to just that one option. They need to know that the world is huge - it`s an ocean, and there are so many options. It`s not the end of the world if they don`t get to pursue an apparent childhood dream. That`s really important, because you find a lot of kids who believe that they want to become a doctor or an aeronautical engineer or something, and if they don`t manage to make their degree, that`s the end. They feel so defeated, which is very disheartening. It`s sad to know that people let themselves be limited by these aspirations." (Forbes Magazine, August 25th 2005)

I was studying to be an architect, I wasn`t plotting to join the movies. Films were just another career option. I took acting up with the same schoolgirl enthusiasm I had for examinations. Acting is a job and I take it very seriously.

Life will take its toll on all of us. We get injured, we get old. It`s really sad to try to run away from these harsh realities of life. Looks are not everything. I am not going to look beautiful all the time.

Right now, I`m following the Buddhist principle: Smile as abuse is hurled your way and this too shall pass.

On meeting producer Harvey Weinstein for the first time at the 2005 Time Magazine`s 100 Most Influential People: "He is a big fan of Indian films. He has seen Devdas (2002/I), and said he respected my work. It`s a big compliment coming from somebody who has such an immense body of work and yet is so humble from him? He discussed a few ideas and scripts with me. He is starting his own company. We are discussing projects. Time will tell all."

On attending the dinner for Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2005: "I am surprised at my life`s turn of events. Six of us were asked to raise the toast for the evening. And I raised it for my parents and for my fans, without whom I wouldn`t have reached where I am today. Nicole Kidman had to rush out for some premiere, but she said that she and her son loved Bride and Prejudice and I told her how I loved all her performances. Sean Penn told me that I spoke well and I told him that I`ve always been his fan!"

About the sari on the Oprah show: "I thought I`d wear one on the show, and packed two of them, in case Oprah wanted to wear one too. As luck would have it, my flight was delayed and I reached minutes before the show went on air! So I had no time to change, which is a pity. Americans love the garment but have no clue how it`s tied. Oprah is very respectful and appreciative of all cultures. She was very curious about the sari and I helped her put it on, on air! She has sent me an autographed picture saying, `Next time we change the blouse.` She was very sweet." (Rediff, May 18, 2005)

The audiences feel I am part of their life so they worry about me. I think that is very sweet of them and I tell them that when I will marry I will announce it. When I get married, you`ll know. I believe in marriage and it is a beautiful institution. (November 2006)

It`s strange that Rakesh Roshan thinks I look older than Hrithik. In fact, he`s approached me for all his home productions.

About being on the Oprah show: "Yes, I was extremely happy to be on her show. I absolutely admire her. I never thought I`d actually be meeting her -- and that too, on her show! It`s so strange. But prior to our meeting, during my visit to the US for the premiere of Bride & Prejudice, I had some afternoons off and I watched Oprah. I thought how wonderful it would be to be on her show. And within a month, I was!" (Rediff, May 18, 2005)

About her film Chaos (2006): When this came to be early this year, I was ecstatic. I couldn`t believe that I was actually going to work with Meryl Streep, someone I`ve always admired. In all my interviews 10 years ago people used to ask who is your favourite actor and actress and I would mention Robert de Niro and Meryl Streep. On my first trip there I met up with de Niro and my first film is with Meryl Streep, and I said, `Oh God that`s really, really cool. Really wonderful.

On the rumors that her black eye was the result of abuse by Salman Khan: "For some perverse reason, no one wants to believe me, that I fell down the stairs. First the media calls me the woman of the millennium, a woman of substance. Then how can the same media make me out to be such a doormat? I`m a self-respecting woman, I don`t take nonsense from anyone. No one tries caveman tactics on me. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger can fall and get hurt, so why should I be any different?"

I`m just average woman with average concerns.

I am not comfortable about kissing or nudity. I am clear about what I want. I`ll work only with good directors who`ll offer me two-dimensional roles. The director and the role are most important. (Movie Mag International, September 2004)

I always knew I would be successful. So there was no element of surprise.

You give to the world your greatest gift when you`re being yourself.

On Umrao Jaan (2006) being her first Urdu language film: "Since our generation speaks English, we are not very fluent in Hindi, leave alone Urdu. I loved those dialogs and the experience to work and know about that era. For me, it was a study of Urdu on the sets under the guidance of JP and Javed saab."

I know for a fact that if there`s a role which I am suited for, I`ll be signed on. I`ll never go begging.

Ever since I went to the Cannes festival, the media overseas really encouraged me to consider the possibilities of working in the West. Then I got a call from some people who worked in the business in America, who asked me to first obviously get an agent so that they could have direct access because that`s the way they work.

I`m not the type who`ll yell about my achievements from the rooftops.

I was more excited than scared, at the opportunity to work in an English movie.

Life is a stage, and we are all characters. So play your part and play it well!

I have never done a kissing scene nor do I have intentions to.

It`s nice to be important, but it`s more important to be nice.

I have never deliberately driven attention to the fact that I am working in Hollywood films. I have categorically stated that I am working in different kinds of films, be it British, Hindi, Tamil or Bengali. It`s all about doing films, which are my passion.

About Rekha: "Rekha is very inspiring. It is not necessarily relative to just one performance, but her entire career, the span of characters that she has essayed, the performances that she has delivered itself is extremely inspiring. I am inspired by her performance. But I cannot ape her." (October 2006)

On why she participated in the Miss World Pageant in 1994: "For me, it went beyond being a beauty queen. For me, it was about being the 20-year-old girl from India on international platform and a lot of people actually would assume that I wasn`t even educated in India because of the way I`d speak. And they`d be like, `Have you studied in India? Do you actually speak English out there?` and, I was like, `This is so interesting that so many people know so little about my country.` and this is exactly what I wanted to do when I set out on this little mission in my head." (Jan 2005, 60 Minutes Interview)

Even in India the Hindi film industry might be the best known but there are movies made in other regional languages in India, be it Tamil or Bengali. Those experiences too are different from the ones in Bombay.

On her character in _Mistress of Spices (2005)_: "I have related to each character I have performed thus far, including Tilo. I am very sensitive to moods and one`s inward feelings and emotions. I am a true people person and people watcher. I look forward to meeting interesting people and understanding their experiences in life." (4-26-06)

On being compared to Rekha in the original version of Umrao Jaan (1981): "For me, as an actor, it`s a special experience to get the opportunity to play Umrao Jaan who has been already iconised on our celluloid. When I played Paro in Devdas, I went through the same area of questioning about how my role will be compared with the ones played earlier." (rediff.com,October 2006)

I don`t believe in proving a point to anybody. Nobody is that important.

On celebrating her 33rd birthday: "I am just not the birthday bash kind. My day will start with a visit to the Siddhivinayak temple with my family, something I do every year. There will be no loud parties... my birthday is a very private affair. Concidering I have to leave for Dubai tomorrow, it will be over early too. Only family and friends will be there." (November 1, 2006)

I believe that as an actress all my fears and phobias exist till I sign on the dotted line for a film.

Women in the industry have been exploited very often, but there are some actors who belive that the short cut to stardom is through nudity or exposure. Such success is, in fact, very short-lived.

I have a great story to tell... and I tell it well. No holds barred.

I always believed that my silence on several topics will be an advantage in the long run.

Upon hearing that Julia Roberts had said that Aishwarya was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen: "That was embarrassing; at first I didn`t believe she said that. I thought it was a rumor started by a journalist. But it`s sweet. She`s an incredible actor and she seems like a wonderful person, so all you can do is say, Thank you." (April 2007)


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