12 May, 2021

A Mermaid On Coronation Alley

A Mermaid On Coronation Alley
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Aishwarya Rai was all of 21 when she won the Miss World title for India, but she was already making waves years before her crowning glory. I first heard of her at a fashion shoot that I was orchestrating for Femina. The make-up man, Pravin Banker, suddenly turned to me in the middle of outlining the eyes of the girl who was being shot for a fashion spread. One hand resting on the helpless model’s head, the other holding his liner brush aloft, he announced, “You must get this new girl into the Femina Miss India contest! She is 17 and has just won the Gladrags Contest. When you see her, you will know she is a Miss India.” Her name, he told me, was Aishwarya.

I finally met her—briefly albeit—at a shoot and asked her to take part in the contest. I remember that she had given me a half-shy smile and said, “Really, you think so? Let me think it over.” My first impression of her then was of a pretty girl with remarkable eyes. Some mannerisms that could be called coy or affected made me wonder if she was indeed as good as reports...

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