The World’s Most Beautiful Woman & The Sexiest Man Alive
Ashwariya Rai was born 1st November 1973 inÂ Mangalore, Karnataka (south-western state of India) into a middle class orthodox Hindu Tulu-speaking Bunt (warrior class) family.Â Krishnaraj, her father, was a biologist in the Army, while her mother, Brinda is a stay at home mom. Her elder brother, Aditya Rai works currently as an engineer in the Merchant Navy. The family moved toÂ Mumbai early on where Rai attended a Hindu affiliated private high school. Not only was she a diligent student earning a 90 per cent aggregate average in her Higher Senior Cambridge exams, but she also trained extensively in classical dance and music. Wanting to become an architect, she enrolled at a local Architecture Academy,Â but dropped out when she started receiving modeling offers.
In 1991, Ash won a Ford modeling agency contest and was featured in American Vogue. In 1993, she became popular in a Pepsi commercial alongside Aamir KhanÂ andÂ Mahima Chaudhry. Though she had but a single line: â€œHi, Iâ€™m Sanjana,â€ her looks and screen presence made her an overnight sensation. The same year she entered theÂ Miss IndiaÂ pageant, in which she came second after Sushmita Sen. In a historic double beauty pageant win for the country in the same year, Sushmita went to win the Miss Universe crown, while Ashwariya was crowned Miss World 1994.
Both Ashwariya and Salman have been immortalised with wax staues at Madam tussauds
Though Ashwariya made her film debut in 1997Â with a TamilÂ film, it was with the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed 1999 hit Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam opposite Salman Khan that she first tasted commercial and critical success winning two Best Actress Awards: Filmfare and International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA). The movieâ€™s box office takings were twice its budget, its success fueled by the onscreen chemistry of the lead pair, Ash and Salman Khan.
Abdul Rashid Salim Salman KhanÂ was born on 27th December 1965 in Mumbai to screenwriter Salim Khan, from an Afghani Pathan family, and Sushila Charak, renamed Salma Khan at marriage, of mixed Maharashtran and Kashmiri ancestry. Salman has two younger brothers,Â Arbaaz, married to actress/model/VJÂ Malaika Arora Khan, andÂ Sohail, as well as two sisters, Alvira, married to actor/directorÂ Atul Agnihotri and an adopted sister Arpita. His stepmother is Helen, a yesteryear screen siren and dancer. The three brothers studied at the all boys Jesuit run St. Stanislaus High SchoolÂ spread over seven acres in Bandra,Â Mumbai. Salman then attended the prestigious Elphinstone College but dropped out only after a year to pursue acting.
In 1989, Salman made his debut as a leading man in Sooraj R. Barjatyaâ€™s romantic family dramaÂ Maine Pyar Kiya, which was the yearâ€™s highest grossing film and among the top 10 successful films of India of all times. Not only was it dubbed in Indian regional languages and became a hit in other provinces, but it was also dubbed both in English and Spanish, reduced to 125 minutes and became an international hit in far off places, like the Caribbean and South America, etc. Though the heroine Bhagyashree turned out to be a one hit wonder, Salman consolidated his success with a string of hits in the Nineties. In 1994, his second collaboration with Sooraj Barjatya the romcomÂ Hum Aapke Hain KounÂ (1994) opposite screen queen Madhuri Dixit broke all previous box office records, earning $20 million (or $70 million when adjusted for inflation), becoming Bollywoodâ€™s top grosser for seven years and is now the fourth highest earning Indian film ever. Then, came the action thriller Karan ArjunÂ (1995) with Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Joharâ€™s romantic dramaÂ Kuch Kuch Hota HaiÂ (1998) with Shah Rukh and Kajol, in which Salman was awarded theÂ Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor and David Dhawanâ€™s comedyÂ Biwi No.1 (1999) with Karisma Kapoor and Sushmita.
Philanthropic minded Salman started the charitable trust Being Human in 2007 to raise money for education and healthcare for the underprivileged, while Ash in 2010 pledged to donate her gorgeous green eyes to th Eye Bank Association of India after her death
At this time, Salman had broken up his serious relationship with model/actress Sangeeta Bijlani (who then had an affair with and subsequently married cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin after divorced his wife) and was dating Pakistani-American Bollywood actress Somy Ali (now a fashion designer). He became friendly with Ash who was trying to make it big in Bollywood, while he was an established box office star. Ash would come to visit him in his house and Somy Ali, not thinking anything of it, would direct her to his whereabouts.
On Salmanâ€™s insistence, Bhansali signed Ash on for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam after her modest success in Tamil film Jeans. During filming, the news broke that the two had started dating and a heart-broken Somy Ali departed for the U.S.Â Â Â Â Quickly Ash became close to Salmanâ€™s family, including his sisters Alvira and Arpita, and became a part of every Khan family celebration. However, her father Krishnaraj Rai was not happy. To freely spend ample time with Salman, Ash moved out of the family home on the twelfth floor of the La Mer building where Sachin Tandulkar also resides and into a 17th floor duplex apartment in Gorakh Hill Tower, Lokhandwala, a high rise also in Bandra worth INR 10 million. Salman also lives in Bandra at the Galaxy Apartments, though he has a sprawling 150-acre estate in Panvel (a small town adjacent to Mumbai) with three bungalows, swimming pool and gym as well.
Trouble between them started when, according to Ash, Salman became possessive about her and would fly into jealous rages. One November night in 2001, Salman went to their love nest (Ashâ€™s apartment) and started banging on the door for what seemed like hours, till 3 A.M. Eyewitnesses said he threatened to jump off the roof if she didnâ€™t let him in. His hands were bleeding from the banging. Finally, she relented. Reportedly, he wanted her to assent to his marriage proposal, but Ash who was ambitious, was not ready for such a commitment at the time. Aishwaryaâ€™s father Krishnaraj Rai, hearing of the incident, reported it to the police. Salman confessed that Aishwarya was not returning his expression of love in kind, and that was why he had become violent, but he did not hit her. Though he convinced her to stay in the relationship with him, she started having doubts.
In a February 2002 interview toÂ The Times Of, Salman admitted, â€œThe incident is true, but it was overhyped by the media. I have a relationship with Aishwarya. If you do not fight in a relationship, it means you do not love each other. Why would I squabble with a person who is a stranger to me? Such things happen between us only because we love each other. Now, even the police have barred me from entering that building. Her parents are very nice people. They are orthodox like my family. They have heard about my past affairs and they didnâ€™t like me in the life of their daughter. It is my fault, not theirs. I should have understood it earlier. They never stopped me from meeting with Aishwarya despite the fact that I treated them badly. Aishwarya did not like my behaviour towards them just as I would not appreciate anybody misbehaving with my father. Aishwaryaâ€™s father is completely justified in complaining against me. I have no grudge against him.â€
Then, film magazine StardustÂ reported that Somy Ali, his ex, called Salman up and asked for financial help for her fatherâ€™s operation. Salman flew to the U.S.A to lend her support without telling Ash and she was furious. Again, they fought then reconciled, but the truce did not last for long. Salman accused Ash of cheating on him with none other than Abishek Bachchan, her costar inÂ Kuch Naa Kaho. She counter accused him of flying into a rage on the set and damaging her car parked in the studio parking lot. The final nail in the coffin was when he burst in on the set of Chalte Chalte and started shouting at her to leave the studio with him because she was getting too chummy with her leading man/producer Shah Rukh Khan, who tried to intervene. Salman held him by his collar, but Shah Rukh managed to calm him down.
Aishwarya Rai confirmed in her September 27, 2002, interview to theÂ Times of India: â€œSalman and I broke up last March, but he isnâ€™t able to come to terms with itâ€¦.After we broke up, he would call me and talk rubbish. He also suspected me of having affairs with my co-stars. I was linked up with everyone, from Abhishek Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan. There were times when Salman got physical with me, luckily without leaving any marks. And, I would go to work as if nothing had happened. Salman hounded me and caused physical injuries to himself when I refused to take his calls.â€
In another interview toÂ The Indian Express, she said, â€œI stood by him enduring his alcoholic misbehaviour in its worst phases and in turn I was at the receiving end of his abuse (verbal, physical and emotional), infidelity and indignity. That is why like any other self-respecting woman I ended my relationship with him.â€
In response, Salman maintained that he had never physically attacked Aishwarya. Â In an interview in September 2002 for MiD-Day, he said, â€œNo. I have never beaten her. Anyone can beat me up. Any fighter here on the sets can thrash me. That is why people are not scared of me. I do get emotional. Then I hurt myself. I have banged my head against the wall; I have hurt myself all over. I cannot hurt anyone else. I have only hit Subhash Ghai. Yet, I apologised to him the next day. There are times when you do get out of control. That person hit me with a spoon, almost broke a plate on my face, pissed on my shoes and grabbed me by the neck. I could not control myself. And see what happened. Next day, I had to go and apologise.â€
â€œI love (Aishwarya). I am not hounding her. Itâ€™s not a teenage obsession that I feel for her â€” itâ€™s pure love. Sheâ€™s such a traditional Hindustani girl at the bottom of her heart. The fact that she respects her parents so much makes me admire her more,â€ he said.
It is interesting to note that the day after Aishwarya made her break-up public in theÂ Times of IndiaÂ interview, Salman got drunk and rammed his Toyota Land Cruiser onto the pavement and into a bakery in suburban Bandra. A homeless man died and four were seriously injured in the crash and Salman went to jail for drunk driving and culpable suicide. Many of Salmanâ€™s friends and colleagues visited him in jail, but Aishwarya stayed away. They did not get back together after this.
Though charges were initially dropped in July 2013, Salman Khan was formally charged in this case to which he pleaded not guilty. Two years later, Salman was found guilty of all charges in the case and was sentenced to five years in prison, but was granted bail the same day.Â His driver Ashok Singh, who had testified that it was him who was driving the car at the time of accident, was charged with perjury for misguiding the Court with false testimony and was arrested. In a twist, the prime witness Police ConstableÂ Ravindra PatilÂ was kidnapped and killed perhaps by the Mumbai underworld bosses that are reputed to have links with the film world. Subsequently, due to lack of evidence, in December 2015 Salman was acquitted of all charges much to the relief of his fans.
Meanwhile, Ashwariya sought consolation with the promising upcoming actor Vivek Oberoi, son of Quetta born veteran Indian actor Suresh Oberoi. Vivek had received a Filmfare Award for his debut movie Company (2002). She didnâ€™t admit the relationship publicly but he would frequently escort her to events. They also starred in the movie Kyun Ho Gaya Na, released in 2004.
According to Vivek, on Ashâ€™s indirect instigation he called a press conference in a hotel room on 31st March 2003 claiming that he had been receiving life threatening calls from Salman due to their budding relationship. There was direct fallout from this, with the film fraternity immediately siding with the powerful Khan. Quickly, Ash distanced herself from Vivek, calling him immature. She dropped him like a hot potato and Vivek must have felt very used and gullible.Â During the director/choreographer Farah Khanâ€™s TV talk show, Vivek admitted that the press conference direly affected his career, which took a nosedive after this. He said that Salmanâ€™s brother Sohail Khan, who was once his best friend, never forgave him. Disgusted and disillusioned, Vivek Oberoi declared: â€œAishwarya Rai is just plastic. You can never trust her as she can change at any hour of time.â€ Vivek profusely apologised to Salman, both publicly and privately for years to come, but Salman was adamant.
Ash being fiercely ambitious focused on her career, starring in Sanjay Leela Bhansaliâ€™s hugely successfulÂ tragedy DevdasÂ (2002) with Shah Rukh and Madhuri,Â in the Rituparno Ghosh directed critically acclaimed filmsÂ Chokher BaliÂ (2003) based on a Rabidranath Tagore novel and RaincoatÂ (2004) based on a O Henry short story, among other films. In 2003, she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at theÂ Cannes Film Festival where she appeared as a global brand ambassador ofÂ Lâ€™OrÃ©al, alongside Hollywood starsÂ Andie MacDowell,Â Eva Longoria andÂ PenÃ©lope Cruz. Additionally, she appeared in American and British films productions, including the awful Bride and Prejudice (2004), Mistress of Spices (2005),Â ProvokedÂ (2006), The Last Legion (2007) and Pink Panther 2 (2009). Though the films may have been commercially successful, the foreign critics panned her wooden acting. Indian blockbusters she appeared in this period have been the adventure filmÂ Dhoom 2Â (2006) during the filming of which Abhishek reportedly fell for her, and theÂ historical romanceÂ Jodhaa AkbarÂ (2008) opposite Hritik Roshan.
Though they had both appeared in two films together prior to this, it was during her item song Kajra Re with both Abhishek and Big B himself (Amitabh) in Bunty Aur Babli (2005) that you sense things brewing. Amitabh seemed to be giving Ash his seal of approval (though she is unofficially a couple of years older than Abhishek). By the time Dhoom 2 started filming the following year, Ash and Abhishek were a couple. Their engagement was announced onÂ 14th JanuaryÂ 2007 and later confirmed by his father,Â Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter. The couple married on 20th April 2007, according to traditional Hindu rites of theÂ Bunt community, to which her family belongs. She was also famously first married to a banana tree as she was considered inauspicious for her husband so the bad luck would befall the tree instead of Abhishek. The wedding reception took place at the palatial Bachchan residence Prateeksha in Juhu, Mumbai.
Together their star power shot up. Abhishek BachchanÂ accompanied Ash to theÂ Cannes Film Festival shortly after their marriage, and later they both appeared as guests onÂ The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009, where Oprah described them as being more famous couple thanÂ Brangelina.
Ash due to being over forty had trouble conceiving and it was reported that she sought treatment for stomach TB and/or got IVF treatment, both which she vociferously refuted. When she finally did conceive, she took a sabbatical for five years. She gave birth to a baby girl on 16th November 2011, whom four months later they named Aaradhya Bachchan.
Though she has returned to films, Ashwariya now in her mid 40s is mostly seen appearing in commercials and endorsing products. She has received two Filmfare Awards to date and in 2009 the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest Indian civilian award by theÂ Government of IndiaÂ for her contributions to the Arts.Â In 2012, she was awarded theÂ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a nationalÂ order of France. On a negative note, recently she along with her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan (who has also previously been implicated in corruptions scandals, including the infamous Bofors case though he was later acquitted in this) were named in theÂ Panama Papers leak for having hidden their millions overseas.
Salman moved on with actress Katrina Kaif. The two were in a serious relationship till it ended in 2010 due to Salmanâ€™s inability to commit. In February 2006, he was sentenced to one year in prison for illegally hunting theÂ Chinkara (black buck) an endangered species, but he ended up spending only 3 days in jail. In 2011, Salman revealed he suffers fromÂ the incurable trigeminal neuralgia, a facial nerve disorder commonly known as the suicide disease, for which he got surgery in the U.S.
Salman is on top of his game with the lead role in several successful action films, includingÂ DabanggÂ (2010),Â BodyguardÂ (2011) andÂ Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015). He has won 2 Filmfare and 70 other film awards. Nine of the films in which Khan has acted in have accumulated gross earnings of overÂ INR 1 billionÂ (US$15Â million). He is the only actor to star in the highest grossing Bollywood films of nine separate years. In fact, in one year he earned $33.5 million more than Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio or Brad Pitt did that year. He is also the Bollywood actor with the highest rated TV show, even more than Amitabh. He has two production companies: SKBH Productions (Salman Khan Being Human Productions that donates all its profits to his charity Being Human to help the underprivileged) launched in 2011 and SKF (Salman Khan Films) launched in 2014 that produced Canadian film Dr. Cabbie, the second highest grossing Canadian film of that year, Hero and Bajrangi Bhaijan.
In a two page signed statement that she gave to the The Times of India in 2003, Ashwariya categorically stated, â€œFor the sake of my well-being, my sanity, my dignity and the dignity and self-respect of my familyâ€”enough! I will not work with Mr. Salman Khan again. The Salman chapter was a nightmare in my life and I am thankful to God that it is over.â€ She has never looked back. However, Salman is still supposed to harbour a small soft corner for her. Though he is friendly with his other ex-girl friends, Salman and Ashwariya studiously stay away from each other to this day.