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As she slips into the role of Umrao Jaan, everyone is talking about her dedication and drive. Says her director J P Dutta, "With her head tilted slightly to one side, Aishwarya Rai seems to be giving away nothing on her face. She absorbs the details, then goes to the camera for an emotion-spill."

We are on location in Rajasthan, at the shooting of the film. Ash, as Umrao, strikes me as being as poised and in control as Rekha was in Muzaffar Ali's original film. And yes, Ash is a far better dancer.

Text: Subhash K Jha | Design: Uday Kuckian

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