When The Ice Queens Met
It wasn’t the most glamorous event in the world and neither the world media was present there to capture them, but when the two legendary beauties met they created moments which will go down as historic in showbiz archives. One is arguably the most recognized Indian face in the world (Aishwarya Rai) and the other the epitome of French class, charisma and cinema (Catherine Deneuve). They are not contemporaries yet they have a strange connection. Timeless beauty is definitely one of the many common factors between them.
A few years ago The Telegraph published an article titled ‘Garbo meets Sen. Two women bound by beauty and mystery’, referring to Greta Garbo and Suchitra Sen of course. But it was more of an assumption since Greta Garbo and Suchitra Sen never actually met, although many fans dreamt of such a rendezvous. However the gods have been kinder this time. The meeting of Catherine Deneuve and Aishwarya Rai is not a myth but a reality. The occasion was the 16th Mumbai Film Festival and the venue was the 41 year old Chandan Cinema in Juhu, Mumbai. They sat on the front row next to each other and Aishwarya presented Catherine with the Lifetime Achievement award.
As a diehard fan of both the actresses, here is a subjective attempt to show why the two aforementioned actresses are connected to each other although they are separated by age, space, language and boundary.
The Sobriquet ‘Ice Queen’
Catherine Deneuve is known to the world as the ‘Ice Queen’ of French cinema for her roles in films like Belle De Jour, Repulsion and Tristana in which she portrayed the ‘cold yet erotic’ roles to perfection. She emits a thousand fantasies yet she is never meant to be touched, only to be seen and admired. Aishwarya on the other hand is an ‘ice queen’ in her personal life. Her diplomatic way of handling things doesn’t go down well with everybody and as Simi Garewal puts it she never clarifies anything. No one knows what really goes on inside her mind. She is a true blue star who is always out of reach. On screen her ‘ice queen’ persona is most evident in the film Chokher Bali.
Most Beautiful Women in the World
To call them beautiful would be the understatement of the century. Their films played a huge role in showcasing their ethereal beauty to the world. While Catherine wowed the world at a time when there was no internet, social media or high tech gadgets, Aishwarya brought Indian beauty to the mainstream when globalization was at its peak and beauty polls became the norm of the day. Rankings may vary from time to time but their beauty is evergreen.
An Admirer in Roger Ebert
Late film critic Roger Ebert was hard to please, his approval to a film meant a lot to filmmakers and actor alike but he was clearly biased when he came to Catherine Deneuve, which is evident in the following words:
Has there ever been an actress in the history of the movies who has changed as little and aged as slowly as Catherine Deneuve?
Roger saw the film Taal on a trip to India and instantly fell in love with Aishwarya. He once famously said:
Aishwarya Rai is not just the first, but also the second most beautiful woman in the world
L’OREAL Brand Ambassadors
The cosmetic giant L’OREAL is known for appointing some of the best beauties in the world as their spokespersons, so it came as no surprise when Catherine Deneuve joined the brand at the age of 57, thus proving that her beauty is ageless and timeless. Rai joined the L’OREAL dream team in 2003 post the international success of her film Devdas and continues to endorse it till date.
Immortalized By Nature
As a tribute to their beauty both the stars have flowers named after them. Aishwarya has a species of tulip in Holland named after her. Astilbe Catherine Deneuve is a hybrid pink coloured flower named after the French stunner.
Such degrees of similarities cannot be just a mere co incidence. It could have been anybody but why was only Aishwarya chosen to honour her. It would be a dream come true to see them sharing screen space together, BUT then again fantasy is more alluring than reality. Ah! The magic of movies.
Vive la Indian and French cinema.
Image Source: Internet