Friday, May 4, 2007

Aishwarya Rai to play Rani Lakshmibai

Aishwarya Rai Pics
Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai is adding a must-have skill to her acting repertoire - learning to use a sword while riding a horse.

The Miss World-turned-actor will need the skills to play a famous Indian warrior queen in a new movie, the film's maker said in an interview on Friday. "Ash will undergo intensive training,'' Director Ketan Mehta said referring to her by her nickname. "The role demands a lot of action scenes.''

Rai is to play Rani Lakshmibai, the legendary ruler of a north Indian state of Jhansi, who played a key role in the failed 1857 Uprising against India's then British colonial rulers.

Lakshmibai died aged 23 on the battlefield while fighting British soldiers in 1858.

Mehta said he was completing the script for the movie Jhansi Ki Rani and the cast would include British actors. He also plans to hire British technicians and trainers for the action sequences.

Rai, who recently hit the headlines when she married fellow Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan, is one of the most prominent leading ladies in the Hindi movie scene and has starred in advertisements for major international cosmetic companies.

Mehta, a famous director, has made more than 20 movies. His latest film was The Rising two years ago. Last year, another Indian actor Sushmita Sen said she planned to produce and star in a separate movie on Lakshmibai. Sen has not announced details of its filming.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of The Uprising.

Update: The name of the movie based on Rani Lakshmibai is The Rebel!

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