Aishwarya Rai on Oprah’s show busted some misconceptions the West has had about India


Actor Aishwarya Rai made her first appearance as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s show back in 2005, when she was 30 years old, and like her chat with David Letterman, most of the discussion was devoted to busting myths Americans have about Indians. In this case, about Indian women.

Oprah admitted that Aishwarya can’t speak for every Indian woman, but as a representative of her culture, she’d be able to shed some light on questions that Oprah has had. When the host asked Aishwarya if kissing is common in Indian culture, the actor said, “It’s not really a familiar sight. People kiss, but it doesn’t happen around the street corner. It’s a more private expression of emotion, so I guess art imitates life and that comes across in our cinema.”

Asked about what the most common misconceptions about herself that she’d faced, Aishwarya said that she always found it odd when people assumed that because she spoke English, she must’ve been educated abroad. She said, “Why would people think that we don’t study English? And that kind of took me aback and really shocked me.”

Aishwarya also admitted that her living with her family would often be brought up. When Oprah said that in America parents would kick their 30-year-olds out, Aishwarya said, “In India it’s more about the family, about living together and remaining connected, and that’s probably the most special thing.”

The actor also spoke about the concept of arranged marriages. “Arranged marriages in urban India would be like a global dating service where the families study each other’s backgrounds, and they bring couple together, and they get engaged and they date and if it works they get along wit the alliance, and if it doesn’t work they fall out,” she said.

When Oprah asked Aishwarya if she’d be fine with an arranged marriage, the actor laughed and said, “I will cross the bridge when I reach it.” Interestingly, Aishwarya returned to Oprah’s show in 2009, along with husband Abhishek Bachchan. And in 2012, when Oprah paid a visit to India, the Bachchans hosted her.

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