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Rai: Indian Warya Princess
by Luz Hernandez

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oo la la.  Simply irrésistible.

oo la la. Simply irrésistible.
Blowfish, bidets, bullfighting... David Hasselhoff. Just because some things are wildly popular in other parts of the world doesn't guarantee they'll be a hit in America. Although we generally welcome the exotic (in moderation), the good ol' Yankee palate just isn't always very receptive to some of the world's most distant flavors... but that doesn't mean we should turn our backs to them entirely. And just as it's good to try different foods (oysters, anyone?) and different activities (yoga? salsa? table tennis?), we should also make it a point to familiarize ourselves with what's popular on the silver screen worldwide.

For several years now, one of the biggest names in international cinema (not to mention international households) has been Aishwarya Rai, the Indian beauty queen- and model-turned-actress. After conquering the hearts of billions over on that side of the world, Rai has now turned her sights on this side as well. In 2005, the release of her first English-language film--the Jane Austen-inspired Bride and Prejudice--as well as several appearances on mainstream television (including Oprah and Letterman) introduced her to American audiences.
Can't wait to see her whoop some Barbarian butt.

Can't wait to see her whoop some Barbarian butt.
But resistant as we are to new and unexpected flavors, our reception of her was less than enthusiastic.

Nevertheless, the very determined and extremely confident Rai--who must be tired of being referred to as The Most Beautiful Woman on Earth--has not given up on her quest to conquer the universe (although she did win the Miss World title back in 1994). With the upcoming release of Doug Lefler's historical epic The Last Legion (starring Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley), she's giving us Gringos another chance to embrace her... and chances are good that we will. In the film, she plays a mysterious and skilled warrior who saves the day, and as much as I despise the arrogant beauty-queen type, I am looking forward to seeing a tough, smart heroine in a stereotypically male-dominated role. So give her a shot--she might surprise you. And even if she doesn't make quite the impact on us as she has on the rest of the planet, just remember what your momma used to say when putting strange new things on your plate: you don't have to like it, but you're a better person for trying it.

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Other Columns
Other columns by Luz Hernandez:

A Battle of Wills: Arnett & Forte Duke It Out

Catalina Sandino Morales, Pure and Simple

Jason Statham: A Job Well Done

When Beauty Prevails

Former First Ladies' Men

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Luz Hernandez
Luz Hernandez is a devoted movie watcher with a background in creative writing and translation.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Luz Hernandez by clicking here.

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