Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's journey in film industry started with Mani Ratnam's Iruvar. She acted in a few Kollywood movies, before she established herself in Bollywood. The most fascinating part of the story is that she had rejected four movies of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth before she attained stardom.

A lesser-known Fact.
Aishwarya Rai was reportedly approached for the movies of Rajinikanth's Padayappa, Baba, Chandramukhi and Sivaji. But little less is known why the actress turned down the offers despite understanding the popularity of the Tamil superstar and at a time when actresses used to make a beeline to share screen space with Rajini.

Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Endhiran - The Robot.PR Handout

Rajinikanth's Confession
Speaking at the silver jubilee function of Chandramukhi, Rajinikanth had said, "When the makers of the movie approached me, I told them to first get the dates of Vadivelu, because he is a busy man. After which I asked to them to approach Aishwarya Rai. You might be ask why her name crops up for my every film and wonder whether I like to do a duet with Aishwarya (Laughs)...we approached her for Padayappa for Neelambari character,"

The superstar continues, "We then had offered her a role in Baba and changed the character once she was not part of the film. Then, the offer was sent to her for Chandramukhi. Imagine how this movie would have been if she had enacted the role (Jyothika's character). Now, we are in talks with her for Sivaji,"

Four Times Aishwarya Rai Disappointed Rajinikanth
Aishwarya Rai was approached for Padayappa, Baba, Chandramukhi and Sivaji.PR Handout

Rajinikanth said that although Aishwarya is not part of the movie, Jyothika turned out to be a good choice for Chandramukhi as she had come out with flying colors." She is in Mumbai and could not attend the event due to health issues. I was not sure whether Jyothika could do justice for this role, but P Vasu sir was confident,"

Coming back to Aishwarya Rai, after rejecting the films four times, she accepted Rajinikanth's magnum opus Enthiran – The Robot.

Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai
Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in The Robot.PR Handout

The role of Neelambarai in Padayappa was done by Ramya Krishnan, whereas Manisha Koirala had romanced Rajinikanth in Baba. Shriya Saran bagged the female lead in Sivaji.