If you’d ask me whether any actress managed to replace Madhuri Dixit in Bollywood, i’d say no. She left a huge void. Her versatility, range of choice and years in the industry ensured so. That said, the contenders for the crown narrows down to very few actresses (purely on their craft, not merely looks) who somehow lacked consistency. And still do. There’s no Hindi film actress around who can do justice to the C-word. Nope, not even Kajol or Vidya Balan. The former had a phase and so does the latter. Let’s not even talk about Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif. Yes, both have Smita Patil Memorial Award in their kitty but that doesn’t alter the fact that acting remains alien to them. Which is why it’s a good enough time to go back to Aishwarya Rai. She has had her share of rubbish movies but there are some gems she should be proud of. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) takes the cake for me—Raincoat (2004) comes close second, interestingly co-starring Ajay Devgan again—for the sheer contrast between her character in the first half and the second half; the bubbly spirit giving way to a subdued married naari. And that particular scene where she is asked to smile for a picture remains epic. Holding back one’s sorrow with a pseudo-smile can’t get any better than this.