Former Miss World and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai has been chosen to represent Bollywood interests during negotiations on the Indo-US nuclear deal that is expected to go down this week. The deal, which would officially legitimize India's status as a nuclear power in the eyes of the US by allowing her access to nuclear fuel and technology in return for opening up her reactors to international safeguards and inspection, is expected to be signed during President Bush's visit to India.
The powerful Indian film-making lobby which has a big stake in how these negotiations turn out, will be represented by Ms Rai who, through her extensive experience in looking ravishing on screen, will be assigned the responsibility of making sure that Indian nuclear interests get a fair hearing during the discussions. Earlier, the Indian Film-makers Association had looked into the possibility of recruiting popular actor Aamir Khan as its ambassador, one of the few Indian film personalities with a modicum of recognition in the US through his groundbreaking film "Lagaan" which made it to the Oscar awards. However, Mr Khan expressed his unwillingness to hobnob with the leader of the free world, the leader of the free world, in his opinion, being an imperialist pig.
Although Ms Rai is Bollywood's foremost expert on nuclear fuel enrichment technology, her assignment during these negotiations will be more of an ambassadorial nature. She is expected to be a fiercely aggressive negotiator who, through her expressive facial expressions accompanied by intermittent coy glances through the translucent fabric of her dupatta, should be successful in persuading President Bush in not requiring India to open up all its reactors to international scrutiny, especially the fast-breeders which, Ms Rai claimed, India has a technological edge in.
A spokesman for the Indian External Affairs ministry confirmed the immense value of Ms Rai's participation in the talks. "Indian films constitute the most recognizable face of India to the outside world", said the spokesman. "Hence, it is but natural that a Bollywood emissary be present during political discussions that might usher in a great new period in Indo-US relations. Ms Rai's presence, clad in suitably traditional Indian attire such as an embroidered silk saree, will also satisfy President Bush's desire to incorporate a dose of Indian culture into his visit."
Ms Rai, on being asked for a comment, replied, "It gives me great pride to be the only Indian woman to be invited to these negotiations along with the menfolk, most of whom are either from the industrial or the research sector. My presence during these negotiations should be a slap in the face of popular belief that women are good enough to be looked upon merely as vacuous objects of beauty."