Ash is not a star to me: Shrima

MUMBAI: That’s because the B-town star is her sister-in-law first, and she won’t use Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s name to further her career, says Shrima Rai in an exclusive with TOI...

Till she makes it on her own, her claim to fame will probably be being Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s sister-in-law. The US-returned Shrima Rai, 27, who juggles careers in modelling and banking, is also Mrs India 2009 and holds an international title.

So, has being married into the Rai household been an inspiration, especially since Ash has been a Miss World? “Not really. Even while I grew up in the US, I’d participate in desi functions. After I married Aditya (Ash’s brother), I started helping Ash with her work along with my mother-in-law Vrinda. That’s when I realised my passion for performing hadn’t faded. So, I started out with modelling. Now, I’m looking at movie scripts,” says Shrima.

Why did she take so long to take the plunge? “I married at 22, and settling down in India took time. It also took me a while to start networking since I was working full-time as a banker,” she explains. But she never used the sister-in-law card during her interaction with people in showbiz. “I don’t name-drop,” she says. Has Ash given her any tips? “I don’t see Ash as a superstar. She’s firstly my sister-in-law. We’ve never spoken about my work,” Shrima says. Won’t the Ash connection fetch her top-notch projects? “I’ve never asked her to recommend me, nor have I seen Ash doing it,” she adds.

The lass is also open to doing south Indian films. “I know my married image might make people hesitate. But if my hubby and I are comfortable with it, I don’t see why it should pose a problem,” she says. Meanwhile, when the Rai family comes together, fun times are guaranteed. “But we don’t get to see Ash and Abhishek often. When she drops by, I’m usually at work. Abhishek is a fun guy to be with,” she signs off.