Aishwarya Rai might still be reeling from the shock of her Umrao Jaan bombing in India [ Images ], but American critics are still smitten with the star.
In a left-handed compliment, the review of Umrao Jaan [ Images ] in The New York Times starts with the declaration: 'The price of being beautiful.' It goes on to say, 'Umrao Jaan, a retelling of a historical Indian tale covered in a 1981 Bollywood classic, might also be a commentary on its star, Aishwarya Rai [ Images ]. Ms Rai, often hailed as the queen of Bollywood, has for many a global allure calling to mind that of Brigitte Bardot or Sophia Loren. But you hope Ms Rai does not suffer for her art as much as her character does.'
The review by Andy Webster singles out a 'vivid Shabana Azmi [ Images ].' Praising Ash's allure, the 300-word review which decried the film's excessive melodrama added, 'But the actress's presence is undeniable. Ms Rai has Western films coming; Umrao Jaan seems like a way station on her path to international success.'
Umrao Jaan is another high profile movie after Jaan-e-Mann to have a soft opening overseas, but it isn't a cold turkey, at least in America and Canada [ Images ]. It grossed about $480,000 in its first weekend in North America, a respectable opening, taking 40 percent more than Jaan-E-Mann did in the corresponding period. But in the UK, the Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan [ Images ] movie made just $250,000, a few thousand more than what Don grossed there in its third weekend.
We will have to wait for one more week before we know if Umrao Jaan becomes a modest hit in North America or eats dust in its second week.
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan's [ Images ] Don which is going stronger in the United Kingdom than in North America has grossed $2.4 million by its third weekend, and is sure to leave theaters with an impressive $3 million gross. With Dhoom 2 around the corner, the durability of Don is seriously impaired.
In the North American market, it has grossed $1.95 million and could end its profitable run with a $2.3 million total gross, about $1 million less than Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna grossed here. Jaan-e-Mann, in the meanwhile, is not showing signs of an impressive recovery and may end with a decent but unspectacular $750,000 in the lucrative North American market. It may be able to reach just about $500,000 in the United Kingdom.