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Hello! Ash, the most attractive

London, Jan. 16: Aishwarya Rai is the “most attractive woman” in the world, according to an international online poll conducted by the website linked to the celebrity magazine, Hello!

“After this, we will do a lot more stories on Indians and Bollywood — after all, the lady has come top of the poll,” said David Witcomb, spokesman for Hello!

The former Miss World edged out an impressive list of world stars, who were ranked as follows:

• Aishwarya Rai

• Keira Knightley

• Nicole Kidman

• Catherine Zeta-Jones

• Kate Winslet

• Angelina Jolie

• Shakira

• Queen Rania of Jordan

• Gwyneth Paltrow

• Cindy Crawford

• Kate Hudson

• Natalie Imbruglia.

Witcomb today promised The Telegraph: “We will have Aishwarya Rai and the findings of the poll in our next issue. We have been doing these polls at the end of the year since 2001.”

Aishwarya may have had a little help from her Indian fans, who have clogged the Internet in recent weeks urging each other to vote for the Queen of Bollywood, and, in true Indian style, preferably more than once. In fact, when Amitabh Bachchan won the BBC’s online poll to discover the “greatest superstar” of all time, he quipped: “This proves Indians do nothing else but surf the Web.”

Thus, with Aishwarya, her fans have been posting such messages as, “I don’t think she will win unless we vote so many times,” “You can vote every 15 minutes”, “We will need to vote like 10 times a day, she’s like in seventh place at the moment”, “She’s at the first now but Keira Knightley is not far behind”, “Now Ash is 1395 and Keira is 1394,” and “I, for one, will keep voting until Aishwarya Rai wins”.

Aishwarya’s victory is a lot more plausible than BBC Radio4’s attempt several years ago to uncover the “politician of the year”. The BBC scrapped the poll when a politician unheard of by the Brits at the time surged to the top — one . K. Advani.

Aishwarya has a much better profile in the West, especially in Britain. Clever girl that she is, she has been to the Cannes Film Festival two years running, and was recently a cover story in The Sunday Telegraph magazine.

Today’s Evening Standard newspaper in London has used the poll to give her a big plug in a report, headlined: “Hello! to the most beautiful woman,” adding, “Bollywood star tops celebrity magazine poll”.

The story by Richard Simpson, the paper’s showbusiness correspondent, begins: “You may not have seen her on British movie screens, but her films are seen by millions and she is the highest-paid actress in her native country”.

The story adds that Julia Roberts called Aishwarya “the most beautiful woman in the world” and speculates that “this could be her biggest year yet as she has been in talks with the makers of the Bond movies”.

“She is also set to appear in a Bollywood version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — renamed Bride and Prejudice,” the report points out.

Hello! magazine also conducted a poll for the “Most Attractive Man,” where the ranking was:

• Orlando Bloom

• Jon Bon Jovi

• Colin Firth

• Will Young

• Johnny Depp

• Robert Downey Jr

• Bryan McFadden

• Viggo Mortensen

• Keanu Reeves

• Tom Jones

• Kiefer Sutherland

• Robbie Williams.

There was also a category for “Most Elegant Woman”, where the results were:

• Liv Tyler

• Nicole Kidman

• Mary Donaldson; (engaged to Prince Frederik of Denmark)

• Queen Rania

• Catherine Zeta-Jones

• Sandra Bullock

• Angelina Jolie

• Gwyneth Paltrow

• Victoria Beckham

• Charlize Theron

• Reese Witherspoon

• Natalie Imbruglia

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