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A quizzer at heart

Ready with the answers.

FOR TWO hours and more, Kasturi had been the centre of attention, asking questions and listening for the right answers... but at the end of the evening, she was ready to answer a few questions... this time about herself.

She had just finished hosting "Quiztrac-2002'', at the GRD Auditorium at PSG College of Arts and Science, and had also obliged the autograph hunters and got herself photographed with eager fans who wanted photos as keepsakes.

``I was a quizzer right from the 9th Standard,'' she said. "In quizzing circles, everyone knows me.'' That's why her performance on BBC's Mastermind had made several people who did not know this side of her, drop their jaws in amazement.

``I read a lot, I'm a member of quiz clubs, I'm regular at the Quiz Foundation meets, and I subscribe to quiz nets... but most of all I read the newspapers... from headlines to obituaries. I read like it's going out of fashion, and I watch movies. On the Internet, I can read the same newspapers wherever I am in the world,'' she added.

Kasturi says there were several turning points in her life: Starting to model, entering movies, winning the Femina Miss Madras title in 1992, and entering television. Incidentally, she was the last Miss Madras, for they changed the regional title after that, and there was only the national title.

She's starred in "Amaithi Padai'' and "Indian'', besides a film each in Malayalam and Kannada. "I've been on television from the age of nine and my programmes are too numerous to mention. My television connection is very big. Still, I think I'm the only actress who hasn't done mega serials.''

A pioneer in hosting and compering TV shows, she's done such programmes for Malaysia TV, and television stations in Canada and Sri Lanka. Her first ever live tele-quiz was an innovation, and an instant hit.

``When hosting a TV programme, I'm the queen of my own territory. It's true to say that some TV stars are more popular than most film stars. However, when serials stop, we forget the players, but in film, we still remember great stars.''

``In movies, the roles for women are pre-destined: Romantic or glycerine. There aren't many jobs for women who can talk, and who have a sense of humour. I've enjoyed being able to break the glass barrier against actresses, and prove that I'm not just a bimbo.''

Kasturi is now all set to shift her workplace to the US, for she's getting into a film career there. Ultimately, she wants to make movies. She's also got a role in a film in the US, but wouldn't say a word more about it, except that it was a festival film.

``I'm very proud of it,'' she added. ''If I say too much about it now, I'll be blowing my own bugle. I just want everything to go well. The last two years have been very eventful personally as well as professionally.''

On India, she says: "We need to redeem our pride as a nation. I can defend India against most things people say about the country: That it's dirty, or that the people are poor. Still, when they ask about corruption, I don't have an answer.''

Though the country needed its bright young people, they kept going abroad saying, "They don't let us serve the nation.'' Young people could change everything, if they set their mind against corruption. That would help a lot in making India a proud nation.

Had she achieved her goals in life? "My goals keep changing,'' she said. "Once you stop achieving for awhile, the human mind says it's not necessary to do any more.'' That was stagnation, and she didn't want that.

By A. A. Michael Raj
Photo: K. Ananthan

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