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An argument for romance!

Antara Mali smiles her way to success.

SHE DOESN'T want to bask in the reflected glory of the past. Upcoming actress Antara Mali career may have got a meteoric rise after her histrionics in Ramgopal Varma's "Company" earlier this year but she intends to be selective, chose her films with as much care as a bride does when she goes shopping for the D-day. This chirpy actress, who doesn't bat an eyelid before reeling off thoughts in her mind, has a passion for Bharatanatyam and wants to dance like a ballerina. She has no hesitation in saying that she doesn't want to play the archetypal heroine in Bollywood, who has to run around trees and jump like a juvenile prankster. She will do things her own way.

If she is rejecting babe in the woods kind of roles, is she going to take up roles which the likes of Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das have done? Mali says, "Firstly, I don't think it is fair that I am in a position to be compared with such fine actresses. Both Shabana and Nandita have great body of work. There has to be an amalgamation of art cinema with commercial cinema. When 90 per cent of the audience wants to see commercial, then why can't we continue making that kind of cinema? But we have to improve. When there are millions of people and there are millions of love stories, then we shouldn't have dearth of good scripts."

Says Mali, "In this film the protagonist is the road. I mean all the characters meet on the road." Mali castigates the fourth estate for giving exaggerated importance to those who have just marked their presence in Bollywood. She says, "The media has a habit of giving us instant celebrity status. I don't think this should be done. Only when you have a great body of work should you be getting importance in the Press. I am not going to accept any film offer if I don't relate to the character that I have to portray on the screen. I was in love with Chandu -- Vivek Oberoi -- in `Company'. I relate to this character very much. This doesn't mean that in real life if I am outraged that some gangster or don has hired an assassin to kill my husband then I would bump off that fellow. Romance is not just kissing, smooching and hugging. It is not easy to mollycoddle. It can come from everywhere. Romance in my definition is argument, madness, freedom and space."


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