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The `Talaash' continues...

Pooja Batra...hopeful of buiding her career with "Taj Mahal". Photos: Sandeep Saxena.

SHE MAY not be able to carry a film on her shoulders but she is gifted with good looks and can make people turn their heads. Enchanting and lissom, Pooja Batra makes one of her increasingly infrequent appearances in Suneel Darshan's, "Talaash"-- releasing this coming Friday -- in which she plays second fiddle to Kareena Kapoor. This is not her favourite film, or the most preferred roe. She would like to enact the role of one of the most notorious espionage agents, Mata Hari and work in something like "Monsoon Wedding".

The other day, Pooja was the cynosure of all eyes at New Delhi's Ansal Plaza, where she had come to inaugurate the latest centre of Vandana Luthra's Curls and Curves.

Calm and composed Pooja seemed in no tearing hurry as she answered all queries hurled at her with finesse and gumption. On her table were tempting fish fingers with mayonnaise sauce but the damsel, who is notorious more for her raunchy numbers than her histrionic talents, refused to touch them.

Although Pooja hasn't made it to the big league, she refuses to bid adieu to films. Though she is definitely disenchanted with Bollywood film-makers, she wants to fight it out till the last round. She is nonchalant about the grim fact that her films are turning duds at the turnstiles. Are you putting all your eggs in "Taj Mahal" basket, one queries her. Says she, "I definitely have lots of expectations from this film and have given all that I possess to my character." This involved burning midnight oil and browsing through historical literature. If that wasn't painstaking enough she was also given lessons to improve her Urdu diction. Besides doing research to go into the skin of the historical character she also had confabulations with eminent historians.

"Lots of research has gone into the making of Noorjahan. I watched Cleopatra so as to get a hang of the royalty," says Pooja. In Jodhpur's picturesque and magnificent Mehrangarb fort Pooja Batra has been doing uninterrupted shooting for Akbar Khan's movie. Was playing against an inebriated character challenging enough, one asks her. "There is definitely more of me than Arbaaz Ali, who is portraying the character of Jahangir. Noorjahan was a dominant wife of the Moghul Emperor, Jehangir, who used to drink like a fish."

Pooja says that the film hasn't been contemporised. Pooja Batra is gung-ho about her historical film, which stars Kabir Bedi as well.

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