Attractive as ever

miss reticent Asin

miss reticent Asin   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: S. R. RAGHUNATHAN

Asin reveals only as much as she wants to about her forthcoming Bollywood projects. chitra swaminathan takes notes

Shapely and slender as the Mirinda bottle in her hand and clad in a Manish Malhotra-designed body-hugging orange outfit, she has as much fizz as the drink. But expect no juicy quotes from the attractive Asin. Words come as measured as her strides in show- town. Though quick with her answers in faultless English, she will not reveal more than what she wants to.

“I cannot talk for shock-value. I was clear in my head from day one — no controversies, relationships, sensational bytes or steamy pictures — I want to get real about acting,” she trills.

Isn’t it tiresome to constantly conform to the ‘good girl’ image? Doesn’t she sometimes feel like being free-spirited? “Oh! Come on. Don’t think it’s put on.”

And will it work in Bollywood that’s dominated by the bold and beautiful Kareenas and Bipashas? “I am not scared and insecure. What’s work without challenges? I like being myself. As a child, I was told by my parents to develop a mind and identity of my own but not by throwing values to the wind. And why can’t you be a well-behaved actor? We are like everybody else, with the freedom to cry, laugh and behave the way we want to,” she philosophises. Sure. And that’s what sets Asin apart, her refined manners and no-tantrum behaviour.

The actor, who recently shifted base to Mumbai knows that rumour mills have been agog with the news of her quitting Kollywood and her subsequent signing of films in Hindi. Unfazed and with her characteristic toothy smile, she says, “The last time I came to Chennai (for the audio launch of Dasavatharam), everyone had just one question to ask me, ‘Have you quit Tamil cinema?’ I can never do that. I moved to Mumbai to concentrate better on my debut project (remake of Ghajini in Hindi with Aamir Khan). The South Indian film industry is where I was born as an actor and courted fame. I will never abandon it. I am just waiting for the right offer.”

Asin has always used her discretion and appears in only one or two films a year. She sets her own rules and lives by them, even if it means going against the established industry formula — sign more and be seen more. “People were aghast when I refused quite a few offers while working on Dasavatharam because I was convinced this one film was worth ten. If the script and my role move me, and I see the director getting passionately involved in it while narrating it to me, I know I have to do the film,” she explains matter-of-factly. One aspect where she would gel with the reclusive Aamir Khan.

Dismissing charges of his being an interfering actor and co-star with loads of attitude, she says, “It’s just a media build-up. He’s amazingly humble and a director’s actor. I have never seen him overrule a director’s decision. Of course, talented actors have a license to creative freedom and they should use it. It will only work positively for the film.”

Asin is the first southern star to do a sync-sound in her debut Bollywood film. “Even Aamir was surprised that I have no madrasi accent” and as if to prove a point, she switches to impeccable Hindi. “I haven’t still got a complete feel of Bollywood because I am working with the same team that did the original Tamil version.”

After much prodding, what you finally get for an answer to all the stories about her plum Hindi assignments is “the next project is a Hindi film from an established production house and with a popular co-star. I cannot say more than this. It’s not ethical.”

More than films, endorsements seem to keep Asin on her toes. She is the brand ambassador for seven products. “Besides the fun, it’s the best way for me to leave an impression on the minds of the young and the old. But I endorse only those products that I personally believe in.” Right now, she’s kicked about the new Mirinda campaign whose catchline is “Ore oru Mirinda kaivasam, life-il vendum crazy-thanam”. “It’s close to the real Asin — cool and crazy,” she smiles.

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