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Ek Hasina... now and ever

IN ZONE, Urmila Matondkar is all set for her first act of 2004 as Sarika Vartak in Sriram Raghvan's "Ek Hasina Thi". "The film is based on the survival instinct theory, where the character undergoes a distinct transformation after the situation leads her to the brink. It is my most technically perfect performance till date," promises Urmila.

The title may suggest that she is retreating to her doll days but Urmila reveals, "It is not a soft romantic subject. The catchword is `Thi'. The film just takes off from the ground that there was a beauty in love with Karan played by Saif. That's it. After that the plot turns into a thriller." Urmila has worn a tanned look and lens for the movie, which is the first product from Ramgopal Varma factory this year.

Urmila is all praise for Saif, who is exuding negative shades after "Kya Kehna". "He has gone a few steps beyond of what he was expected. He will definitely surprise people, as here he has emerged out of his humorous appearance into an intense persona."

Urmila feels that she doesn't want to repeat herself. "After the success of `Rangeela', I was expected to do similar characters but I did `Daud', `Judaai' and `Satya'." For Urmila box office success is secondary, first the roles should satisfy the artist in her. "Even when I did item songs, they created ripples. "When Santoshiji offered me `Chamma Chamma', he told me that he wanted the song in the mould of the `Jewel Thief' number `Hothon Pe Aisi Baat' and touchwood I succeeded. It is true for `Kambaqt Ishq' as well." Indeed, whenever people talk of "Chinagate" and "Pyar Tune Kya Kiya", the songs invariably come to their mind.

Torn apart by critics time and again, Urmila has displayed amazing survival traits in Bollywood and in an eventful 2003, even critics praised her for portrayal of a trepid modern woman in "Bhoot" followed by a poignant performance as Puro in "Pinjar" and finally as "Tehzeeb", where though she failed to rise to Shabana's standards even in Urdu diction, her efforts were appreciated. Is she now looking for awards? "No, I am not," maintains Urmila with a smile that negates the words.

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