An offer she couldn't refuse

Trisha — taking a big leap.  

LITTLE TRISHA was good at high jump from her school days. First, she jumped high from school to become Miss Salem in 1999. The very next year, the young lady jumped higher to win Miss Chennai. Having won that title, Trisha took a higher jump the very next year. She won the Miss India 2001 Beautiful Smile. In less than a year after that, Trisha made four huge jumps. She signed up for four movies under prestigious banners, even before a single release! And today, she does not have dates till the end of the year.

What started as a high jump for a girl, today is a giant leap for even starkind.

Till about two years ago, Trisha wanted to become a criminal psychologist. She resisted the temptation of movies because she wanted to get done with college first. After several modelling assignments, print and TV ads and Phalguni Pathak's music video (for `Meri Chunnar Ud Ud Jaye'), came a call from none other than director Priyadarshan. It was an offer she couldn't refuse. Now, that would have been criminal, had she turned it down, her friends told her.

``Lot of people told me that if not this, you wouldn't get a better break,'' she recollects. Trisha still has a year of college left at Ethiraj. But she ``compensates by attending summer classes''. ``My college has been very supportive,'' she says.

Quite candid about what got her to do the role, the model-turned-actress does admit that she had no idea about the script of `Lesa Lesa' when she agreed to do the film. After all, she had no reason to ask for a script, given that it was to be directed by a veteran of over 50 films.

``After I signed the film, I met him for the second time when he gave me and Shaam a one hour narration of the script. It is a remake of `Summer of Bethlehem'. It is a modified version actually. Shaam and me were in splits when we heard the script. And Priyan told me that this being my first film, it was good that the role had a lot of acting, crying and emotion. Besides, it is a heroine-oriented subject,'' Trisha explains.

``We had a 40-day schedule at Ooty. And it was like going to work. We started at 6 and wound up at 6. We shot in a farmhouse set there. The Ooty schedule was a vacation, we had so much fun shooting,'' she adds.

The problem area was dancing, she says. ``I had a lot of dancing to do in the movie which I initially found very difficult. I used to dread it. I even went for classes. But now since I got the hang of it and have found my rhythm, I love it. There's so much energy in our songs.''

The other films that she has signed up for are `Enakku 20, Unakku 18' opposite Tarun, directed by debutant Jyothi (producer A.M. Rathnam's son), `Mounam Pesiyathey' opposite Surya, with debutant director Amir and `Thiruda' opposite Ajit with Shaji Kailash.

Shooting for `Lesa Lesa' in Ooty, she had her first taste of stardom when people gathered around, asking her for autographs. ``First, I felt really nice. But then, I saw that they were asking everybody for autographs. They took autographs from junior artistes, crew and almost everybody associated with the film,'' she laughs.

``But being famous is nice. People think it is an occupational hazard. But I think it is nice. If you want to keep something private, you can always keep it private,'' says Kollywood's newest star as she gears up for the second part of the ``jump" — the perfect landing bit.

By Sudhish Kamath

Photo: M. Moorthy