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Ready for more

After a lull, Asin is back in the reckoning. Harshikaa Udasi talks to the actor about her upcoming films with Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan

A two-year gap is huge, especially when there are youngsters clamouring to be part of Bollywood. But trust Asin to get back in the reckoning in style. Busy with the promotions of Ready (remake of the Telugu film Ready) with Salman Khan, the effervescent actor is packing her bags for a month-and-a-half stay in London for her film Housefull 2 opposite Akshay Kumar and is also bracing herself to face Shah Rukh Khan in the film adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s “2 States.” Ask her if she is all set to pull out one ace after another in Bollywood, and she says, “I just feel happy and blessed that I am working with actors of such repute. First Salman and next up is my film with Akshay. Not just that, the banners I am working with are also huge. As for 2 States, I wouldn’t like to comment.”

A picture of confidence, Asin knows now is the time to make up for her last film’s dismal box office report. Bollywood’s been a mixed bag; while Ghajini made a huge impact, the big-budgeted London Dreams didn’t fire anybody’s imagination and, except for television commercials, the actor has not been seen in a single movie since 2009. Does she regret the decision to move to the Hindi film industry when she was at her peak in Tamil films? “I think it was a good decision,” reiterates Asin. “But it isn’t like people think; I hadn’t planned my move to Bollywood, though I will agree that the scope of reaching out to a larger audience exists in the Hindi film industry. I was approached by the producers who were thinking of remaking Ghajini and I saw no harm in being part of this wonderful team,” says the actor, denying any ambition of shifting to Mumbai for work then.

“I’d like to believe I am an actor of Indian cinema, and I have a soft spot for cinema in the South as it gave me the opportunity to explore myself as an actor,” she says, when asked about her plans to continue in southern films. “I have a lot of offers coming in for Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films, but I seriously think I should choose with care. I have done several films in the South and don’t want to repeat myself. The day I get something new and exciting, I will sign it,” she says, adding she hasn’t currently green lighted any regional project.

Despite the failure of London Dreams, she has got another chance to work opposite Salman. An opportunity any other actor would have given her right arm for? Asin chuckles, “Having worked with Salman twice, I can say I am armless!” Speaking about her co-star, she says, “As an actor, Salman is a challenge to work with because he throws anything at you once the camera rolls. You have to think on your feet and be ready for anything, he is that spontaneous. As a person, Salman is absolutely unpretentious. It’s difficult to believe that a person like this exists in the world of showbiz.” In Ready, Asin plays Sanjana (essayed by Genelia D’Souza in the original) who falls in love with Prem (Salman) and has to fend off the greedy intentions of some of her relatives who are eyeing her wealth. The focus is clearly on Salman in this one, with Asin admitting that the Telugu script has been tweaked to not only suit North Indian sensibilities but also Salman’s superstar status. Doesn’t it make her insecure that consequently the hero is hogging the limelight when it comes to promotions? “It’s a reflection of our male-dominated society. A commercial format naturally focusses on the hero. I have no problems with that. I am happy with the space I am occupying. Also I think that as a superstar, Salman deserves every bit of the adoration and space he is getting.”

The actor says she hasn’t been influenced in the least by Genelia’s portrayal of Sanjana. “I had watched the original film casually even before I was approached to do it. I have followed Anees Bazmee’s (director, Ready) vision of the story and the character.”

Stories abound in tinsel town that Asin’s refusal to wear revealing clothes and be part of intimate scenes is proving to be a hindrance to her career. Ask her about it, and her reply is straightforward. “I am not aware of this but at the same time I am comfortable only in a certain setup. There is a thin line dividing the aesthetic and the vulgar. I will do only what I am comfortable with. As for intimate scenes, nobody has yet approached me for any such so that’s merely speculation. My career will run with or without such support,” she asserts.

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