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I'm proud of Khallas Girl image

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): Six years ago this hazel-eyed beauty stormed her way in public imagination through the item song 'Khallas' in Ramgopal Verma's Company, a song which earned her the 'Khallas girl' tag in the industry as well as among cinegoers. From playing the item girl in company and Sanjay Gupta's Kaante to being featured as the girlfriend of superstar Shahrukh Khan in this year's most-awaited release Don, Isha Koppikar has come of age. She may have entered the big league in Bollywood with Farhan Akhtar's remake of the 70s hit Don and the forthcoming Salaam-E-Ishq and Shabri, but unlike many of her contemporaries who tend to play down their 'item girl' or 'sexy' image once they get famous, Isha takes pride in her 'Khallas Girl' image.

''I can never be tired of my 'Khallas girl' image. After all, it is because of the song 'Khallas' in Ramgopal Verma's 'Company' that I got noticed in the industry as well as among the general public. For me to be associated with a tag, just as Hema Malini was identified as the 'Dream girl', is a matter of pride,'' Isha told UNI in an interview on the eve of release of the film this Friday. She, however, admitted that given a choice she would definitely prefer doing a full fledged role rather than just play an item girl. As far as getting full-fledged roles, things have never been better for Isha as they are now.

With Farhan Akhtar's Don ready for release and with Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishaq, Ramgopal Verma's Shabri and Darling to follow in the coming months, 2006 could well be described as the "coming-of-age" year for Isha. ''2006 is definitely a turning point in my career. For, on one hand I am playing the girlfriend of Shahrukh Khan in Don, a character which is the most original one in the remake and meatier than the earlier Don, on the other hand I am playing the role of a female dacoit for the first time Shabri,'' she said.

Talking about her role in Don, she said, ''I play the character of Anita, Shahrukh Khan's girlfriend. Anita is a very mysterious woman. You don't know what she is up to in the film. Infact, Anita is one character that has been borne out of Farhan's interesting interpretation of the earlier 'Don'. So, while the character was almost non-existent in the original film, in the remake, it is an integral part of the story. In Farhan's interpretation, the relationship between Don and Anita unfolds as the movie progresses.'' In the film, Isha features in two songs - the title song 'Main Hoom Don'and a 'jugalbandi' featuring her with Priyanka Chopra where both of them are trying to woo Shahrukh.

It was Isha's first experience of working with the charming Shahrukh Khan and it has left her highly impressed. ''Shahrukh is a very energetic person. During the nearly three month-long schedule in Malaysia, I never found him bored. He was constantly at his jokes. It is rare to find such commitment at this level as is evident from the work of Shahrukh,'' she says. Lined up for release next for her is Ramgopal Verma's Shabri.

''Shabri is the story of a girl from a lower middle class family living in a JJ cluster. Some circumstances force her to take up the Gun. My role in Shabri is my best till date. Infact, i'd go further to say that it is one role I had always dreamt of doing,''she said. Among Isha's other forthcoming releases is Ramgopal Verma's Darling and Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq.

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