17 films old already down South, this Southern siren is now ready to hit it big in Bollywood, come December 25, with her first Hindi film Ghajini opposite Aamir Khan. Asin must now be added to the growing list of South Indian actresses who've risen to Bollywood prominence. For a long time, though, it really looked like she wouldn't make it. But is there more to Asin than the all-south Indian image she has created on-screen? Until recently, the actress was virtually unknown in the all-important Indian movie industry. Now she's one of its biggest stars or is she? It's hoped the movie will do for Asin what Namastey London did for Katrina Kaif. But like Kats, Asin is remaining resolutely down to earth about becoming Bollywood's latest leading lady. In this exclusive the beauty gets ready to talk to our London correspondent about why being a part of Ghajini was a piece of cake, why she would love to treat Aamir with some idli and sambhar, how perfect is the 'perfectionist' Aamir Khan and will her film come as a welcome relief for the grieving India.
We all know it's not 'a sin' to work with Aamir Khan. It's a boon and a blessing in disguise instead. What say?
(Laughs out loud) Nice way to put it huh? I've been an ardent admirer of Aamir Khan's movies, his acting and him as a person, ever since I was a kid, it is a dream come true. To work with him in my first Hindi venture is fabulous. I must say that he is a very supportive co-star, encouraging and very down to earth. That is the high point of his personality. He is passionate about his work which we all know and to see him in an avtaar like this in Ghajini is inspiring.
What made your director Murugadoss or Aamir for that matter, sign the same face of the Tamil version Ghajini in Hindi too?
(Laughs) I have no idea. You'll have to interview Murugadoss to get your answer. All I know is that I've done the original Ghajini and am lucky to be a part of the same film made in Hindi.
I'm sure the Hindi version of Ghajini must've been a piece of cake for you, isn't it? Same role, etc...
You're somewhat right. I was already familiar with my character. My role in the Hindi version of Ghajini has not been changed and is the same as in the original. Kalpana, the girl I play remains Kalpana, except the settings keep on changing. The film has been changed a little bit in the second half, the action sequences too have been changed and the climax of Ghajini is tweaked for the better.
Now to ask you the question, how was your experience working in a biggie like Ghajini makes no sense because you'll be seen doing the same thing what you did in the original?
Not really. The people working on the Hindi Ghajini are quite different from those working in the original. When you're working with a different technical crew and the people behind the scenes, they tend to bring a whole new flavour to the film. It's not always the same as to what you've done before. I wouldn't say this film is a repeat of the Tamil version because the entire experience of working with the cast and the crew was like a new change. I would advice the people who've seen the Tamil version to go to the theatres with a fresh frame of mind to watch Ghajini and watch it as a different movie.
Thanks to Aamir who liked the Tamil version and we know the rest is history. But if it wasn't for Aamir's fondness for the subject, we wouldn't have seen Asin launch in Bollywood.
(Laughs) That's an interesting observation. Well, I had been getting Bollywood offers before Ghajini but I was waiting for the right kind of projects to come to me. When I was approached for Ghajini, I thought it was the perfect baby step into Bollywood because it's a dream come true to be working with the perfectionist Khan in your debut. When you've got Murugadoss behind the camera, when you've got A.R.Rahman's music and when you've got Ravi K. Chandran's cinematography, you can't ask for more in your first film.
The song 'Aye Bacchu' has got a lot of attitude which is picturised on you. Have you got one?
(Laughs) No, I don't but the song has. 'Aye Bacchu' has got a bindaas attitude with a message, live your life to the fullest, which is basically what Kalpana the character is all about. It's my introduction song. Off screen, I am bindaas too.
How do you rate Aamir as a dancer?
I really don't have any song with him where we actually shake a leg. The only two songs in which I'm there with him are romantic duets. Aamir is doing most of the singing and I'm just filling in the gaps. I'm sure Aamir is a good dancer but I can't rate him as the best.
Having said that, can Mr. Perfectionist be perfect if he moves to the south Indian film industry?
Absolutely yes, there is no doubt about it. He can not only be perfect in the south but all over the world. I'm sure if he goes to Hollywood he will be accepted with open arms. And yes, he doesn't have to have a moustache if he intends to join Tollywood because that's an outdated concept now. It's a wrong notion that people have about having a moustache. This entire quick gun murgan thing is not at all applicable in today's time down south.
Is Ghajini an A.R. Murugadoss film or an Aamir Khan film?
In a way, an Aamir Khan film. Ghajini is about Sanjay Singhania, that's Aamir Khan's name in the film. It is also a complete Murugadoss film because it is visualized, screen played, written and directed by Murugadoss. Ghajini's highlight is exactly what an Indian commercial romantic action thriller needs and both Murugadoss and Aamir have proved that.
Will Ghajini come as a welcome relief for the grieving India?
I hope people find the movie watching experience good and they enjoy it. There are parts of romance in the film which will make you feel good, laughter which will make you laugh and drama which will keep you on the edge of your seat. India and Indians are surely going to bounce back in days to come. I know this time around it's a different story all together.
How really perfect is Aamir Khan the perfectionist? Or is he?
Perfectionist is a good term to describe Aamir. But somewhere I've seen the media has portrayed him slightly in a negative manner. Yes, he is very particular about every shot, looks into the detailing a lot. People think he ghost directs, he hasn't done that in Ghajini but if he gives an idea to the director, the media thinks he directed it. I don't buy that. He is non-interfering at all.
Jiah said it, now it's your turn. Did you go gaga over Aamir's physique?
Oh yes. He looks so hot. More than the weight and his six packs, he has put in a lot of effort into his character. Another reason to watch Ghajini is Aamir's body. Bollywood's latest action hero is here.
Any exciting moments you can recall?
We shot on real locations in Mumbai, the roads, the buildings, etc. We hardly put up sets for the film. I remember I had to ride a scooty with Mr. Aamir Khan behind me. It was real fun because imagine one fine Monday morning when people saw Aamir on a scooty in Mumbai. The excitement and the experience on real locations with Aamir was truly unique.
Did you then treat him with some idli sambhar or dosas?
(Laughs) Not yet actually. I would've loved to treat him though with some idli vada and sambhar.
What message would you like to give to your fans in the south and your future fans of Bollywood?
I don't know. I seriously have no message for them regarding myself. But I'd love to tell all Bollywood fans to go and watch Ghajini, the experience that is - Aamir Khan. Remember the date - 25th December.
Vipul Shah's London Dreams with Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan and a Walt Disney production titled 19th Step with Mr. Kamal Hassan and the Japanese actor Asanu. It is based on Indian martial arts.