The ultimate reigning queen of the 100 crore brigade, four out of the five films that this actress has been a part of have been super hits. Dainty, soft and extremely vulnerable, meet the docile actress from the coastal lines of Kerala, Asin. Extremely picky about the films that she does, Asin has carved a niche for herself in the Hindi film fraternity making her presence felt in movies that echoed powerful names from the Khans and Bachchans to the Kumars and the Devgns!
In a high spirited conversation, sharing mutual admiration was Asin, who is extremely excited for her upcoming film, Khiladi 786 expecting it to lend her a hat trick of sorts at the box office with another 100 crores. Presenting the performer and the artist that lies embedded within this bubbly Bollywood diva.
Four out of the five films you did have crossed the much awaited 100 crore mark at the box office. How does it feel to be the ultimate and undisputed queen of the 100 crore brigade?
I am really very happy to have the 100 crore movies to my credit. But I so wish I had a share in the profits too (Bursts out laughing). All the 100 crores go into the producer’s pocket. Cutting all the jokes, I would like to say that at the end of the day, you are just making films. Films are your business and I am glad that my films hit the bull’s eye. All films are meant to achieve their target, do well for the people making them and make everybody involved in the project happy. I am extremely overwhelmed that most of my films have been superhits. Those films have gone to do all that and people who made them have rejoiced, they have got everything in return for their effort. I am happy for that. But personally, these box office collection, the 100 crore or the numbers indicate that a huge amount of people have watched my film and liked the film. The fact that I have been so hugely appreciated by all is all that stands for me rather than who has earned how much or my bank balance. As an artist, getting the pleasure of knowing that so many people have gone to watch my film and have got entertained is what encourages me. That’s what I get from every film of mine.
You were supposed to do ‘Chakravyuh’ with Prakash Jha but it didn’t work out. A lot has been talked about it already. Would you clear the air once and for all?
I have clarified it over all the interviews I did in the past. And I will stick to what I said. Not just me, even Abhishek (Bachchan) was offered the film Chakravyuh but both of us were working for Bol Bachchan at that point of time and both of us could not do the film. It was only the dates that created the problem else I would love to be in a Prakash Jha film in future.
Being a Keralian, and playing the role of a Maharashtrian mulgi in ‘Khiladi 786’, you stand as a symbol of how cosmopolitan Indian cinema is. Playing a Marathi girl must have been extremely challenging for you. How did you prepare to get into the shoes of Indu Tendulkar for this film?
You know, I must bring something else to everyone’s notice as well. When I acted in my first Telugu film, I played the role of a Tamil character in a Telugu character although I am a Malayali by origin. People think Tamil, Telugu, Malayali have very little differences between them since all hail from South but it is as different as Marathi is from Punjabi or Gujarati. Coming to this film and Indu’s character, my preparation was not hard. The fact that I was living in Bombay and I have a lot of Maharashtrians that I can interact with made my job a lot easier. In a Bombay film set, there are so many people who can help you with the character, whether it is the language, the nuances or be it the dressing styles. I took a lot of help from the people just around me. Even the make up assistant of mine was a Maharashtrian and in case I had a problem while getting ready or probably reading my lines, I would check with him to know if my pronunciation was correct. That was just it. To understand the whole culture, the background and incorporating them into my reel character was the only homework I had to do. Even though it’s a Hindi film, you have Hindi dialogues but you have to speak in that accented Hindi as any other Maharashtrian would speak. I must say that after I finished the film, I realized that Akshay also speaks Maharashtrian very fluently. Had I known that earlier, I could have asked him to help.
Akshay returning back on screen as Khiladi after 12 long years and you playing the lead heroine to him in this film, what are your expectations from ‘Khiladi 786’?
My expectation can be summed up with just one thing. I want the film to be a hit as well and that’s the only thing I am bothered about! But it has been wonderful to have Akshay back as Khiladi, the audiences have really expected him and only him as the Khiladi of Hindi cinema. The word ‘Khiladi’ is so closely associated with him. Speaking of being the latest Miss Khiladi in the Khiladi series is very interesting to me. I think the first Khiladi came out in 1991, at that point of time probably I was in upper kindergarten so I have watched all the Khiladi films while growing up in school. I have watched all the songs on TV and I never ever imagined that I would probably go on to become a star and act in a Khiladi movie. That has been an interesting part of being the heroine in the film and what I look forward from the film is getting just another superhit movie. But hat I have already got from the film is a wonderful working experience. It was a lot of fun with a lovely unit that I worked with.
Any fun experiences from the shoot which you can share with us? Akshay is known to play pranks on his co stars. Did he play any prank on you this time?
No pranks really. You know most of the pranks are played during the promotions of the film. At least my experience says so. During the shoot you are so involved in just getting the scenes right that you can’t really divert your focus towards that. Now that the shoots are over and we would be traveling and promoting and interacting with everyone, I can apprehend all the pranks that Akshay has planned. Last time during Housefull 2, he had stuffed stale parathas from the hotel into my bag and got the security to check my bags. I kept on denying that ‘No, I am not carrying anything, any food in my bag’. But they insisted on checking and found out some rotten fruits and parathas all mixed with my make up and other stuff. This is the kind of pranks he plays and it happens only during promotions, city tours and when we are traveling.
Not just Akshay, you are also working with Mithunda in this film, once more after Housefull 2. How were your experiences with him?
Mithunda is a really sweet person and really encouraging. I met him while working on Housefull 2 and I was surprised to see that he knows my career track record so far. Whether they are the South Indian films or the Hindi films, he has known what kind of films I have worked on. He has seen my work down south and has been very encouraging and appreciative about my work. Because he has a base in Ooty and has lived there for so many years, he is also more closely associated with what is happening down south as well. He is very well informed about both the industries and has been very, very positive to me. It is a really personal close bond that I share with Mithunda.
So what according to you is the USP of this film?
For me, the USP of Khiladi 786 would definitely be Akshay’s return in his Khiladi avatar, doing action as well as comedy, highlighting Akshay’s strength as an actor. He has proved this point in the last few films he has made and other than these two points, there is also a love angle to it and a lot of emotions. Plus the film has good music; I personally love the album that Himmeshji made for Khiladi as each song is different from one another. So yes, Akshay back in his avatar, doing action and comedy, with some good music makes Khiladi a very fun and entertaining film. That would be its USP, I guess!