She came into the limelight with her coffee bean complexion in Ajnabee and was called a scorcher for her skin show in Jism. But Bollywood beauty Bipasha Basu, who turns 30 Wednesday, has now moved on from being just a sex icon and is signing on mature roles.
Voted the Sexiest Asian woman in 2007 by the British weekly newspaper Eastern Eye, the starlet of films like Rudraksh, No Entry, Omkara and Dhoom 2 is taking steps towards signing on for serious roles.
"If I don't like what's being offered, I won't sign anything (any more)," Bipasha had earlier told IANS in an interview.
Her stint with arthouse movie started with Prakash Jha's 2005 political drama Apaharan. He presented her in a deglamourised role, but it was Ajay Devgan who had an author-backed role.
Bipasha's first meatier role was in Madhur Bhandarkar's critically acclaimed 2006 film Corporate. She proved her mettle and both critics and audiences applauded her performance. She was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress award.
Last year she did Rituparno Ghosh's Bengali film Shob Charitro Kalponik and is currently doing Sudipto Chattopadhyaya's Pankh and Rahul Dholakia's Lamhaa.
Despite churning out fewer hits and more misses, the actress, who entered filmdom in 2001, constantly hogged the limelight, thanks to her oomph factor.
Her long-awaited share of fame came in 2008 with hits like Race and Bachna Ae Haseeno. She is now breaking from convention and taking on new challenges.
For Lamhaa, Bipasha is all set to change the dynamics of physical appearances of a Kashmiri girl.
"When you think of a Kashmiri girl in our movies, what comes to mind is a fair-skinned, light-eyed girl. But I want to disprove that myth. The pre-conceived notions have to be overcome," said Bipasha.
The actress is bent on looking convincing in the role and had even invited a Kashmiri woman to Mumbai in order to study her body language, speech patterns and mannerisms to get into the character.
"I think I'm going to be more keen on getting it right than the director. I've never done a film like this before. The role requires me to be someone else altogether.
"And for this I needed help. I wanted to play the character the way girls really are today in Kashmir. Very basic,"