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I want to be known as an Indian star: Shriya Saran
Roshmila Bhattacharya , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 07, 2008
First Published: 11:31 IST(7/2/2008)
Last Updated: 12:33 IST(7/2/2008)
They are trained dancers, have smouldering looks and are making waves down south. Here are the actresses that rule southern cinema...

She made news when she bagged a role opposite superstar Rajnikanth in Sivaji. Shriya Saran speaks to Roshmilla Bhattacharya on movies and more.

What's up?
I've been shooting for Apoorva Lakhia's Mission Istanbul. And there's Ek-The Power of One, a cute love story. I'm playing a hyper-Punjabi girl who talks more and thinks less. In some ways, she's like me .. (laughs) though I'm not so dumb.

Hopefully, these appearances will be longer than your role in Aawarapan?
The role was brief but it was an important character. I was sceptical initially but Mohit (Suri) asked me to trust him. The girl I played was like a beautiful fairy. Aawarapan strengthened my conviction that all religions are equal.

Many believe that Aawarapan was your debut Hindi film but you've done films like Thoda Hum Badlo Thoda Tum and Shukriya earlier?
I signed Thoda Hum.. and Shukriya years ago.. when I was very young. Today, I take better decisions.

How do you look back on Sivaji?
It was such a high to be caught in a massive traffic jam in Chennai on my way to the film's premiere. Subsequently, people from Bhopal, Jaipur and Mumbai have come up to me and complimented me.

Rajnikant sir is so cool. Although he is the biggest Asian star, he still travels in a small car, doesn't demand five-star accommodation and chats up the light-boys. And I'll never forget the lavish dance sequences. Sometimes even (director) Shankar couldn't recognise me. Once when I wore a blonde wig, my mother thought I was a foreigner.

<b1>There was a controversy over the dress you wore for Sivaji's 175th day celebrations with some organisations voicing their protest.
It was a knee-length dress. We're a free country, I should be able to wear what I like unless it's indecent. Even the CM's daughter stood up for me. But if I've been disrespectful to any section of society, I apologise.

One expected to see you back with Rajnikant in Robot but it will be Aishwarya Rai.
Really? I didn't know that but I'm a huge fan of Aishwarya's. I'm sure she'll be terrific. (Smiles) I'm also a fan of Shankar and if he were to offer me another film I'd grab it.

How did you land Ashok Amritraj's international project The Other Side of the Line?
They were looking for a Bombay girl, thanks to Sivaji they'd heard of me. I had to attend a two-week workshop. My co-stars Anupam Kher and Jesse Metcalfe were a big help.

The buzz is that you're dating Jesse Metcalfe?
 He's already into a serious relationship. He's a nice guy, I respect his friendship. It does become a bit difficult though.. I have to explain things to my parents who are simple, normal folk.

Is it adieu to the South then?
I have Kandaswami with Vikram coming up. It's a lavish, largerthan-life movie. I wear no-makeup and have very short hair. Hey, north or south, I want to be an Indian star, remember?


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