South Indian actress Asin is hugely popular in Tamil and Telugu cinema and she is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite Aamir Khan in "Ghajini". The versatile star says she is comfortable in all three languages and doesn't need dubbing artistes!
"I speak both languages (Tamil and Telugu) fluently and do all my dubbing myself. I've never used a dubbing artiste for any of my films, not even for the Hindi ads that I've done. And I'm speaking in my own voice in my first Hindi film 'Ghajini'. It's in sync-sound, so there was no choice," Asin told IANS.
The actress, who was brought up in Kerala and debuted in Sathyan Anthikad's Malayalam film "Narendra Makan Jayakanthan Vaka" in 2001, is touted to be the next Bollywood diva from the south, following in the footsteps of Hema Malini, Rekha and Sridevi.
Tell her this, and she laughs in delight and embarrassment.
"I admire the names you've mentioned. I'm a long way from getting anywhere near them. I thought I was fairly unknown in Mumbai. I guess I'm lucky. But, yes, I feel hugely welcome in Mumbai. I don't know why filmmakers are showing so much interest in me. I guess they must've seen my work in Tamil and Telugu," she said.
Many people wonder what her unique name means and she is only happy to explain.
"Most people tend to give it an Islamic spin. Asin is coined from Sanskrit and English. It means 'sinless' like 'Amala'...without blemish. I hope I live up to my name in Mumbai."
So is Mumbai home now?
"I'm in Mumbai now. I thought that was the practical thing to do. But only because my immediate commitments are in Mumbai. I'm the brand ambassador for six multinational companies and the ads need to be shot in Mumbai. And now there're the Hindi films."
Asin, surprisingly, speaks Hindi without an accent.
"I can manage it quite well. And I don't have a thick south Indian accent. In these days of globalisation I don't think language is a barrier. And I'm only looking for good roles regardless of language. I'm interested in films in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and any other language as long as they are exciting. I look at the script, then the role, director, banner and finally my co-star."
Since she has moved to Mumbai, there are rumours down south that she's giving up on south Indian cinema.
"That's completely untrue. Whatever I'm today is because of Tamil and Telegu cinema. Why am I expected to choose between Mumbai and the south?"
Asin has been lucky to be cast opposite top south Indian stars like Kamal Haasan, Surya, Vikram and Ajith. She has won two South Filmfare Awards for Best Actress, the second one being for Tamil film "Ghajini" (2005). It is this film that is being remade into Hindi, providing her a Bollywood launchpad.
With such a hectic three-language cinematic career when and where does Asin get the chance to be normal?
"I guess I'm pretty normal and grounded," she laughed. "Because of the so-called stardom down south people expect me to behave in a particular way. And they're disappointed when I don't."