Saturday, 19 September 2009

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Asin Thottumkal
In 2004 Asin Thottumkal was shooting for the Telugu film ‘Gharshana’ at a lake in Nuwara Eliya, a popular hill station in Sri Lanka. Shooting was proceeding on two boats.

When pack-up time was announced, Asin was sitting in one corner of the boat and she suddenly saw water pouring in. “I am thinking, ‘Hey, this is slightly odd but maybe it is no big deal ’,” she says.

The next moment Asin, who does not know swimming, found herself in the water, along with 17 other people, as the boat sank. The lake has a depth of 60 feet. “It was a Titanic moment,” she says. “I remember an assistant director shouting, ‘Somebody please save Asin.’” As Asin sank she held her nerve, flailed her arms and legs and managed to come up for breath. It was when she sputtered for breath for the third time that she began to feel traumatised. “I felt I had reached the limit,” she says. “Suddenly I felt a tug. Somebody was pulling my shirt collar.” The person dragged Asin towards the back of the upturned boat. Asin clambered on and when she looked back, she was surprised to see that it was her own father who had rescued her. “He is a good swimmer,” she says. “When he saw me go under, he jumped in.

Thanks to him, I have a second life.” And, thankfully, everybody else was also saved, most with only minor injuries. Cameraman Raj Shekhar was not so lucky. In a bid to save Asin, he jumped in and his shirt was caught on a nail on the boat. He lost balance and, later, consciousness and remained under water for a few minutes before he was rescued. “Even now he suffers from a back ailment,” says Asin.

At the restaurant at Alappuzha’s Punnamada Backwater Resort, Asin laughs easily. She is intelligent and articulate, and at 8 pm she does not give an impression of tiredness even though she had been awake since 3 am shooting a commercial for Tanishq Jewellery, for whom Asin is the brand ambassador.

Sitting next to her is Alpana Parida, Head-Marketing & Merchandising, Tanishq. “Asin is like a flower,” she says. “She conveys absolute freshness.

This became one of the big hits of 2004.

The good run in Tamil continued in 2005 when she starred in of the biggest hits, ‘Ghajini’, with Surya. When ‘Ghajini’ was released Asin went to Satyam cinema in Chennai on the first day to see the first show with the audience. “It was very exciting,” she says. “Instead of watching the film, I observed the reactions of the audience. The audience laughed wherever they had to laugh and cried at the right places. It was then I was able to understand what worked for me and what didn’t.” In 2006 Asin got a chance to star opposite Kamal Haasan in ‘Dasavathaaram’ where the star played ten roles. So what is the singular impression that she has of Kamala Haasan? “It is his passion for cinema,” she says. “He is so knowledgeable about all aspects of filming. What I learned from him is how to have the intensity to go on and on. Look how much he has achieved. And he is pushing the limits all the time.” Now Asin has moved to Bollywood and has just bought a flat in the upmarket Bandra area. Three films will be released soon: the Hindi remake of ‘Ghajini’, with Aamir Khan, a film produced by Walt Disney called the ‘19th Step’ and ‘London Dreams’ whose hero is the controversial Salman Khan.

“I found Salman simple and down-to-earth,” she says.

“He speaks straight from the heart and that may have caused a negative perception to arise about him in the media.” For ‘London Dreams’ Asin was reportedly paid a fee of Rs 1.5 crore.

Not bad for a 23-year-old from Kochi with an unusual name. So what does Asin mean? “It means purity,” she says
source :(express buzz)


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