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Leading lady

Meena, the heroine of `Udayananu Tharam,' tells VIJAY GEORGE, that her parents are looking for a suitable boy



"I love to travel and see the world"

NOT FAR from the hullabaloo of a film location, Meena relaxes in a chair, immersed in Agatha Christie's `Sleeping Murder.' Meena, who has some 45 films to her credit as a child star, is used to the confusion and work on a film set.

She was introduced to films by Sivaji Ganesan. "I was doing my schooling in Chennai when he saw me at a birthday bash. I feel extremely proud to have been discovered by the legend."

Debut in Tamil

She made her debut in Tamil as a heroine in `Oru Pudiya Kadhai.' Meena is a much-in-demand heroine in Telugu and Kannada. It was her role as a lovely young girl in `Santhwanam' that catapulted her to fame in Malayalam.

"I really want to do more films in Malayalam. But it does not happen that frequently owing to availability of dates," says she.

Her latest release in Malayalam, `Udayananu Tharam,' has set the cash registers ringing. She plays a film-heroine called Madhumathi. How close is the character to her, as an actress? "My character in the film is going through loads of stress, off the camera. Of course, I too have heard such stories. But luckily for me, I have never had to face such issues in my case."

She is currently acting in Ranjith's `Chandrolsavam,' which has Mohanlal as her hero and is slated for a Vishu release.

She has been a celebrity throughout her life. How does that feel?

"I love the attention that I get. I do tend to be reserved with strangers. But I am a friendly person."

If she had not become an actor, Meena would have loved to join the Indian Foreign Services, "as I love to travel and want to see the world." After she opted for a career in films, she completed her post graduation in history.

Child star or heroine

Which phase in her career was the best, as a child star or as a heroine? "Memories as a child are really fabulous and I still cherish them. And it is still more special as that phase is over. Now, I am enjoying my stint as a heroine."

Among her films, Meena chooses `Bharati Kannamma' and `Shock' in Tamil, `Seetha Ramayya Gaari Manavaralu,' in Telugu, which was a turning point in her career, `Santhwanam' in Malayalam and `Swathi Muthu' in Kannada as "some of her top favourites, though every film of mine is close to my heart."

If she is not facing the camera, Meena prefers to spend time with her family. She also loves music and dance.

She says she has learnt to ignore gossip. "It did affect me earlier, but I am used to such things by now," smiles she.

Is marriage on the cards? "Naturally, my parents are on the lookout for that suitable boy." What are the qualifications needed for her dream man?

"He should be sincere, understanding, faithful and should have a good sense of humour," she says.

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