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Just six Jackie Shroff

Regions no bar

PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR



SOUTH BOUND Actor Jackie Shroff

Actor Jackie Shroff means it when he says he has no qualms acting in regional films. Proof to this is his presence in the Bengali film Antarmahal directed by Rituparno Ghosh, the Telugu film Astram, and the Kannada film Care of Footpath. Shroff, who is away in London shooting for Priyadarshan's film, shares his `southern experience'.

Passionate about films: On his decision to act in Astram, he says, "One of the prime reasons, apart from the production unit, is the passion that people in Andhra have for films. I also wanted to see whether people in Andhra would accept me in a Telugu film. They've seen my Hindi films earlier but this was different. I had to play a Carnatic singer."

More Telugu films: The actor says he is open to doing more Telugu films. "Why not? I haven't seen Astram since I've been travelling. I am waiting to see the response. If there are good scripts, you will see me more in Telugu films," he quips.

In awe: "I've said this often but this is something I've always been in awe of. Actors are respected and idolised in the South. The respect that actors like Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Mohanbabu or Balakrishna get is unimaginable for actors in Mumbai."

Footpath: Shroff has also done a cameo for the Kannada film directed by 10-year-old film-maker Kishen. He reminisces, "I met Kishen at a function and was told that he is the youngest film-maker. I asked him what film he plans to make. He replied, `Care of Footpath.' I told him that before I became an actor, I too was in the care of the footpaths in Mumbai. I then asked him to call me if he had a suitable role for me. A few days later, he called and asked me to do a cameo - the Chief Minister of Karnataka. I was touched. I enjoyed shooting with such a young director who would call me uncle."

Multi-lingual: Language is not a problem, Shroff insists. "There are people to prompt you on the sets and teach you how to say the lines. Acting in other languages has helped me widen my perspective of cinema. When there are so many actresses from the North acting in regional films, why not we, male actors?"

More acceptability: "Actors are breaking free from their rigid images. This explains why Ajay Devgan, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan have tried Bengali cinema. The audience today is more accepting."

SANGEETHA DEVI. K

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