Monday, June 28, 2004

Jaipur glam girl is south's sex symbol

This is a story that I wanted to pen for the paper ever since I moved to Jaipur from Bangalore. My magazine writing teacher, an out-of-this-world personality, put me through to this story. It finally ran in Sunday's edition of Hindustan Times in Jaipur. She can be viewed on www.kiranontheweb.com:

A few years back she did not step out of home beyond six the evening. That is, well, history now. Today, she feels that showing her cleavage is “normal”. This is the story of the metamorphosis of Kiran Rathod, originally from a conservative family in Jaipur, into a world where oomph and the come-hither look form essential survival instincts. The girl from your city is, arguably, the queen of Tamil cinema today.

After a brief presence on screen with Yaadein and a Coca-Cola commercial, it was a chance encounter with AVM Limited, one of the oldest Tamil film production houses, that sent her neckline plunging as she forayed down south. She was launched in the mega hit Gemini and it brought her an instant award for the best debutante in the 2002 Cinema Express Awards.

“Showing the cleavage is not vulgar,” she says. “I think exposing to an extent is normal and I know my limits,” insists Rathod, who deflated the notion that most films down south are mainly exaggerated frames of sexuality. “I also acted in Anbesivam with Kamal Hasan and it was critically acclaimed,” she adds.

Rathod has performed in nearly 15 films, three of them are in Telugu and one in Malayalam; the rest are in Tamil. She dabbles in Tamil but her voice is still dubbed by a single lady for all her films. “I think it is the glamour feel to me that has clicked here. All my roles have had that feel,” Rathod says.

When Rathod decided that she would move to the south, a land most here associate with the loincloth-donning and marble-mouthed people, her family debated its implications. Her father strongly opposed the idea. “We were concerned about our social standing initially and her lifestyle. People did not say anything explicitly to us but it was, nonetheless, odd. But we have adjusted now,” says her mother Anita Rathod, currently with her in Mumbai. “She was adamant about it. Moreover, there is more vulgarity in films being produced from Mumbai,” she adds.

C-Scheme is still home and so is the rest of the city. But, firmly entrenched there, Rathod wants to continue to “rule” the Tamil cinema industry for another five years. “That is why I am now looking for more performance-oriented roles,” she says. “I do not want to be a showpiece,” Rathod adds.

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