Thursday, July 15, 2010

Asin. Against the wall

Asin was once the most loved heroine in Tamil cinema. Her upward swing started soon after ‘M. Kumaran S/o Mahalashmi’ and peaked with Gajini and after starring with only the biggest stars of today Asin landed in Bollywwod. Her first Hindi film ‘Gajini’ took her to stardom right away in Bollywood. Ironically, she got almost all the ‘Best Debutante Award in Bollywood that year after having done over 15 films in her seven years career down south.

When she was planning to shift base to Mumbai for ever her second film ‘London Dreams’ bit the dust. In spite of having stars like Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan it was a washout. With no other Hindi film in sight suddenly Asin felt a vacuum and desperately wanted something for survival. Again Kollywood came to her rescue. Asin was signed for a film with Vijay. After signing ‘Kaaval Kadhal’ opposite Vijay, Asin was into camouflaged ‘sour grapes’ talk about Bollywood.

However, things changed during shooting for ‘Kaaval Kadhal’. Her good friend Salman Khan recommended her for his film ‘Ready’. Then the IIFA fiasco happened and Salman had attended the show despite requests from the highest bodies of South Indian Film Industry not to participate in IIFA in Srilanka as the country was charged with genocide of innocent Tamils. The biggest stars of Bollywood including Amitabh Bachchan, Abishek, Aishwarya Rai, Shah Ruk Khan, Katrina Kaif and others stayed away from the event respecting the sentiments of the Tamil community all over the world. But the industry boycotted event was attended by the likes of Salman Khan, Hrithil Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

But charmed by the country during IIFA Salman Khan crazily changed the locations of ‘Ready’ film to Srilanka from the earlier decided to be Mauritius. Asin who was to star in ‘Ready’ was in a dilemma of whether to go or not to go to Colombo defying the ban call given by all the industry associations like TFPC, FEFSI, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors associations and SIFCC.

Finally Asin went ahead and landed in Srilanka saying she is under the contract of the producer to attend the shoot wherever it happens. Salman Khan openly ridiculed the South Indian Film Industry’s boycott call and praised the Srilankans and particularly the family of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Emboldened Asin then questioned the sincerity in the ban order issued to her when the Indian cricket team is allowed to play in Srilanka, businessmen visiting Colombo and flights flying into Srilanka every day are not banned.

Her firm response got her compliments and criticism. Remember Asin and Salman Khan were given ‘Z’ grade security, something which is reserved only for likes of President and the Prime Minister. Over the time, Asin gathered more courage and stayed back in Srilanka even after the ‘Ready’ team returned to Indian after the shoot.

On Sunday, Asin took a military helicopter and visited Jaffna and Vavuniya with President Mahinda Rajapaksha’s wife Shiranthi and a Lankan MP Sudarshini. That meant Asin was able to visit places, which were devastated by war, and banned for most of the world media and NGOs.

Asin this act is being viewed with suspicion. The question now in the minds of people is that how come Asin was taken in a military helicopter with the wife of the Srilankan President that too after Salman Khan and the unit of Ready returned to India?

Is Asin trying to make a political statement? Why did Asin dare to be identified with the government of Srilanka by travelling like a state guest?

Asin’s most recent statement that said, “I came to Sri Lanka for work and now I want to help the Tamil population within my capacity”, did not change the opinion of the Tamils.

Back home while Radha Ravi is fuming over the remarks and actions of Asin, Sarath Kumar is underplaying the whole issue. Sarath Kumar had said “artistes are entertainers and today we are at a stage where Indian artistes and technicians are receiving worldwide recognition, so banning them should not come under any type of governance due to any reason’. Yesterday there was a talk about a group of popular Tamil film personalities planning to visit to Srilanka to provide the “healing touch” to the Tamils.

This divided house may be a shot in the arm for Asin. But, Asin does not have any new film other than ‘Kaaval Kadhal’ in Tamil and Ready in Hindi. She will not have any work after completing these films.

These are the questions waiting for answers. Even we are as eagerly waiting as Asin would.

How will her career be after these two films? Will Kollywood allow her to sign another film in Tamil? How will the industry react to Asin when she returns to Chennai? What will be the fate of fate of the Vijay-Asin starrer Kaaval Kadhal? Will the activists pull down the film as they did to Hrithik Roshan’s Kites in Chennai? Will the film fraternity stand united forever?
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