Shedding the past
S. SHIVA KUMAR
Shirin has moved on from being a gawky, uninhibited teenager to someone more mature and graceful. She's made a good comeback in the Darshan-starrer Bhupathi
REINVENTION Shirin: `It was hard coming back, but nonetheless I'm here.'
Thulluvadho Ilamai is the kind of film that pops up every now and then. In the garb of infatuation there's more lust. It was made by a desperate, down in the dumps director purely for the demented. The dangerous thing is that the film succeeded paving the way for a slew of such films. The bright spot was the heroine Shirin who was perfect as the uncertain adolescent. Her large expressive eyes were just the icing on the cake. A couple of films and she seemed to disappear into thin air only to pop up occasionally in TV commercials. Now she's re-surfaced in Bhupathi purely a fix for Darshan junkies. Shirin, thankfully doesn't look jaded though the spontaneity seems to be missing. "I'm looking forward to my second innings," says the actress with the eagerness of a debutante.
Shirin is a Bangalore girl and lived in Indiranagar. She was studying her first PU in Baldwins College, but had to discontinue because she couldn't attend college regularly. Her first film happened when she was in the tenth standard. She is currently doing her second year BA through correspondence.
How did the first film happen?
I was a very independent kid and was modelling for my pocket money. I was spotted while walking the ramp. The director of my first film also managed to watch a school play. I was a gawky, awkward girl and that's what he wanted. That's how Thulluvatho Ilamai happened. I was uncomfortable with myself and it showed on-screen and the audiences loved it.
You were gawky in your first film but very soon you were known to be uninhibited on screen.
(Laughs) It was not a transformation. I was just thinking the other day. I was getting a portfolio done and the costume was revealing. I refused to wear them. I would not have been conscious had I been younger. It's the maturity level. In my first film it really didn't matter what I wore. However uninhibited you are certain things don't come across as right. Now I feel inhibited. I call it the loss of innocence.
Do you start believing that if they are going to make interpolations you might do such scenes yourself.
People eventually know it's not you but they believe what they want to believe. The film was never shot according to what was explained to me. No one in my family is from the film industry so we didn't know that things are not what they seem to be. At least in the film industry. Thulluvodho Ilamai was my biggest mistake but it launched my career.
You suddenly disappeared.
I was 15 when I made my debut and then went on to do a series of bad films. Some were average and the rest were not seen. I was a star overnight. I was mobbed after my first film, which was unimaginable. It was difficult in the beginning but I realised that's exactly what I wanted. People saw my debut film for all the wrong reasons and expected me that way in all my films. When I did the Kannada film, Dhruva I didn't like what I saw. I was skinny and my teeth were jutting out. I took time off, corrected my teeth and generally improved on my presence. When I watch Bhupathi I feel the break was worth it.
It's easier to enter the industry than to re-enter the film industry. People remembered you because you did some commercials.
You are right, it's very difficult. I think the one good thing I did was do those ads. I've signed a couple of projects with GV films. I believe I wouldn't have got these films if I had not taken the break. I would have done weird films. I would have had worse flops. It was hard coming back but nonetheless I'm here.
How did you go about it? An established actress has an ego to deal with.
I have to thank God for this. When I decided I was ready I got offers for commercials so people realised I was still alive. They could see the transformation in the commercials itself.
The director of the GV films project Ravichandran said he had been looking for me for six months. KCN sir came to me himself. It's fate. It's just meant to be now.
Do you meet directors who now say `why are you suddenly inhibited'?
I do, I do. I meet a lot of such people. I just want these people to know that I've grown up. We are not stuck in some time warp. Inhibitions come with age. You are not born with it.
What was the weirdest rumour you heard when you disappeared?
The weirdest rumour was that I eloped with someone and had two kids. Then I heard I was divorced. All this happened in a couple of months. I had a good laugh. Some even said I was so thin in Dhruva and seemed to have put on weight. Come on guys, I've grown up.
What is the re-invented Shirin looking forward to?
She's looking for mature roles. I want to be treated well. I believe when I started I was a little rude and arrogant. I've developed patience.
I've learnt to listen more than say. I have sobered and have grown up. I'm doing great films and working with great people. I'm happy. God has been kind to me.
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