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Taj is no picnic...


SHE COMES across as a brash, spoilt girl in "Mohabbatein", a filthy rich, rebellious lady in love in "Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar" and the daughter of a music baron, an emotional girl at her best in "Tumse Accha Kaun Hai". You got it right. It is Kim Sharma. She comes off reasonably well as an actress in all these films but there is one thing they all have in common: she economises furiously on clothes in each one. One wonders why she needed to be a dare-to-bare babe when she could corner praises with her acting skills and dialogue delivery?

Never mind, for now this girl of 23 summers has realised her folly. And hence, she virtually lapped up the role of Ladli Begum in Akbar Khan's magnum opus "Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story", in which she is not only covered from top to toe in Moghul attire coupled with heavy royal jewellery, but also doing a meaty role. Guided by her mother, Ladli Begum tries to woo the royal prince Khurram - played by Zulfi Syed - to become the consort of the heir apparent.

"I grabbed the role as soon as Akbar narrated it to me. I knew I would never get a chance to work in such a film. Moreover, I am sure, after doing this traditional, historical role, I would move towards a better future in Bollywood," says Kim, very excited about her choice. She is voicing her opinion while sitting pretty on the sets of "Taj Mahal" at Nagaur Fort, near Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Frank and honest as she is, Kim does not mince words about her choice of roles in earlier films. "Frankly, I have a bad image from my very first film. It was completely my mistake to do roles that demanded shedding of clothes and were not meaty enough. I come in them as one who does not have much to do in films, but in future I will take care. People should realise that I can do more than just that."

She can indeed, but she never thought of films when she was planning her career. "I started modelling from the age of 15. I was a student of class X in Joseph Convent School in Panchgani then. Films were never my destination. It was only when my modelling career became stagnant and monotonous that I accepted the role in `Mohabbatein', just to do something different," she recalls.

For now, films promise to be anything but stagnant. At present she is working on a film by Sanjay Mehdudia - as yet untitled - with Saif Ali Khan and Diya Mirza. Also in the pipeline is "Nehle Pe Dehla", in which Saif and Bipasha Basu are the other leads. What is her role in this film?

"I don't have much to do in this film. I just add to its comic value. The lion's share of the film is taken by Saif and Bipasha but it is okay... " Kim comes honest again.

And what with Akbar's "Taj Mahal", the rest, as they say, shall be history!

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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