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Saaya's starshine


TARA SHARMA was sailing smoothly in life studying Economics for her degree from London. After the degree she chose a career with Anderson Consultants but barely a year had lapsed that she realised she loved to perform more than anything in the world. She gave up her job and plunged into films for a full time career. Anupam Kher's film "Om Jai Jagdish" came her way, in which she had an almost insignificant role opposite Abhishek Bachchan. Now she is all set to star opposite John Abraham in "Saaya" directed by Anurag Basu releasing soon.

"It was not that I was dying to seek a huge debut in my first or second film. It is just that I always wanted to perform - a fact that I would never admit to myself. My first film was more of a trial for myself to check if I could do what I wanted," she says. And she chose "Saaya", for she has gained enough confidence after doing a number of advertisements and theatre assignments in India and London.

Tara's father is a writer; she performed in many plays in school and college. A year back she played Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" in London. She is the same Liril, Fair and Lovely, Pepsi advertisements girl but she does not want to be labelled as a model. "I did modelling only in my vacation as a part of my hobby, so I never call myself a model."

This product of Bombay International School is an absolute workaholic. In her school days also she would study for hours. "I believe in `keep moving'. I can't sit and wait for great chances to knock at my door. In fact I would like to perform ever day and grow, learning something new each time. I signed `Saaya' for the same reason. It is not a film I would have liked to do at any cost. For me it has no speaking role, it's basically John's film whose wife I play. I die in the film in the early reels. But the film demands a nostalgic performance and I play the title," so she is omnipresent in the film anyway.

And to keep herself literally on her toes, she has signed more "small but meaningful films" like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", Jaideep Sahni's directorial debut slated to be released in September this year and "Zaroorat" produced by Mukesh Bhatt, which is near completion. "I don't think three films and a play in a year is bad measure to determine a performer's success," she assesses herself.

And while performing she looks for "comfort zone" be it while economising on clothes or in being bold. "Showing a little bit of mid-riff or wearing mini skirts in films for me is completely okay as I wear such dresses at home also. But I am still not comfortable with kissing or romantic scenes. I look for comfort zone everywhere, and I will never do what I never wanted to because I come from a well-off and well-groomed background. So for specific reasons, for which some girls compromise, I will not. Mahesh Bhatt always tells me `look, you should not try to be what you are not' and I believe in that."

This 25-year-old actress whose star sign is Capricorn is not just a performer. She is also part of a Mumbai-based NGO called "Magic Buzz" that organises recreational activities for underprivileged children. A multi-faceted girl, likely to cast her saaya far and wide?

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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