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Still thirsty for more

Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

Yukta Mookhey... yearning to become a classical performer.

SHE IS one woman from the world of showbiz who thinks, it's not beauty but her intelligence that has made her what she is today. This five feet, 11 inches tall won the Miss World title in 1999 and continues to climb the ladder of success. Any guesses? Well, you are right, she is our very own Yukta Mookhey. Coming from a simple, middle class family living in Mumbai suburb, Yukta has come a long way indeed.

She had a false start in Bollywood with Pyaasa opposite Aftab Shivdasani. Now she is doing Mem Saheb. She discloses, "The movie is based on the 1984 riots that happened after Indira Gandhi's assassination. It is a woman-oriented subject that highlights that there is no law to protect people from suchmassacres. For instance, there is no law for the attacking mob. None of them is recognised. Something should be done in this respect since they move in the society freely."

Talking about her character in the movie, she says, "The story revolves around a girl called Anjali, a prostitute who undergoes transformation." Slated for a post-Diwali release, Yukta has great expectations from the film.

No exposure

Unlike other beauty queens, Yukta has hardly been seen on big screen after a dismal debut. Where has she been for so long? "For me, Bollywood does not mean showing flesh. It doesn't even mean running around trees with the hero. Movies like Julie, Murder, Hawas, etc. are not my cup of tea. I did not find any good script although offers keep pouring in because I believe one should do a subject that motivates. I would really love to do women-centric roles. I am also interested in doing period films."

Given a chance, this Zoology graduate would love to do NRI movies as well. "A true artiste is one who is able to reach out to the people and is not restricted to one language. I found the characters in Bend It Like Beckham, Amritsar to L.A. of great significance."

In disagreement with the opinion that a movie like Murder could be an entertainment for the society, she feels, "The kind of cinema that is being projected now-a-days makes no sense. Characters should not portray woman as a weak sexual object." However, she is all for roles like Nutan in Sujata and Bandhini or Sridevi in Chalbaaz.

An admirer of Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Manisha Koirala, Yukta wants to make a lasting mark in the showbiz. Learning classical music since age 10, she hopes to come out with her music album by the year-end. She says, "The album will have all the flavours from semi-classical, pure thumris to bhajans, etc. It has yet to be finalised." She doesn't want to be a playback singer though.

"I would rather love to be a classical performer. Anybody can become a singer or idol these days even with a little knowledge of singing." Commenting on the Sony TV find, the first Indian idol, Abhijeet Sawant, she suggests, "Abhijeet should try to focus on his classical singing."

BHAWNA SATSANGI

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