'Company' to 'Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi': Isha Koppikar comes of age

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New Delhi, Aug 24 (UNI) It was almost a decade ago that this girl with stunning looks and an endearing smile made a splash in Bollywood with the 'Khallas' song in Ramgopal Verma's 'Company'.

While giving a much needed kickstart to Isha Koppikar's ''still fledgling'' career in Bollywood at that time, the song in 'Company' also gave her the 'Khallas Girl' tag, an image that continues to be associated with her to this day.

However, with a series of films, featuring her in a range of diverse portrayals, on the anvil in the coming months, Isha could well be on threshold of outgrowing her 'Khallas girl' image.

However, of all the films in her kitty at present, the one which could well prove to be another milestone in Isha's career is Sooraj Barjatiya's 'Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi'.

Talking to UNI recently, Isha seemed quite excited about her role in 'Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi', a film which trade analysts feel could put her in the league of actresses like Madhuri.

''In 'Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi', I play the girl next door. Apparently, Soorajji had been following all my releases since Chandraprakash Dwivedi's 'Pinjar', where I played the girl next door for the first time, till Ramgopal Verma's 'Darling' where I played a plain housewife.

My role in 'Ek Vivah..' is a very challenging one. In fact, I would term it as one of my most mature performances till date, ''Isha said excitedly.

'Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi' is one among a series of interesting films featuring the actress which are lined up for release in the coming months.

''I have several interesting films lined up for release in the coming months, all of which feature me in a wide variety and range of roles, helping me utilise to the fullest my potential as an actress.

In fact, there are among six of my films set for release shortly which include Atul Agnihotri's 'Hello' based on writer Chetan Bhagat's bestseller 'One Night @ the Call Center' ; Lalit Marathe's 'Shabri', Jahnu Barua's 'Harr Pal', Manoj Tiwari's 'Hello Darling', 'Right Ya Wrong' and Kaushik Ghatak's 'Ek Vivah Aisa bhi'. Each of these films features me in characters different from the other, all of which help me showcase my abilities as an actress,''Isha said.

Asked whether, almost a decade after Ramgopal Verma's 'Company' being still referred to as 'Khallas' girl peeved her, Isha, displaying her characteristic nonchalance, said,''for me it does not make any difference whether people call me a 'Khallas' girl or by any other name.

A lot of actresses in this industry are known and associated with a particular character or image. For example, Hema Malini was known as the 'Dream Girl' after she did the film by the same name. For me, too is a matter of pride that like great actresses like Hema Malini, I too am being associated with the 'Khallas girl' image.'' Isha said her career had taken a turn for the better over the last few years after films like 'Kya Kool Hai Hum', 'Don' and 'Salaam-e-Ishq'.

''Films like 'Kya Kool Hai Hum', 'Don' and 'Salaam-E-Ishq' have been significant milestones in my career. For example, 'Kyan Kool Hai Hum', for the first time, brought to the fore the comic streak in me. On the other hand, Farhan Akhtar's 'The Don Returns', where I played Shah Rukh Khan's girlfriend Anita, the character borne out of Farhan's interesting interpretation of the earlier 'Don', and Nikhil Advani's 'Salaam-E-Ishq' opened the doors of big banner films for me,'' she said.

Indeed, the last few years have witnessed Isha, who made her debut over a decade ago with the Tamil film 'Kaadal Kavitha', come of age with a diverse range of meaty films in her kitty.

Asked about her criterion of choosing a film, the actress said, ''for me, first and foremost, script should be exciting. The next criterion is the banner that should be recognised one and then my role in the film and its director.'' UNI AR NY BD1125

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