Monday, April 20, 2009

Bollywood heroines starting second innings in Tollywood

Tollywood seems to be the chosen detour for many Bollywood beauties scouting for a second innings in the Hindi film industry. It all started with Genelia D’Souza and Shriya Saran (former Bollywood stars) who did a few Tollywood films, became mega stars here and then got wooed back to Bollywood. Probably that has been instrumental in the ever growing list of B-Town bombshells who are now playing starring roles in Telugu films. Shweta Prasad, Shweta Bharadwaj, Gauri Pandit, Hansika, Sonal Chauhan, Sneha Ullal are among the A-listers in Tollywood, with meaty roles, prestigious assignments, fat paycheques and huge fan following after a successful debut in Hindi films (followed by nothing of importance thereafter).

For model-turned-actor Shweta Bharadwaj who did the Bollywood flick Mission Istanbul last year and has already become a household name in Andhra after Indumathi says, “Telugu filmmakers wrap up work in just 30 to 35 days. In Bollywood, a top actress can just do one to two films in a year.” Of course lucrative pay packets are a “huge incentive”, but she’s content juggling both Bollywood and Tollywood for now. Mumbai model Gauri Pandit however, wants to explore Tollywood in a big way. “I am essaying challenging roles in both Houseful and Akasaramanna,” says the actress, who put her Bollywood dreams on hold for the time being. Mumbai girl Madalsa Sharma of Fitting Master fame is upfront about her long term goals. “I
am doing Telugu films to gain some work experience. After doing some films here, I’d like to move on to Bollywood,” she adds.

There are some former B-Towners like
Bhumika Chawla and Reema Sen who continue to be enamoured by their southern dreams and have made Hyderabad their home. Gen Y actress Hansika Motwani also claims that she has “no plans” at all to return to Mumbai or Bollywood. After a successful debut opposite Himesh Reshammiya in Aap Ka Suroor, Hansika chose to move to Tollywood and has found her share of fame here. “Tollywood is close to my heart,” says the chirpy teenager, who has delivered hits like Desamuduru and Maska in recent times. “Besides having numerous fans in Andhra Pradesh, I enjoy a good comfort level with the Telugu film fraternity,” she adds. She claims that she’s all set to sign up two Bollywood films, but is busy shooting a Telugu film with Kalyan Ram. “My mainstay would always be Telugu films and occasionally I could do Hindi films for bigger reach,” she signs off. Sneha Ullal (often known as the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan lookalike) who got serenaded by Salman Khan in the blockbuster Lucky—No Time for Love in 2004, has had a super successful Tollywood debut with Ullasamga Utsagamga and has plenty to look forward to professionally here. “My focus is definitely on Tollywood since I like to work with professionals. Now, even Bollywood producers are paying on par with Tollywood but we can brush up our acting skills down south,” says the actress, who has Hindi films like Dard-e-Disco and Click in her kitty but is pinning big hopes on the Telugu film Current. Sonal Chauhan’s Tollywood plans seem somewhat uncertain after her film Rainbow crashed, but she says she’s “doing MF Hussain’s new Bollywood film.”

Producer Aditya Ram who roped in Bollywood siren Kangna Ranaut for his new film has a different take. “The fascination for Bollywood actresses will remain intact among movie buffs here, but the audience
appreciates talent too,” he says. Well, as long as talent, screen appeal comes together as a package and casts its spell on the BO, Bollywood starlets will keep finding a Tolly route to bigger fame, glory, moolah and a return to Mumbai as well!

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