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Nagma, the survivor

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Joined: 21 June 2005
Posts: 5190

Posted: 10 March 2006 at 10:24am | IP Logged

She has acted in nine languages. One upon a time, she was the reigning queen of Tamil and Telugu cinema. Then she disappeared from the movie radar, joined Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living foundation in Bangalore, became a staunch devotee, and even taught courses there.

Yes, it's Nagma we are talking about.

If you are wondering what the actress has been up to lately, you will have to go the sets of a Bhojpuri movie, Raja Thakur, being shot at Essel studio in Trombay, Mumbai.

Bollywood star-turned member of Parliament Shatrughan Sinha is playing the title role. The hero of the movie is Bhojpuri superstar Manoj Tiwari. Nagma is the heroine.

This is not her first Bhojpuri film. She has done nine of them, including the superhit Panditwa Mera Shaadi Kab Hoi, directed by Tinu Verma.

Verma is the director of Raja Thakur as well. Out of the nine Bhojpuri films Nagma has acted in so far, Verma has helmed five. He is a man full of energy. When it gets too hot, he takes off his shirt and continues directing in his undershirt.

The scene being shot is full of fights, with fires burning all over the set. "Look how many people I'm killing for you," Verma quips to Nagma.

"I like to do new things rather than remain in the same comfort zone. For growth, and to avoid stagnation, you would want a change.

There is competition everywhere. You should be a leader -- lead a different path altogether and be a trendsetter. I have been a success in whatever I have done. I joined politics. I was offered a seat in Parliament.

I preferred being a party worker as I was not through with movies. If I wanted to become a member of Parliament I would need to give 100 per cent to my constituency -- which I could not at that point of time. So I did not contest elections.

Today I am acting in Bhojpuri films, I don't know what I will be doing tomorrow. The last Tamil movie I acted in was Pista.

I took a break as I was too exhausted after 12 years of continuous work. I joined Art of Living and took classes there.

But I kept my contacts in the film industry alive. I did guest appearances in Hindi movies, music videos -- when everyone was doing them -- and small but significant roles.

I did a couple of Kannada movies with T Vasu. I did a Malayalam movie called Chathurangam with Mohanlal. I started a clothing line called Nagma's. Then I got into politics.

"I feel youngsters should lead changes in society. My movie Baaghi, with Salman Khan, had a message against child prostitution and exploitation.

People have given me so much love and respect. I have to pay them back in some way. You have to have a platform and the power to do something. I wanted a secular platform.

My mom is Muslim and my dad is Hindu. We were brought up to respect all religions. Communal riots pained me. I wanted to do something. So I joined politics.

I have just completed a Punjabi film. There are some Hindi movies in the pipeline too.

I did Bhojpuri like any other language movie. I did Ganga, with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. I have signed Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu's Bhojpuri film too.

I am a commerce graduate. I was interested in business. My father made movies. My mother always said that the greatest gift a parent can give a child is education. She insisted that girls should be financially independent even before marriage.

"I got film offers, took them up, and it became my career. I don't dream. I never dreamt that Tamil Nadu would welcome me with open arms. I never thought that South India would give me so much popularity. I have done a Bengali movie too. I will do a couple of other languages too. I am just going with the flow.

With Bhojpuri I am winning over a new population, which is bigger than the South. It will help in my political career in the future.

I am an instrument of my guru Sri Sri Ravishankarji.

For my second Bhojpuri film Dulhan Milal Dilwali, I got an award. After 1961, this is the first time a Bhojpuri film is getting an award.

I shoot a lot. Sometimes 20 to 22 hours. Last three months have been very busy. Last year I released two movies. That's not good for a heroine. A heroine should have one movie releasing every two months.

I don't know when it is a Sunday. I just work. I don't even know which day of the week today is.

Nothing is more fulfilling than working in films or taking an Art of Living class. The students saw me first as a star. But later, they respected me as a teacher too.


"Among the numerous superstars I have worked both in the North and the South, there has to be something exceptional to differentiate a star from a superstar. Each one is unique in his own way.

By far my favourite is Rajnikanth. He is a very different, down to earth. When he walks into a set or walks out, nobody knows. He is so silent! I feel a star is a star when he doesn't do anything to attract attention to himself.

I have never met anyone who is a richer person at heart than he is. The more you speak about him the less it is.

I am very fond of Aamir (Khan). Vinod Khanna was my idol at one time. He was my He-Man. I used to really admire him and got a chance to work with him.

I liked Rajkumar and got a chance to work with him also. I have worked with Amitji (Bachchan).

There is nobody bigger than Dilip Kumar in filmdom, and now I am doing a film for him.

I have no regrets. There is nothing left for me to do. I am just enjoying myself."

 

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