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|October 30, 1998||
The name Laila may bring up visions of a demure, petite and pretty damsel. The latter two terms fit the bill; the first doesn't -- for Laila is confident and self-assured in a way that doesn't suggest coyness.
She was spotted and introduced into cinema by veteran comedian Mehmood inDushman Duniya Ka, which was a damp squib at the box office.
Widely travelled -- which explains her easy poise -- she was quick to realise that Bollywood was harsh on failure, especially by an outsider, and sought opportunity elsewhere. And she found it when she was offered the heroine's role inEgire Pavurama by Telugu director S V Krishna Reddy.
It was a performance-oriented role and helped her leave a lasting impression, but thereafter her career bounced along like a jalopy over rocks. Among her more memorable roles was a glamorous role opposite Venkatesh inPavitra Bandham which showed her as a modern, chirpy yuppie. And ahead lie at least one big role with Naveen Vaddo.
How did you shift to southern cinema?
Actually, I was a little bit disappointed with Dushman Duniya Ka as I had to sacrifice study time for a film which proved to be a damp squib.
For some inexplicable reason Mehmood saab added a few violent scenes that ultimately made it a grotesque, violent film. Viewers, who expected a fresh love story laced with comedy from the great comedian, were disappointed. After the completion of this film, that took three years to make, I was approached by the manager of S V Krishna Reddy and was selected soon after.
My first Telugu film, Egire Pavurama, was a big hit. I later did two films with Naveen which were hits. Thus started any career in the south.
Who are your favourite co-stars?
Well, there is S V Krishna Reddy, who was my hero in Ugadi. I like Krishna Reddy the most among all the actors. He's a very fine actor, a competent director and a gem of a human being. He always makes sure that every actor on his sets is relaxed so that he can bring out the best in them.
I can say without hesitation that Reddy has a special place in my life but my relationship with him is purely platonic. He is a friend, guide and advisor, and I'm very confident he will lend me his shoulder in my troubles. But our relationship does not have a romantic dimension. If at all, I happen to fall in love, I will announce my affair from the rooftops.
What is your opinion about the excessive sex and violence in films?
It's a misconception that people like violent films because had the notion been true, family dramas like Maine Pyar Kiya Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge , would not have created box office history.
Except for Sholay, no violent film has been successful so far. Even in Hollywood, a simple, lovable story, Home Alone, smashed all previous box-office records.
I like and respect Mr S V Krishna Reddy because he makes beautiful, clean, wholesome entertainment -- family dramas that can be watched without embarrassment.
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