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|December 22, 1999||
'There's no ego or arrogance in him'
I was the heroine. Kamal Hassan was the hero. Rajinikant was the villain. Actually, Rajinikant was more comfortable with my mother because he could speak Telugu, and my mom found it comfortable to communicate with him. We would have fun on the sets.
We were in awe of Kamal Hassan. We would observe him and discuss how he did his scenes and how big an actor he was. We would talk of making it as big as him one day. We spoke of how much money Kamal Hassan was making, and how we would also be paid like him one day.
At that time we had just started our careers and money was so important. Of course it is not so anymore. We know that films are something else. But those days we had fun just discussing every aspect of Kamal Hassan's stardom.
It was fun working with Rajinikant because he was very jovial and funny. We both helped each other with our scenes. We would also have a sort of competition going on as to who would do better. Like, if I got praises for a scene, then Rajinikant would try and better me in the next shot. That way we helped each other.
Rajinikant was the only actor who played a variety of roles with me. In my first film he was the villain. In another he acted as my brother. In a third film he was a wicked husband and in another he was my boyfriend. But this never affected our pairing.
His attitude hasn't changed since I met him first. Even after becoming such a big star, he is always friendly and humble with everybody. That is one thing I always admire in him. There is no ego or arrogance in him. It always happens that stars after reaching a certain position have to be aloof or distant with people. That's because they tend to be taken for granted. Maybe that's why people think Rajinikant is aloof and unapproachable. But to us, there has been no difference in his behaviour.
I haven't acted in many films with him. But I have always considered him a friend. We have a good rapport on the sets. We have not been so close that we are confidants or we keep in touch regularly. But whenever we meet we meet with warmth and affection.
His unique style of acting was apparent right from his first film. In fact, he would do some of his tricks for us on the sets. He was entertaining and funny. He deserves his stardom because he has worked very hard for it.
As told to Sharmila Taliculam
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