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'I used to feel there can't be smoke without fire. Having gone through it first hand, I know it's possible'

Following close on the heels of Vidya Balan, Asin embodies the recent resurgence in the trend of south Indian actresses finding success in Bollywood. The south influence in Hindi cinema is a hallowed tradition -- Vyjayanthimala in the '50s and '60s, Hema Malini and Rekha in the '70s and '80s, Jaya Prada and Sridevi in the '80s and many others subsequently.

What sets Asin apart is the scale of her ambition. Determined not to lose her enormous fan base in the south, she wants the best of both worlds.

"I don't think any other actress in recent times has had a presence in both the north and the south. An actress who is popular down south does not have much influence in Bollywood. And a Bollywood actress is just not considered 'one of us'. I could be both." She cites the success of Hindi Ghajini in the south as a perfect example. "Let's be frank. In the south, people are not as enthusiastic about Hindi movies as their own. For the first time, a Hindi film outshone the performance of regional language films."

Having shifted base to Mumbai a year ago, the actor admits that south films and Bollywood are poles apart. The recent link up with London Dreams co-star Salman Khan is her first taste of the filmi grapevine. "I used to feel there can't be smoke without fire. Having gone through it first hand, I know it's possible. I have been accused of many crimes. A TV channel even put up a show called Sins of Asin!"

Rumours aside, she's clearly fond of the bratty Khan. "Salman is a very relaxed and chilled out guy with no pretentions. What you see is what you get. That's great in an industry which survives on creating images and personas."

Listen to: Bekha
Also Read: Looking for another Ghajini

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