Starring opposite Aamir Khan in “Ghajini”, a box-office hit last year, Asin has outshone a number of her contemporaries. Young, vivacious and radiant, Asin is a refreshing break from the usually trained and packaged actors. Asin speaks of her early days as a model, with her first advertisement shot at the age of 14. And at 15 she made her film debut in the Malayalam movie “Narendra Makan Jayakanthan Vaka”.

She explains that coming from a family of academicians she was initially inclined towards the Civil Services. But 50 advertisements and five films later she went ahead with her decision to take up acting as a fulltime profession.

Always a teachers’ pet in school, Asin says that she prides herself for having learnt the nitty-gritty of the film industry. Not having formal training has actually helped her not limit her vision. She fondly remembers her first shot being with an elephant. A whole family standing around and reprimanding the pachyderm still remains one of her loveliest memories.

Her second film “Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi” won her the ‘Filmfare Best Telugu Actress Award’ in 2003. But it was the Tamil film “Ghajini” directed by A.R. Murugadoss that marked the beginning of a whole new phase in her film career.

It also fetched her the Filmfare Best Tamil Actress Award. Asin believes that “Majaa”, “Sivakasi”, “Varalaru” and “Pokkiri” were the other Tamil films that confirmed her position as a rising star in South Indian cinema. In pursuit of perfection and a larger canvas, she moved to Mumbai in 2008.

The year was extremely positive, she says. “Dasavatharam” with Kamal Haasan in Tamil and “Ghajini” with Aamir Khan in Hindi were her most rewarding moments.

She does however admit that Bollywood is a bigger playground and the working style is a bit like Hollywood as far as itinerary, call times, weather forecasts and estimated wrap time are concerned. But apart from that, she has found her different working environments equally competent, professional and affectionate. She blushes at being called the ‘youth icon of today’.

Her forthcoming films are Vipul Shah’s “London Dreams” and Bharat Bala’s trilingual international project titled “19th Step”. “London Dreams” also stars Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan.