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Bollywood calling for models

"Since Bollywood has changed completely with more characteristic roles coming in, small or big hardly matters. We are here to perform; so if a small role has the potential of leaving an impact on moviegoers, then why not?" model Alesia Raut said.

Alesia Raut
Alesia Raut

True to her words, she accepted whatever came her way - featuring in music videos Meri beri ke ber and Ek aankh maaru and even did a cameo in Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Fashion'.

"We can't do modelling for ever as it has a short life. So exploring new avenues is always a good option. Looking at the similarity between Bollywood and fashion, the silver screen is undoubtedly the next option for models. Also, considering Bollywood stars dominate the ramps, we decided to switch and try acting," said Alesia, who will be seen in an item number in 'Karu Toh Kya Kaaru'.

Models-turned-actresses - Aishwarya Rai, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu - are currently calling the shots in B-town, overturning the myth that models can't act. Sayali Bhagat, Geeta Basra, Mugdha Godse and Jia Khan are also on the list but are yet to make it big.

Piyali Singhal, a model from Bangalore, explaining the leaning towards films, said, "Bollywood and fashion go hand in hand and if a filmmaker is looking for a new face, the first choice is someone from the modelling background."

She says that filmmakers' search for a new face guides them to the beauty pageants. "Many filmmakers associate with some leading beauty pageants in order to find talent," revealed Piyali.

However, while models sashay down the ramp with ease, emoting in front of the camera is a different ball game and bagging a central role in movies is hard to accomplish.

"It's a bit difficult to expect a leading role in films, but, yes, getting into Bollywood definitely gives models like us an opportunity to explore new territories," Piyali further added.

Getting the right opening is more important than scripts, says Delhi-based model and 'Roadies 5' participant Sonal Singh.

"For me it's not about good scripts and good star cast; it's actually about getting an opportunity. If I am getting any kind of mediocre or good film, I am going to do that," Sonal, who will be seen in Sanjay Mishra's directorial debut 'Pranaam Walekum', quipped.

"I am not particular about the story right now as I am not at that level where I can choose things. At this point, I only need to struggle and do my best; and I think every actor does that in his or her initial days," she added.

Not only desi divas, international models are equally popular in movie business. Bruna Abdullah, Diana Penty and Nargis Fakhri have transcended borders to make a mark for themselves.

There is also Indian origin Durban-based Himarsha Venkatsamy, who appeared in the title track of Punit Malhotra's 'I Hate Luv Storys', while Bruna played Giselle in the same movie. Diana will be seen in upcoming romantic comedy 'Cocktail' alongside Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone.

Another model, who crossed the threshold of modelling in search of greener pastures is Vineeta Menon. She started with an item number in Priyadarshan's 'Mere Baap Pehle Aap'. A former Gladrags model, Vineeta said, "Now it's absolutely Bollywood for me".

Shipra Malik says models have been entering Bollywood and making it big. "Now there are more opportunities for the girls thanks to new directors, producers and new story lines. Also small budget movies are giving an opportunity to experiment. Models look good so there is nothing wrong in taking them for different roles," she added.

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