Asin is a gypsy at heart and her busy lifestyle hasn't stopped her from taking off to the blue hills yonder whenever her heart desires. A slight break in her schedule and she scoots to explore a new destination. And sometimes she creates a break just to fly off. She was in Canada recently and she made sure she explored scenic spots close to Vancouver where she was staying for a couple of days. “I'm someone who loves to explore every aspect of a place, whether it's their art and culture, wildlife, environmental trivia, history, resorts, food. I try to explore as much as I can.”
Asin gives a bear hug and on the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The first place she visited was the awe inspiring Capilano Suspension Bridge, which has been luring travellers since 1889. It offers an eclectic mix of Vancouver's history as well as natural beauty. Reminisces Asin, “My friend who accompanied me is scared of heights. So walking the Capilano bridge was quite an impossible task for her. But she took it up as a challenge. I made her task tougher by shaking the bridge every now and then and giving her the jitters. It was hilarious to watch her take baby steps in a state of fear. But it was worth it. After she crossed it successfully, I handed her a certificate with her name written on it for the endeavour. These certificates are available there. It was quite like an award ceremony and she did a little jig on winning one. Fun it was!"
Asin overlooking the rainforest.
“There are various trails that you can choose to explore the beauty of this place. The Suspension Bridge, The Cliff Walk and The Tree Top Adventure,” shares Asin. The Cliff Walk is a granite rock face along Capilano River with a series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms. With only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure, the new Cliffwalk is both environmentally sensitive and adrenaline pumping. The Tree Top Adventure offers a squirrel's eye view of a flourishing rainforest. It has an innovative compression system without any bolts or nails in the trees to secure its viewing platforms and seven suspension bridges. Exclaims Asin, “The experience of walking through the age-old bridge and through those lush green woods is mind blowing. The waterfalls and water bodies only add to its charm. The Douglas Fir trees found in the place are said to be over 1300 years old. Also, these huge Totem poles were a delight. It was amusing and touching to watch this local friend who was also our guide hugging an old tree. He said he hugs that tree each time he visits the place. After spending a wonderful day at Capilano, I took a public transport bus back to Vancouver just for the experience.”
Asin all smiles in the woods.
On another day Asin took a car ride from Vancouver to the ski destination Whistler. “A three hour drive full of scenic landscapes takes you to Whistler. I knew Whistler is going to be cold so I had worn clothes accordingly. But on reaching the place, I discovered it was colder than I had expected it to be. So I bought a woollen cap and gloves there to stay clear of the freezing climate.” Asin loves adventure and wasn't scared to take the cable car right to the top. “I took the cable car ride up to the mountains. It's an amazing experience, a must do if you visit the place. Thankfully, I'm not scared of heights so I enjoy these things to the hilt.” Once she reached there she explored the place, scouted for some nice restaurants to her delight chanced upon a music concert, which was the perfect antidote to the spicy food.
Asin observing a seal at the Stanley Park Aquarium and the jellyfish
Her next visit was to the Stanley Park And Aquarium in Vancouver. It is Canada's largest aquarium which houses more than 70,000 animals including dolphins, sea otters, anacondas, three-toed sloths, eels, seals, jellyfish and more. The aquarium works towards conserving aquatic life. Translink Bus and Skytrain public transit operates year-round. It is one of the most visited sites in Stanley Park Visitors can learn more about the region's marine life through the numerous exhibits. Its educational encounter programs allows visitors to go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with the animals. This includes feeding, helping train and learning about the habitats and lifestyles of dolphins, Beluga whales, sea lions, sea otters, sea turtles and other sea creatures. Shares Asin, “The Dolphin show at the Stanley Park is priceless. I wanted to bring one of those dolphins back home. I loved the whales, penguins, seals, jellyfish, moon jellies and even poisonous frogs from the Amazon, which look like tiny multi-coloured baubles. They've created various tanks and environments for the different species.” They also show a film called The Salmon Rush which talks takes you through the life cycle of Salmons. She also picked up souvenirs for the kids back home. Especially stuffed toys for her little five-year-old niece. “I bought stuffed Dolphins, penguins and other sea creatures. It's a great way to introduce kids to marine life.”
Asin enjoying the cable car ride at Whistlers
She couldn't get enough of Canada and plans to go back soon. “The atmosphere in Canada is amazing! Hats off to the people there. Their civic sense is so good and they are so aware and conscious about preserving and saving their environment. The country is almost pollution free and it shows. Our youth must take note and adopt a similar stand to save the environment here.”
Asin, who hails from the South, has now set base in Mumbai but Delhi resides in the actor's heart. Though, so far the 27-year-old has primarily visited the Capital for events, promotions and other professional commitments, the actor says she is keen to travel and explore the city further.
Says Asin, “Even though I love Delhi, I come here only for work commitments. Having said that, I would love to come here more often and explore the city. I love the space and greenery here. It gives a huge sense of liberation when you land here from Mumbai. Also, the food here is great. I have a lot of friends here who keep telling me about Delhi. I would surely like to explore it more.”
Asin, who likes to call herself a R100 crore heroine, has not signed on any film in some time, and her spokesperson says that she is currently busy reading some scripts and will sign a film shortly.
You have quite an enviable track record, just 4 films old in Bollywood out of which 3 have already managed to enter the coveted Rs 100 crore nett club. How does it feel?
To tell you the truth, it feels a little astonishing. I'd love to say I am delighted and happy, which I am, but that is not the only feeling. I moved to Mumbai three years ago, completely alien to 'Bollywood'. I hoped to do well, but never really thought I'd be breaking records like this. When I reflect more on this, I think it is mostly due to luck, and to a certain extent, it is perhaps the kind of projects I have chosen. I want to do films that reach the masses, as that is when the medium reaches its full potential. I also have a soft corner for emotional love stories or comedies, and those films tend to do well. Also we are in a rapid growth phase of Bollywood where collections are reaching new records every year. And of course, I have been fortunate to work with filmmakers who know the business well.
Your last film Housefull 2 did very well at the B.O. how do you look back at the whole Housefull 2 experience?
Well, Housefull 2 was always expected to do well, but I think it even surpassed those already high expectations. What is interesting is even the reviewers were kind to us, with several three to four star reviews, rare for this genre of films. I am very satisfied that the film worked, and brought some glory to everyone in the team.
The film had a huge star cast with 4 actresses. Considering that you've mostly done solo films till date, were you apprehensive about signing the film? Not only four actresses, the film had a dozen accomplished actors! Yes, it wasn't the conventional casting format, where there is a lead actor and actress. We had to be part of the 'dirty dozen'. However, the film and project needed to have that to make it work. I think as an actor you need to balance your own visibility with the success of the project, the latter being far more important of course. It is like a cricket player in that sense, where if the team is good and it is going to win, you should want to be a part of it. Once in a winning team, if you contribute, your work will be noticed. I think that is what happened in Housefull 2.
Akshay's trademark way of saying 'Ayeeh' became quite popular...you too did a decent job in saying 'Ayeeh'...was that an on the spot improvisation? Ok, so I don't want to sound competitive about this, but I can do a pretty mean 'Ayeeh' of my own compared to Akshay. He is of course the 'Ayeeh' king, but I have my own set of Asin's 'Ayeeh' fans! (laughs) It was part of the script, but how you say the 'Ayeeh' of course had to be improvised. I'd love to say we did workshops for months to practice our 'Ayeehs' but actually I just kind of picked it up from Sajid Khan on the sets.
Fans seem to have one complaint against you...the fact that you've just done 4 films in 4 years...what do you have to say about that? Trust me, it is a far better complaint than them saying you are doing too many films! I could do more for sure, but it depends on what comes my way. Frankly, money is not and has never been a big motivator for me. The project has to excite me. I have done twenty-five films (counting the regional ones), so I have to feel something for the project to go on the sets everyday. And that can only happen if I pace my work. However, I take that feedback and will try to increase the pace a little bit. Definitely more than 4 films in the next 4 years.
You've worked with Aamir, Ajay, Salman, Akshay and Abhishek...if you had to pick up one quality that you admire most about each one of them what would it be?
Seriously you are talking about some of the most accomplished actors in Bollywood. Each deserves a separate interview. Not just a passing mention in one question! But if you insist here's a try: Aamir- Meticulous; Salman- Cool; Ajay- Intense; Akshay- Sporty; Abhishek- Fun.
Your next release is Rohit Shetty's Bol Bachchan, tell us something more about it?
Bol Bachchan is a comedy and a human relationships film. It releases in July, and we have pretty much wrapped the entire shoot. Coming from Rohit Shetty, expectations are high, and we are confident we shall deliver on them. I work with Ajay and Abhishek in the film.
What's your character like and whom are you paired opposite?
I can't really reveal much on this one right now but it is a different look. Those who have seen it have liked it a lot.
How much of the shooting has been complete? Where all have you guys shot?
We have wrapped up the shoot for the film. We shot in Jaipur, Wai and Mumbai.
How was it working with Rohit Shetty?
Rohit is very disciplined and likes to keep his team on their toes. He has a good understanding of making contemporary comedies and does great action as well. He puts up this tough exterior but is actually a softie.
The film is said to be a modern day version of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Golmaal, what do you have to say about that? Are you a fan of the original version?
It is inspired by Golmaal and from what I understand they have officially sourced the rights as well. Golmaal was a cult classic in its time and who isn't a fan of that film? However, Bol Bachchan is a big scale movie high on entertainment quotient, which will be loved by the contemporary generation.
Your last Tamil film Kaavalan was a huge hit, would you be doing more films in Tamil or are you focusing completely on Bollywood?
I would, but it depends on the project. The Tamil film industry is an important part of the Indian film industry and I have had wonderful projects and maintain great relationships there. Let's see what comes my way. I would want to do something different there now. Doing the same old thing would neither excite me nor the audiences. So I am waiting for that kind of script/project.
Lastly, what are some of your forthcoming projects?
It is Bol Bachchanfor now which requires my full focus. I want to take some time off to figure out where I want to grow as an actor and as an individual. The 3 in 100-crore-club is wonderful, but I want to keep challenging myself to the next level.
That Bollywood's original khiladi Akshay Kumar is a chivalrous gentleman is well-known. In fact, his Housefull 2 co-star Asin Thottumkal lately had an experience that clearly illustrated his protectiveness towards the women around him. The actress is thankful for the way Akshay became her bodyguard during the recent Indo-Pak cricket match in Bangladesh.
The actress says, "We had a great time watching the match live. In the box, Akki called me the most desh bhakt fan of all as I was cheering the loudest. We didn't have to time meet any Indian or Pakistani players post the match, but we had our own fun with our gang, including Sajid Nadiadwala and Jacqueline Fernandez"
"When Akshay and I went to the ground, the crowd went crazy. They rushed towards us and we were surrounded by screaming fans. Akshay literally became my bodyguard. He totally covered me or I'd have been squashed! We had security but still it was crazy. People were falling onto me in the rush and Akshay kept pushing them away. He held my hand and ensured that I was safe from the mob."