The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Phuchka, patience and a new Nagma
- Southern Storm eyes Bangla film debut and finishing school for youth of city

She’s been a talking point in this city for reasons more off-screen than on. But now, she promises to “put the past behind” her and hog the spotlight in this “city which has always been special”, for reasons strictly professional.

On her first visit to Calcutta this weekend, actress Nagma unveiled plans to act in a Bengali film and do what she can to groom young boys and girls here. “I have been getting feelers from directors and producers to do Bengali films for some time. I have acted in nine regional languages and now I am ready to do a Bangla film,” said Nagma, late on Saturday. The cast for the film, to be produced by Pritam Jalan, will be decided this week.

The bit-Bollywood actress who’s now a sensation in the South, will also be opening a “finishing school” in Calcutta for college pass-outs. “The first centre will be opened in Mumbai within a few months and then we will have a branch here for the complete personality development of the youth,” she announced, hours after she jumped out of her car and enjoyed some jhaal muri and phuchka on Russell Street, to get a “real feel of the city”.

After a brief break from Bollywood — broken, of course, by some sizzling dance ‘items’ — Nagma made it clear that she was back, balancing film offers with the “all-important” Art of Living. “I have been with the Art of Living for around four years. Now, I have started taking classes, too. It has taught me to be patient and achieve a state of peace.”

Having learnt the importance of “image and brand” through her “experience in life”, Nagma has recently roped in Delhi-based Planman Consulting, headed by Arindam Chaudhuri, to manage her image.

That she’s riding a crest is apparent — a near-cult status down South; two “good films” in Mumbai (“opposite Ajay Devgan in one and Jimmy Shergill and John Abraham in another”); a foray into production under the home banner of Atman Entertainment (“two serials for Star Plus and Sony and two films”, the first on a smaller scale and the other a blockbuster); a Bengali film; and an attempt to spot and groom young talent…

“I am no longer interested in the rat race and I want to be around in a meaningful way,” smiled Nagma, pledging “frequent trips” to this “city with a rich cultural heritage”.

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