The Bollywood A-lister Aamir Khan, star of the festive release Ghajini, may have aborted his plans to promote the movie in the Middle East after the recent Mumbai terror attacks, but a conversation with leading lady Asin more than makes up for his absence.

Touted as the current flavour of Bollywood, Asin could easily be mistaken for one of Khan's frenzied fans.

"Aamir is a true legend and it's like a dream come true for me to make my [Bollywood] debut with such a big star. But the funny part is that he has no starry airs about him. After meeting Aamir, I realised how simple and down-to-earth he is," she gushes over the phone.

Considered to be one of the most popular actresses in South India, Asin shouldn't be mistaken for a starstruck debutante. With as many as 17 South Indian films under her belt, the majority of which have been blockbusters and have won her a couple of awards in the Best Actress category, Asin feels that Khan — who is often criticised for his overbearing nature and his tendency to tread on directors' territory — is a misconstrued soul.

"All those reports about him being interfering are completely untrue. He gives people their space — creative or otherwise."

Asin, who plays the role of Kalpana in the revenge saga Ghajini, says that overcoming her awe of Khan was simple enough, but the real battle was to pull off playing a Mumbai-based working girl convincingly — yet again.

Coincidentally, Ghajini is the remake of the 2005 hit Tamil film with the same title. Asin was the lead actress in the original, too.

"It was tough to recreate the magic one more time. As I went about shooting for the film, I was apprehensive about whether I would be able to nail the character the second time around. You never know, there is always that X-factor, that unexplained element."

Extra zing

Speaking of an X-factor, Asin seems to have already got that extra zing right. Apart from making her foray into Bollywood in an Aamir Khan-led film, Asin has also managed to bag many prestigious projects. "I am currently working on a project called London Dreams with Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan. So it's been pretty hectic."

Enquire about her most memorable Bollywood filming moment, and Asin quite naturally slips in Aamir Khan's name. "The scene where I had to ride pillion on a bike with Aamir on the busy streets of Mumbai was an exciting scene to shoot. It was fun to watch people's reaction on seeing Aamir riding a bike and wondering about the lady behind him ."

Surprisingly, if her leading man gets her talking, then merely mentioning Bollywood's rising star Deepika Padukone gets Asin a tad testy.

"I mean it in the nicest way possible. But it's unfair to draw comparisons between Deepika and me, just because we are both from the South. We are very different."

Then she adds hastily: "In my eyes, this is the best debut vehicle one could have wished for."

Whose line is it anyway?

If there's one person who has been fuming ever since the trailers of Ghajini hit screens, it's the Mumbai-based businessman Trilochan Singh. Apparently, his telephone number was tattooed on Aamir Khan's newly-developed brawn and Singh has been getting crank calls at odd hours of the night ever since. He has even slapped a lawsuit against the actor and is now demanding a compensation of INR50 lakhs (Dh375,000) in damages.

Copyright issues

KBC pictures, who produced the original Tamil movie, have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of Ghajini and are demanding a part in the film's release. Director and writer A. R. Murgadoss is in the line of fire — he also wrote and directed the original.