Monday, August 10, 2009

Burmese beauty in Bollywood films

by Syed Ali Mujaba
Monday, 10 August 2009 12:32

Chennai (Mizzima) - Bollywood fans will watch Laila Khan in “Kool Nahi Hot Hai Hum”, released last November, where this Burmese beauty has made her presence felt in the overcrowded Hindi film industry.

Curiosity has been building up among Hindi cinema goers to know more about this new Bollywood siren. Speculation is rife that the new entrant in Hindi cinema could be ‘desi stuff’ from our northeast region, somewhat on the lines of actor ‘Danny’ Denzongpa of Sikkim.

Others speculate she could be from Central Asia, the land of Changiz Khan, as her name suggests.

Slowly, the mystery is unraveling about this round faced girl. Laila Khan is actually Sandar Win, a native of Burma.

Sandar was discovered two years ago, while working as a general manager for an advertising company in Dubai. Many Bollywood directors and producers frequented this ad firm, where this Burmese girl worked, to advertise their films. Sandar’s looks caught their attention and they coxed her to act in Bollywood films.

“They encouraged me to try my hand at acting because they thought I looked gorgeous,” Sandar Win, was quoted as saying by the Myanmar Times, a Rangoon based Weekly Journal.

“Feeling confident by their encouragement, I flew to Mumbai with a dream of becoming a Bollywood star. But when I got there, I saw many attractive girls from around the world and was really nervous,” she said.

“I had to undergo exhausting screen tests but despite the language barrier and learning Bollywood style dancing, my screen tests went well. They liked my acting and sent me to a choreographer, and after two days I was able to perform Bollywood dance,” she added.

A month later, Sandar said, she received a call telling her that she had been selected to act in “Kool Nahi Hot Hai Hum.

“I was incredibly happy. I did not expect this to happen. I had never dreamt that I would be an actress,” said Sandar, who actually hails from Rangoon, in an interview with the Myanmar Times.

How did Sandar Win become Lalia Khan? “Well, they wanted to label me on the lines of Bollywood nymph Helen,” another import from Burma, who sizzled on the Hindi sliver screen in the 60s, 70s.

“And since I was coming from Dubai, where Laila is a common name, this they suffixed with Khan, a much circulated name in Bollywood, and gave me the screen name Laila Khan. I had no issues with this name,” Sandar said.

So far Sandar Win has acted in three films. “Kool Nahi Hot Hai Hum” that was released last year. Two more of her movies “Faraar” and “Choore Pe Moore,” are set for release this festive season of November and December 2009.

She has signed contracts for another four Bollywood films. These are big budget films to be shot in Germany, Austria and Russia and for each film Sandar will spend 40 days in each country.

The journey of Sandar Win from Rangoon to Dubai and from Dubai to Mumbai is a story of luck by chance.