Monday, August 10, 2009

Burmese siren sizzles in Bollywood movies

Burmese siren sizzles in Bollywood movies
Syed Ali Mujaba

Bollywood fans are in for a delight to watch a hot babe in “Kool Nahi Hot Hai Hum” released last November. Called Laila Khan, this chink beauty has made her presence felt in the over crowded Hindi film industry.

Curiosity since then has been building up among the Hindi moviegoers to know more about this new Bollywood siren. Speculation were rife, the new import into Hindi cinema could be a ‘desi stuff’ from our northeast region, somewhere near home to actor ‘Danny` Denzongpa of Sikkim.

Others speculated she could be a true import from foreign land, maybe from Central Asia, the land of Changiz Khan, as her name suggests.

Slowly, the mysteries are unraveling about this round faced girl. Laila Khan is actually Sandar Win, a native of Burma, now called Myanmar.

Sandar was discovered two years ago while working as a general manager at 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,” said Sandar Win, who actually comes from Rangoon.

“Feeling confident from 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 issues with the language barrier and learning Bollywood style dance, 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, I received a call that I have 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,” she said in an interview.

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

“And since I was coming from Dubai, where Laila is a common name, and this they suffixed it with Khan, a much circulated name in Bollywood dictionary, and give 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. Her two more 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. Truly it’s a story of someone on whom destiny is bestowed. / ens/
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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