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Nilanjana Sharma

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We knew that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But meet Nilanjana Sharma, whose beauty definitely lies in her eyes and there are enough people willing to put their money where their eyes are and backing her talent.

Pretty and vivacious, Nilanjana Sharma, is the new girl on the block. This young Piscean floated into this world of glitz and glamour, and having settled in she is now beginning to enjoy herself. A graduate in English literature, Nilanjana's first encounter with the camera was with a press campaign for Superwiz glue. Not ironically, the glue stuck and Nilanjana found herself making a career out of glamour.

The glue ad was followed, in quick succession, by campaigns for Noga jam, Flying Machine jeans, Shoppers Stop (the superstore chain), and Divya diamond jewellery. But the campaign that shot her into the limelight was the Instinct perfume campaign (remember the girl with green nails and lips). And, of course, it was those big expressive eyes that grabbed everyone. "People always remember my eyes. Even my directors focus a lot on them," says she.

Her first brush with TV commercial came with the Vimal campaign shot in Mauritius. This was followed by Siemen's mobile phone and ITC commercials. "This gave me enough confidence and when I was invited to do the PAN's music video for Glen Perry, I immediately agreed. It was an experience because Dharam Gulati was the cameraman and one learns a lot from him," she quipped.

The video had a very short life because of some legal hassles with one channel. Needless to say, the video failed to give her much exposure. Hr second video, for the album Boondein, did give her a wider platform, but the video that made her was Pankaj Udhas' Woh Ladki Yaad Aati Hai, directed by Arjun Sablok.

Besides, ad films and music videos, Nilanjana has also made for herself hosting special in-flight programmes. From hosting in-flight shows to hosting music programmes was one short, logical, step, and Nilanjana now finds herself hosting a countdown show, Indi Pop, produced by Quest International. And from thence to starring in a serial was even more logical. She appears in Hip Hip Hurray, produced by UTV, and aired on Zee TV. "It came to me because Anirudha (the executive producer Sea Hawks) recommended my name to UTV. Since my mom, Anjana Bhome, happens to be a Bengali actress, he believed that I, too, was capable of acting," Nilanjana says.

Her second serial, Lekin Woh Such Tha on DD-1, sees Nilanjana play a role that's a stark contrast to her true personality. She plays the serious, hard-working ASW inspector. "Shooting for this serial was painful. I had to sober down my mannerisms, cut down on my body language, look serious and mature. And, I had to slow down my speech; God, I really had to put in so much of effort," she moans.

Alongside the "serious, mature" Nilanjana also hosts Zee's new pop countdown, Mama Mia. Nilanjana admits that she enjoys hosting the countdown show, where she gets to "freak out" with the guests. Also it gives her a chance to get out of the studio and shoot in the streets. "It's a wild and whacky show and my director Arjun allows me to play around with the script. Even our guests have been very co-operative," she enthuses.

Nilanjana is all set to appear in two more serials; Film Mania directed by Shifa Mitra, and Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum produced by Vivek Agnihotri. "Though I have got quite a few offers. I don't want to work more than a shift a day. Otherwise over-exposure will shorten the already short life span of an actress," she feels.

Acting and hosting aside, what Nilanjana would really love to do is VJ (Are you looking and listening, CHanneL [V] and MTV?). With a short attention span, she prefers to do things that have variations in their themes. "If I get tired of acting, I will take up journalism," says the actress, who is into writing short stories.

Besides acting, Nilanjana enjoys photography (because she wants to capture each moment of life), holidaying and food. Discos are a big `no', "because they are so smoky". She aspires to be the best at whatever she does; and that includes acting in films. If things turn out well, filmgoers may soon see her dancing around trees in a South Indian film that she's negotiating to star in. "The producers down South find my very impresszive," she says.

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