New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) She came into the limelight with her coffee bean complexion in "Ajnabee" and was called a scorcher for her skin show in "Jism". But Bollywood beauty Bipasha Basu, who turns 30 Wednesday, has now moved on from being just a sex icon and is signing on mature roles.
Voted the Sexiest Asian woman in 2007 by the British weekly newspaper Eastern Eye, the starlet of films like "Rudraksh", "No Entry", "Omkara" and "Dhoom 2" is taking steps towards signing on for serious roles.
"If I don't like what's being offered, I won't sign anything (any more)," Bipasha had earlier told IANS in an interview.
Her stint with arthouse movie started with Prakash Jha's 2005 political drama "Apaharan". He presented her in a deglamourised role, but it was Ajay Devgan who had an author-backed role.
Bipasha's first meatier role was in Madhur Bhandarkar's critically acclaimed 2006 film "Corporate". She proved her mettle and both critics and audiences applauded her performance. She was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress award.
Last year she did Rituparno Ghosh's Bengali film "Shob Charitro Kalponik" and is currently doing Sudipto Chattopadhyaya's "Pankh" and Rahul Dholakia's "Lamhaa".
Despite churning out fewer hits and more misses, the actress, who entered filmdom in 2001, constantly hogged the limelight, thanks to her oomph factor.
Her long-awaited share of fame came in 2008 with hits like "Race" and "Bachna Ae Haseeno". She is now breaking from convention and taking on new challenges.
For "Lamhaa", Bipasha is all set to change the dynamics of physical appearances of a Kashmiri girl.
"When you think of a Kashmiri girl in our movies, what comes to mind is a fair-skinned, light-eyed girl. But I want to disprove that myth. The pre-conceived notions have to be overcome," said Bipasha.
The actress is bent on looking convincing in the role and had even invited a Kashmiri woman to Mumbai in order to study her body language, speech patterns and mannerisms to get into the character.
"I think I'm going to be more keen on getting it right than the director. I've never done a film like this before. The role requires me to be someone else altogether.
"And for this I needed help. I wanted to play the character the way girls really are today in Kashmir. Very basic," explained the actress, who is dating Bollywood hunk John Abraham.
Unlike other actors, Bipasha is not very keen to try her luck in Hollywood.
"No filmmakers of Hollywood are willing to sign any Bollywood actor without a screen test apart from Aishwarya Rai. They seem to know no Hindi film actors, not even Amitabh Bachchan.
"I found out that I will have to start again (there) from scratch like screen tests and other tantrums. They treat you like a newcomer. So I've decided to stay in Mumbai and be the 'queen' here," she had said.
"India is a very comfortable place for us because we have already made a niche here. So why would anyone want to go and struggle there? I don't want to go and struggle. I have gone through my struggle."
Her other future projects include "Aa Dekhen Zara" and "Freeze".