Madhu Shalini, twenty-three, grew up in Hyderabad and made several Telugu and Tamil films before being tapped last year for a Bollywood feature, Department, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. In Department, Shalini appears in various degrees of undress the local ratings authority granted it an Adults Only certification but she’s sort of demure here.
Shalini, while not exactly plain, is certainly plain-spoken. Consider this 2008 interchange, while she was still doing Telugu films:
One would argue that most actresses in Tollywood look alike. Do you feel the same?
That’s because they all do! With all due respect to them, most directors still prefer a fair-skinned girl to a dusky one. They go to Bombay to scout for actresses. Everywhere else I get compliments for my dusky tone while here it’s the other way round. You always want what you don’t have.
Which is a concept you don’t have to be from India to understand, either.