CHENNAI: No other Kollywood actress has hogged media headlines as much as Kushboo, who made a humble entry into Tamil cinema way back in 1987 but stayed under the limelight for reasons other than her career in films.
In fact, since 2005 the media has been going gaga over her. First she made the 'premarital sex' remark in a magazine interview, which was highlighted by other publications. That led to some political parties and other groups organising protests. A slew of court cases followed. Recently the Supreme Court asked "what's wrong with premarital sex" and later absolved her of all the charges. Then she enrolled herself as member of the DMK and now a nineyearold television programme of her's has been axed.
But the media interest began much earlier with the news on some of her fans reportedly building a temple dedicated to her somewhere in Tiruchy. How many people had seen the temple - Kushboo has not, as she once told an interviewer - is not known but the temple was in the news in 2005 when it was reportedly demolished by angry fans, protesting the premarital sex remarks.
Twelve years before the premarital sex controversy broke out, Kushboo's marriage to actor Prabhu was the frontpage banner of a leading Tamil newspaper. While there was no confirmation of the marriage in the media later on, Kushboo was on the cover of an English film magazine in 1996 when she gave a bareall interview on her relationship with Prabhu and why she had to break the marriage nine months earlier.
In that interview, Kushboo was candid enough to say that after being in a live-in relationship for four-and-a-half years, they got married on September 12, 1993, at the house they had bought in Poes Garden.
In the 1996 interview, she confessed to seeing director C Sundar, whom she married later and had two children. But it was her recollection of her first meeting with Prabhu, way back in 1987 outside the Devar Films office, and how she fell in love with him, that were revelations.
Perhaps that was one reason why Kushboo, unlike many Bollywood actresses who came to Tamil cinema, stayed on even after the prime of her film career. It is a different matter that it was Kushboo who set the trend of actresses from Mumbai coming into Kollywood. But none of those who followed her - Manisha Koirala, Tabu, Nagma, Urmila Matondkar, Shilpa Shetty, Raveena Tandon, Madhuri Dixit and Pooja Bhatt, to name a few - could remain in the limelight or in Kollywood.
Sometime before those faces from Bollywood became familiar to Tamil filmgoers, one day in 1988, a vivacious young girl was waiting at the lounge of a hotel in Nagercoil. The man at the reception desk told his friends that she was a north Indian actress having come for a shoot at the Padmanabhapuram Palace. The men also exchanged views in Tamil. One of them even asked: Is this bubbly thing acting in a Tamil film?
Suddenly her driver emerged and the girl chided him in broken Tamil for making her wait so long, before saying Povomaa? The name of the girl, the men learnt later, was Kushboo. So, was it her efforts to start learning Tamil so early that helped Kushboo stay put and go on to become the media's evergreen darling?