Simply Shilpa

No mean feat Shilpa Shetty dons the role of an Odissi dancer in ‘The Desire’

No mean feat Shilpa Shetty dons the role of an Odissi dancer in ‘The Desire’   | Photo Credit: Photo: R. Ravindran

Shilpa Shetty tells Saraswathy Nagarajan that her character in ‘The Desire’ will be one of her best roles ever

She is the boss on the sets and there is no mistaking that star power as Shilpa Shetty sashays into the set of ‘The Desire,’ an Indo-Chinese production that is directed by R. Sharath. Suddenly the set at the picturesque Kuthiramalika in the city crackles with action. Lights are switched on and assistants come streaming in from all directions – make-up, spot boys et al.

After effortlessly finishing her shot for the day, Shilpa is all smiles and bonhomie as she talks about her various roles in cinema and television and her work on screen and off-screen.

On her role

“I chose this film after going through several scripts and I know I can give my best to this role of Gouthami, an Odissi dancer who finds it impossible to love anyone as she is completely in love with her art. She desires her art and others desire her… finally, when one is able to give up all kinds of desire, one attains Nirvana. The film is about Gouthami’s evolution and her journey … very philosophical message,” she says laughing.

‘The Desire,’ which is being shot in Kerala and Maharashtra and Kuala Lumpur, shows the complex relationship between a Chinese painter and the dancer. Shilpa has been paired with Chinese superstar Xia Yu.

To portray her role, Shilpa, a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, has been learning Odissi from Ratikant Mohanpatra, (son of Kelucharan Mohapatra) and his wife Rajshree.

“Tribhanga in Oddisi means to twist your body in three directions and the dancer should not move the hips… Can you imagine Shilpa and no jhatkas!” giggles the actor. In a serious vein she continues: “In a mainstream film, a dance is meant to entertain and I have my own style. But this is different. It is a classical art form and one cannot deviate from it. So, despite hurting my leg and having put in 15 stitches, I have been practising hard.”

Shilpa will also be working in an untitled home production of Sunny Deol’s. “I play an actor in that film. Both my roles are so different and that is what is challenging about it.”

Agreeing that last year was a memorable year for her, she points out that her film ‘Life in a Metro’ “won me my first award."

“Till then I had only won a lot of nominations, right from my debut film, ‘Baazigar.’ Moreover, it was the first Bollywood film to have its premiere in Leicester Square. Much before ‘Om Shanti Om,’ it was ‘Life…’ that set the trend. The film deserved such an opening and the producers had the guts to go ahead with a world premiere. Moreover, thanks to ‘Big Brother’ I have a huge fan base in the United Kingdom.”

Shilpa reinvented her career with her win in the British reality show that catapulted her into the limelight and gave her the kind of mileage that she had never really got from her films. Although the win did not translate into any international banners, it gave Shilpa a second innings in the film industry.

“It would be stupid not to acknowledge the power of television. I was able to reach out to so many viewers and increase my fan base thanks to ‘Big Brother.’ It was because of my experience in the show that I agreed to host the second season of ‘Big Boss.’ Yeah, I am a great fan of television.”

The only time her lips traced a downward curve was when she spoke about the controversies that seem to dog her. “It is such a waste of time and money when someone somewhere who has got nothing better to do files a frivolous case because he wants to see Shilpa in court. You know, someone has filed a case saying I was vulgar because my stomach was exposed…” she finishes indignantly. “I wish our courts would draw the line somewhere and there be some kind of punitive action taken against people who go to court for frivolous reasons.”

She snaps out of her mood as soon as work is mentioned. Her own production house, S2, is all set to click into action with a film that will be directed by Manish Jha. “Watch this space… Many new exciting things are going to happen.”

Shilpa speak

After Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, it is Shilpa’s turn to start blogging. The actor’s blog ‘Shilpa Channel’ has her waxing eloquent on the film and Kerala.

“Its been a hectic week in Kerala. Finished shooting some major scenes and a complicated song. This wasn’t any ordinary song, it was an Odisssi dance performance. Why I say complicated is because among all the songs that I’ve ever shot for, this has been the most difficult.

“Love the place, had shot my Yoga DVD there, the locales are so picturesque and the ayurvedic massages therapeutic,” she writes.

“I have always loved the State and that is why my DVD ‘Shilpa’s Yoga’ was shot here on the outskirts of the city,” adds Shilpa.

A foodie who can eat noodles any time of the day.

I am a good cook and can make chicken curry, continental and Chinese dishes.

I diet but my diet is a healthy balanced one.

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