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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Akshay Kumar? He's just a friend now: Shilpa Shetty
Hiren Kotwani
Mumbai, May 23, 2007
First Published: 17:39 IST(23/5/2007)
Last Updated: 19:10 IST(24/5/2007)
At the premiere of Life in a Metro at Leicester Square.

Wearing a smiley, she is on a promotional spree for Apne, which will be premiered at the IIFA Awards ceremony in the U K next month. Helloes exchanged, I want to know:

Will there be anything for you to do in Apne which toplines the Deols?
Well, it’s a casting coup as you know and I’m glad to be part of it. When Neeraj Pathak, the writer of the movie, narrated the script to me, I had tears in my eyes.. it’s a very emotionals story. Not that my role is earth-shattering.. but sometimes it’s important to do a prestigious film.

You’ve worked with the Deols individually before.Was it any different this time?
Dharamji is lovable, I want to give him a hug.. he plays my father-in-law…(laughs ) and really, he’d make an ideal father-in-law. When I started shooting for Apne, Dharamji wasn’t in Metro. It was the time I was working with him.. that’s why I wanted to do Apne.

Substantial hype was built around you during Metro, but Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Sharman Joshi walked away with the praise.
Those who have seen the film have appreciated my performance. The characters played by the actors you’ve named have comic elements.. so it’s easier for the audience to like them instantly. My character had a strong undercurrent..a woman striking a friendship with a man outside marriage.. it had to be kept subtle otherwise it could have gone totally black.. and dark.

<b1>So why’s Shiney Ahuja upset with you for praising Kay Kay Menon in Metro?
I must say the rumour mongers are working overtime. Shiney and Kay Kay are actors of a different temperament.

Overseas, the marketing strategy of Metro was changed to suit your new found status after Big Brother win. Despite that, the film didn’t work abroad.
It’s not a conventional film. I got calls from friends, saying there were firangs sitting in the theatres to watch the film. I don’t know why, but I guess the audience expected it to be something that it wasn’t.

Stories of how you bagged Big Brother still persist. How did it happen?
A lot has been said and written about that.. It came to me through Jazz, who contacted Bobby Khan, who in turn got in touch with me, as a friend. After I went in the Big Brother house, it became an entirely different issue. I’ve no clue what Bobby had in mind. I’m not taking any credit away from him.. he did suggest my name.. but if he expected more than what was discussed, then I really don’t know what to say.


First you cried that youwere a victim of racism.. then you said that Jade Goody wasn’t racist.What’s the truth?
I said what I felt at that point in time. I don’t think we should go back into that all over again.

You’re planning to shift to the UK, if news about you acquiring property there is to be believed.
The day anything happens, I’ll let it be known. I appreciate that the media is working on several stories on me.. from conjectures that I’ll now be working abroad and that I’m even buying property.. ( laughs ) I’m glad that there’s so much interest in me. My base will always be in Mumbai although Iwill try to do something in the U K as well.

Your final word on the Richard Gere kiss..
A lot has been made out of it unnecessarily. I’ve been preoccupied with my work and dance.. I haven’t even had time to watch television. In fact, I’m a bit wary of watching the news channels.. I don’t want to flip a channel and see be some new controversy about me.

<b3>What about the stories in the U K tabloids that Akshay Kumar and you were on the same flight and he made a pass at you?
Well, for them we’re celebrities. For you, I’m not. So, you should know what I’m all about. It’s a baseless story. I share a cordial friendship with Akshay Kumar now, and I’d like it to remain that way. There’s no animosity between us.

Apparently, you’re more than just good friends with Shiney Ahuja..
Shiney? Are you mad or what? He’s married.

But there are reports that there are problems in his marriage.
I can’t comment on that. I can’t even call Shiney a friend.. he’s just a co-star for me.

So are you saying you’re single? When do you see yourself getting married?
I’d be a Marjorie Orr, Bejan Daruwalla or one of those astrologers if I could tell you when I’m getting married.


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