Malaika Arora, who has done several hit item songs in Hindi films, recently shot her first Telugu dance number in Hyderabad and was in for a culture shock.
The Chaiyaa Chaiyaa girl, who teamed up with Telugu filmdom's reigning superstar Mahesh Babu in the song, describes the experience as "hysterical".
"All those words and movements and some of those steps - the whole bump-and-grind routine that I was used to was completely changed," Malaika, whose Chaiyaa Chaiyaa with Shah Rukh Khan remained a chartbuster for months, told IANS.
What Malaika found truly weird was the complete absence of interaction with her leading man during the dance.
"When I danced with Shah Rukh Khan in Dil Se and Kaal, we were dancing together. But the entire definition of screen-heroism in the south is different. With Mahesh there was absolutely no interaction even though we were dancing on the same set.
"He was playing the unattainable Adonis and I was the dancer. I found it hilarious. Mahesh said all of five words to me during the entire shooting. But, let me add, he's a thorough gentleman."
Malaika requested the team for a more interactive dance.
"But I was told this is the way it is in the south. So I just did my work. It was nevertheless fun and worth it because I did it for a friend."
Malaika signed on for the song because her old friend and actress Namrata Shirodhkar, who is married to Mahesh, requested her to do so.
"I never thought I'd dance in a regional film. She (Namrata) said they needed me to do a song and dance. I thought I wouldn't be able to mouth those Telugu words. But Namrata convinced me. It was ages since I had met her. I told her the entire team including the choreographer was unknown to me, and I wouldn't be comfortable. And to me being comfortable in what I do is very important. She told me to just relax and promised to be there for me. When I heard the track, I found it very cool."
Malaika still can't believe the experience.
"I had taken my friends along and at the end of it they were wondering if it was for real."
The actress had earlier grooved with her husband Arbaaz Khan to an item number in director Indrajith Lankesh's Shaadi Ke After Effects.
"I did an item song with my husband Arbaaz for a Hindi film by Lankesh, which they'll probably dub into Kannada. That was any day more interactive than my song with Namrata's husband," she said.
The 34-year-old will be seen in a full-length role as an actress opposite Arjun Rampal in Suniel Shetty's EMI, but says she is still not open to doing full-length parts.
"I've neither the time nor the patience. Every other day I get an offer. But I politely decline. I really don't have the space or time. I can't divide my time between my son and work. I can't break away for two months and do a film."