The Shilpa Shetty factor seems to be spreading itself far and wide and the actress' two ready-for-release films, Apne and Metro, are getting extra attention because of her new found fame.
Shilpa, who gained popularity after winning British reality show Celebrity Big Brother, recalls with a pleasurable laugh: "Anil Sharma (director) was in a Canadian airport when he saw me on BBC. Somebody asked him if he knew Shilpa Shetty. He proudly said I was his heroine in Apne."
"I'm so glad my two ready-for-release films are getting extra attention because of me. I'm very happy my next release Metro projects contemporary Indian relationships. Out West they're so used to seeing an oddity from the back of the beyond. It's a welcome change," Shilpa told IANS.
When asked to recall her single-most memorable experience, she said: "There have been so many memorable experiences. But the most emotional experience was when I came out of the Big Brother house. They wouldn't let me meet my family until I did my first live interview. That's when I saw my mother for the first time in 25 days. It was a truly overpowering moment. God has been very kind."
Shilpa says she hasn't changed after winning the reality show but people's perception has changed.
"I do feel I've been somewhat taken for granted at home. Even when I did something as weighty as Phir Milenge, I wasn't given my due. I continued to be called an item girl. I don't know why! What does it take to be taken seriously here?"
"Phir Milenge and Dhadkan are the two most important films of my career. Also Rishtey, which was a very difficult role. Still people didn't give me credit," she rued.
Much as she'd like to spend time with her family, she is kept busy working in Mumbai.
"I've come back home. This is where my heart is. I've to complete Metro and dub for Apne."
She clarifies that she is not shunning Bollywood.
"People, who are saying I won't be doing any more Hindi movies, are wrong. I'm not breaking ties with Bollywood and running away to settle in London. But God has opened new avenues for me and I want to explore them. I want to reach where no Indian has taken Bollywood. And I wish people in my own country would support me on this."
"When I'm called a 'C' grade heroine who's suddenly made it big through Big Brother, I feel really hurt. We all know I've never done anything sub-standard. Such talk is hurtful."