Perhaps she’s just finicky, perhaps she doesn’t want to suggest that her relationship with the man in her life is ultra-serious. She’s been toting frequent flier miles between Mumbai-New Delhi-Mumbai where he’s anchored and which incidentally is her hometown too.
In other words, she has kept squash champ Ritwik Bhattacharya under wraps. So far, that is..in fact, I’m surprised when the sultry Neha Dhupia talks straight on about him.
Every time the media asks you about Ritwik Bhattacharya, your patented answer is, “There’s nothing between us but friendship.” But then you’re all over the place with him.
To be honest, it has gone beyond friendship. It’s a wonderful relationship now. But I’m non-committal right now. We’ve been spending a lot of time together, primarily because Ritwik has been in Mumbai for a while.
Do you ever feel the need to settle down with someone you’ve known all your life?
That’s an advantage but there’s no question of settling down. He’s the only guy whom I’ve ever come closest to in my life. He has seen my struggle to make my place as an actress, I’ve seen him go through a lot to reach where he has today. We have arrived at decent positions in our careers, we are absolutely focused.
Ours has been a strange, fairy tale like relationship.. we respect each other tremendously.
How does your family react to gossip written about Ritwik and you?
(Laughs) They are fine with it. Ritwik, in fact, has known my family for years. He used to play squash with my father. Frankly, I don’t know why so much has been made out of my public appearances with him. I just like being with him. He’s a companionable sort of a guy.
You’re a regular fixture at events and parties. Do you feel it’s vital to network?
I don’t go to parties just to be seen or network. I get invited; I go to be with friends.
Career-wise, you’ve moved from bikinis to bindis, haven’t you?
I think so. Eyebrows were raised at what I did in the past. I’m proud of how I’ve conducted myself in my career, You think the bikini scenes in Qayamat and Julie were mistakes. Believe me, I’ll never disown Julie. Even today, I watch it for its wonderful story and execution. I don’t think the Qayamat scene was a mistake either.
Shilpa Shetty has made big-time news with Celebrity Big Brother. Would you ever do a reality show, if offered?
That show is highly entertaining, it makes for great bedtime viewing. But I don’t think I would do a reality show right now. It’s too much of an invasion of one’s privacy. I’m still quite a private, middle class girl.
What’s been happening on the movie front for you?
I’ve been shooting for Shootout atl Lokhandwala. I’m also about to start dubbing for Mithiya. Then there is Delhi Heights, which has been shot in my hometown. Ek Chalis Ki Last Local should be releasing soon. I’m shooting for Dus Kahaaniyan this week..and I’ve signed Kuch Love Kuch Drama, a comedy with Rajpal Yadav.