Actress Shilpa Shukla made her presence felt with the role of Bindiya Naik in the Shah Rukh Khan starrer hit
Chak De! India
. Shilpa on life after
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 3
... in a tete' a tete' with
You’re out of Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa 3..
Yeah. I slept peacefully after almost four months. I had forgotten what rest meant.
But surely, you must be disappointed. You were expected to make it to the top three?
To be honest, I hadn’t expected to come this far in the contest. I’m glad the judges thought that I could have gone further. Till the time I was enjoying myself, I played it well. Then what happened was poetic justice. Jhalak.. was a journey of self-discovery.
Yeah, I didn’t know I could dance. After Chak De! India, two production houses had offered me item songs. But then they backed out believing that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I didn’t challenge their decision then because I wasn’t too sure if I disagreed.
Do you think Gauhar Khan’s re-entry in the wild card round was justified?
Of course. The show would fall flat on its face if the best dancers were chucked out. And Gauhar’s performance in the wild card round was truly her best.
Bhagyashree has complained that she was made to spice up her acts on the show.
If you’ve agreed to allow a mic and three cameras around you during the time you spend at rehearsals, you’ve agreed to a lot of things that are unwritten but understood. When certain footages of Gauhar were shown, she didn’t like it either.
I respect Bhagyashree as a senior actress, homemaker, wife and mother. Celebs like her and Mohinderji (Amarnath) may not feel comfortable with the ‘reality’ angle in such shows. Having said that, I insist that there was no manipulation. It’s just that the final edit is not in an artiste’s hands.
Towards the end of your tenure on JDJ, you received plenty of flak.
We had put in a lot of effort for the ‘Cats’ dance. It’s a kind of block dancing in which you don’t look at your partner and yet your moves have to be in sync. You have to be very precise.. merging the steps with the jazz beats was really tough. When I was on stage, I thought I was doing fine. My energy and moves were right. But the judges thought otherwise.
Monica Bedi’s exit was a shocker.
Yeah, she danced brilliantly. But someone stays.. someone goes.
What’s the response to your show Rajuben?
Superb! I played Rajuben by instinct. And I’m happy that it’s become so popular. I’m told a lot of people cancel dinner outings to watch the series. It’s found a following that’s as good as Hum Log and Fauji. The audience is looking for quality entertainment now. Several of my friends and colleagues have missed the some episodes and are looking to catch up. The good news is that we will be releasing Rajuben on DVD soon.
Don’t you think the gap between Chak De! India and Rajuben was too long?
It was. After Chak De!, I think the industry wasn’t sure what to do with me. A few scripts did come my way, but nothing really exciting. The roles were too linear.. they didn’t have body.
Some were outright negative.. the kind which would not have let me shed my Chak De! image. Rajuben and Jhalak.. boosted my confidence. The timing was right. (Smiles) I don’t get a kick easily but when I do get one, it’s a big one.
Chak De! India was a superhit but none of the girls seem to have benefitted much from it?
When I met Shah Rukh (Khan) after the film’s release, I told him just this. When you make it big as a team, a jinx follows and it takes long to break it. That’s what’s happned with some of the sports-oriented movies in the west too. Nonetheless, Chak De! was the role of lifetime.. a big gamble.. and well played. I’m thrilled that kids still call me Bindiya Naik. So many of them watch the movie to boost their sagging confidence.
Are you in touch with the Chak De team?
Yeah, though I couldn’t attend Vidya’s (Malavade) marriage.. prior commitments. Chitu (Chitrashi Rawat) is my little sister. Since she doesn’t have her family here, I’ve become family to her. She’s bagged a biggish project now and is often out shooting. Arya, Shubhi and Anaita are also in touch.
What after Rajuben and Jhalak..?
I’ll have two releases this year, both comedies. Season’s Greetings is with Javed Jafferi. I’m amazed I can act funny too. I’m also in talks for a woman-oriented film.
What about TV?
No yaar, I want to do 20 films in my career that I can be proud of.
I’ve got just eight seconds of screen time. My photo plays a bigger part than me...in flashback. The role came to me when I needed money. Shivajee approached me after seeing Khamosh Paani. I’ve waited long time. I hope the wait is over, finally.