Industry predicts Shilpa Shetty’s career turnaround

MUMBAI: The winner of UK’s reality show Celebrity Big Brother, Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty has yet again become the reigning queen of Bollywood. With Rs 8.64 million in her pocket as win money and another reported Rs 8 million from an exclusive interview with a British publication, Shetty has truly won a jackpot.


The actor’s mother Sunanda Shetty has commissioned a ‘dream team’ for her daughter. The newly appointed professionals include celebrity manager Max Clifford in charge of public relations, Farhat Hussain as her show promoter and law firm Carter Ruck to handle all legal matters.


Sources close to Shetty confirm that film offers from the UK, Spain and Singapore have been flowing in for her. Shetty, who will be returning to India in February, will first complete her contract commitments in the UK before returning home. It is also reported that a big Hollywood filmmaker who had earlier made a film with Aishwariya Rai has approached Shetty with a project. spoke to various producers and directors on what this win means for Shetty’s career.


Anurag Basu’s Metro produced by UTV Motion Pictures will be her first release, after the win.


The film’s producers and director are understandably delighted. “It is a very big achievement for her,” admits UTV senior vice president marketing and communications Siddharth Roy Kapur. “Certainly, there will be an increased craze for Metro. We plan to devise a different marketing strategy for the film.”


The release of Metro will be highly anticipated in the UK market, where Shetty now has a fan following thanks to Big Brother.


Both Kapoor and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar agree that the win and the global publicity following the race row with Jade Goody as well as her eventual win will affect Shilpa’s career positively. Bhandarkar says, “She has definitely made India proud. It will make a big difference to her career in Bollywood as well as abroad, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her fees see a substantial hike.”


Director Anurag Basu adds that it is Shilpa’s transparency, which worked in her favour on the show. “The entire Metro unit including me is very happy. When we all went to drop her to the airport, she insisted that she would be back soon and that I should book the other stars’ dates for the shooting. But I predicted that she would definitely reach the final. Yet, I was surprised when she finally won!”


Excited about the prospects of Metro in the UK, Basu adds, “I know for sure that there will be a demand to increase the number of prints.”


Venus’ head Ratan Jain, the man who gave Shetty her first break in Baazigar and then cast her again in Dhadkan, which was her comeback vehicle, says, “I feel proud that we introduced her in our film and then again cast her in Dhadkan, when her career was not going well. We at Venus wish her all the best, and we would definitely approach her if a role in any of our forthcoming films suits her.”


Agrees producer Mukesh Bhatt, “Everyone in India is definitely feeling happy and proud, but Shilpa is bound to be happier. She’s going to make good money now. This show will make a big difference to her career.”


Association of Motion Pictures and Television Programme Producers (AMPTPP) president Pahlaj Nihalani says, “We are definitely proud to know she has won the show. Everybody has seen her fight her way and towards the end, she emerged as a winner.”


“The winning has definitely boosted her market value. Not only, is she a good actor, but also a good human being. On the acting front, there was nothing exciting happening and the show has brought about a big difference in her career. Today, in order to tactfully do your own PR is one of the plus points, which she has skillfully handled. Now it is up to her as to how she takes her career forward and win more laurels,” Nihalani adds.


Legendary actor and director Dev Anand is also proud of Shetty. “I take pride to know our girl has won a show abroad. After the TV show, she has made an identity for herself in England. She may bag more TV shows abroad and films too. In India, the deep pocketed corporates might want to rope her in for a package deal,” he says.


When queried as to whether he might consider casting Shetty in one of his films, the octogenarian actor replied, “It is difficult for me to provide big compensations because I make a film within Rs 40 – 60 million (Rs 4 – 6 crores). I will surely cast her in my forthcoming films if she comes to me as a creator and as an artist, who respects my emotions.”


On the ‘reality’ factor in shows such as Big Brother, director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan remarks, “Sometimes I do wonder if it is a reality show or a game show. In such shows, realism is missing. You can feel the artistes mouthing somebody’s dialogue. The casting is intelligently done. One is a cry baby, one is a conspirator, one is a cool baby and one is a cheer-up guy.”


Comparing the winner of the Indian Bigg Boss on Sony actor Rahul Roy to Shetty, Mahadevan adds, “Rahul Roy winning the Bigg Boss show back in India may not be much of a help to him as he may not bag plump assignments. However, for Shilpa Shetty it will be different. In abroad, such shows are played in a big way. There is a lot of money involved. The culture of media hype in the US and the UK is big. India, however, is now catching up. People in the UK will be waiting for her forthcoming movie Metro. Back in India, Shilpa had never faded. Now it will be her second innings in Bollywood.”


Speaking of her increasing popularity, UTV’s Kapur says, “After winning this popular show, it will definitely make a lot of difference to her acting career because she now has got world wide publicity.”


Basu, however, has a small word of caution for the actor, “My advice to her would be that she should choose wisely before signing films now and shouldn’t hesitate to grab any endorsement offers that will come her way.”


With so much being said and written it is but obvious that Shetty has surely benefited from all the media attention. She has become a global face and has truly taken Bollywood to an international audience.


(With inputs from Ashok Anchan, Johnny Vaz and Sanjay Ram)


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