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"Natives of U.K. also recognize me" - Shilpa Shetty

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Shilpa Shetty
No matter how many films this slim, sexy and sultry beauty has been a part of, but Shilpa Shetty will always be remembered as the proud winner of the Celebrity Big Brother, at least in the U.K, and seconds after being crowned, her Life In A Metro changed for good. From the lavish red carpet premiere of her film in the U.K to her perfume launch, she is now an international figure. Last seen with her boyfriend Raj Kundra in the U.K a couple of months ago at the Zee Cine Awards 2008, she is all set to return with The Unforgettable Tour on August 24 at the O2 Arena to do what she does best, dancing. In an exclusive interview with Devansh Patel, Shilpa sounds ecstatic about the London leg of the tour, why she thinks no one can match Big B's dance moves, her Big Brother days, how she maintains her perfect body, her newly formed production company and much more.

Looks like Big Brother has blessed you again. I mean, we will now be seeing you live at the O2 Arena on August 24. What's going through your mind right now?
(Laughs) Well, a whole lot of excitement and the opportunity to actually get to connect with the audiences in the U.K who've given me so much love. It's now my time to reciprocate that love back and show them that this is what I actually do for a living.

You're a guest performer in the London leg of the tour. Don't you feel left out on not being able to be with The Unforgettable Tour in Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and New York?
Not really because I have so much work on hand at the present moment. Yes, Wizcraft did ask me to be a part of the rest of the tour as well but I couldn't make that time. I am committed to finishing The Man which is my next release with Sunny Deol who is producing and directing it. So I decided that I could take out those couple of days and fit in the O2 Arena.

You all seem to be wearing the colour red to promote this tour which symbolises power. But what power are we going to see from you in your performances?
Dancing I think has always been my USP and whether people watch my films or not, I don't know. But they definitely watch my dancing (laughs). This is definitely going to be a performance to watch out for because Shiamak Davar and I are getting back together again. Whenever he choreographs something for me, he always makes it really special. The last time he did something for me was at the IIFA Yorkshire in the U.K last year. The IIFA performance was pretty unforgettable so this one will be a few notches higher.

So how different is to be rehearsing your steps you perform on the tour from what you perform while shooting a song for the film?
We normally try to keep it a little similar. But when we perform on stage most of the numbers are re-mixed. So that they become slightly more fast paced. I may not be necessarily performing on my numbers. It may be a Punjabi number which is very popular in the U.K. So there is a mix of everything. Of course, we only get one chance to give it our best on the stage whereas we can go on and on till we do not get our steps right if we are filming a song for the film. So there isn't really a big difference.

We've seen you shake a leg with Mr Amitabh Bachchan many years ago in a forgetful film titled Lal Badshah. Having said that, what's so really special about a 65 year old man dancing with a woman half his age?
(Laughs) I think when it comes to Amitji, nobody even considers his age. He is so charismatic and he has such power over his audience that they don't care for his age. I definitely for one don't. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He is a stalwart in Hindi cinema and just to get this opportunity to share the stage space with him is such a huge honour. We actors are meant to entertain the audience, so no one thinks of age as a primary concern.

Here's an entertaining question for you. The word 'figure' is synonymous with you Shilpa. I mean, you are the fittest actress around in the Indian Film Industry. How on earth do you maintain your body and have you figured out the sort of reception you will be getting at the O2 Arena?
(Laughs out loud) I love your question (laughs again). It is very well worded I must say. Thank you very much for the compliment. Well, I do work out and I'll be lying if I say that I don't work out. But I also eat a lot, contrary to what the people think and imagine. I do weight training and Yoga on a regular basis and that's what keeps me fit. And to answer your second question which was pun intended, I don't know what kind of reaction I'm going to get at the O2 Arena. I'm quite looking forward to it. I think it's going to be very good.

As London is the last city where the Unforgettable Tour wraps up, I'm sure you'll be a bit more relaxed in this historical city. Any busy plans after the Tour?
Shopping (laughs).

And where about?
I shop anywhere in London. I just love London because it's a great destination to shop. Anywhere from Oxford Street to Carnaby Street, I really enjoy it.

The only two celebrities you've worked with from the Tour are the two Bachchans - Abhishek and Amitabh. What was it like working with Riteish Deshmukh, Preity Zinta and Aishwarya Bachchan for the first time?
All the names you've mentioned come from the same fraternity. So we know each other pretty well. It's not like we are alien to each other. We know each other and I've interacted with all of them in the past. So it's just going to be great fun to be performing with them for the first time on stage. It goes beyond becoming a job because this is one of those shows which is like a picnic for all of us actors. I'm sure we are going to have a blast.

We all know that when it comes to choreography, Shiamak Davar is the king. Any unforgettable moments you can recall from your rehearsals so far?
Well, I haven't started rehearsing. Please don't tell anybody (laughs) because I am shooting for Sunny Deols home production titled The Man. I am going to start rehearsals in a couple of days. In fact, I am going off to Goa and have told them to send me an assistant who can teach me the steps.

Is it true in saying that just because you won the Celebrity Big Brother, you are more attached towards the U.K?
I definitely got more attached to the U.K after the Celebrity Big Brother. It's not wrong when people say that. I have travelled to different parts of the world but the warmth I receive in the U.K is just something else. I can't put it in words. Like I said before, I am who I am in the U.K because of the people and it's them who wanted me to win the show. I completely appreciate that. There are very few actors who go to different countries and are recognised there as well. I am blessed from that front. It's not only the Indians who recognise me in the U.K. It's the natives and the main stream people too.

Can you brief us who has designed your outfits for The Unforgettable Tour?
Manish Malhotra is designing my costumes for the show. I am really excited. He is a fabulous designer. We are in the process of designing them because there is a certain look that we have to maintain. It's an amalgam of both our thoughts and ideas. Manish is someone whose sensibilities I trust as well. If he thinks that a certain colour will look better on me and if I am not convinced with it then I still will trust him. In short, it's a good working relationship.

Besides being a bit busy with the Tour, what else is keeping you busy in your life in a metro?
As I said that I am filming for The Man right now and have just finished shooting a song for Karan Johar's next film Dostana and after that I start my home production in November under S2 Global Productions. I am busy with that too. We are currently in the process of scripting. Once I announce the film, maybe you guys will get to know what the film is called. We haven't yet zeroed on the name of the film.

Any parting message for all your fans who are desperate to see you perform live at the O2 Arena in London?
I just want to say that I am really looking forward to come to the U.K with The Unforgettable Tour. I can vouch for one thing - It will be unforgettable.

We can't let you go like this Shilpa. I mean, you have to let us know the songs you are going to perform on the Tour.
I can only tell you that I am going to perform on this rocking Punjabi number. I am not allowed to divulge too many details.

Don't you think Wizcraft should organise more of such World Tours and concerts every year or two just like what they do when it comes to IIFA Awards?
I think that Wizcraft is pretty sorted on that front. They are so used to doing shows in India and world wide that if they can take a contingent of hundreds of celebrities every year to a different destination and put up with all their tantrums (laughs), then I'm sure this Unforgettable Tour is like a cakewalk for them.

I don't know whether you are aware of this or not. Big Brother 2008 has just started couple of weeks ago. Would you like to give one last message for all the participants who are in the house waiting to be celebrities when they come out?
I had a great time being in there. Yes, there were some tears yet a lot of happiness too and I wish them all the best of luck. I am really not watching the series, so have no idea what's happening inside the house.

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