By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
A report that Shilpa Shetty has replaced Karisma Kapoor as a judge on Sony's dance show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa (JDJ) because the replacement came much cheaper, has both the actress and the channel deeply disturbed. Says Shilpa, "This paper has been targeting me on the smallest of pretexts. They called me a jobless actress, which I am not for sure. I currently have two major films on the floor. I know the truth about why I've stepped into Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and how much I've been paid. I see no reason to tom-tom my career moves to people who are hell bent on writing me off. If people see my debut on television as a stepping-down I can't help it. Let me remind them I'm not doing soap."
Incidentally Karisma Kapoor burnt her hands very badly with the soap Karishma on Sahara TV. Says Shilpa, "I've been offered lots of television before. So far I resisted the temptation because I didn't want anyone to say I was getting into television because I had no films on-hand. It's another matter that even now I'm being subjected to barbs about being jobless. I can't run my career according to the bitching. Right now I'm working on Anurag Basu's Metro where I've a role to die for. If I've chosen to cut down on films it's only because I can't do crappy parts at this stage of my career. I'd rather do Jhalak Dikhla Jaa on TV where I get to be part of something I enjoy unconditionally. Dancing!"
Sony spokesperson Anupama Mandloi confirms that Shilpa has been paid very handsomely. "We did have a problem with Karisma and we did ask Shilpa to step in. But to suggest that she has been paid a meager amount is a joke. Shilpa has been paid very very handsomely." Shilpa takes a deep breath. "I've been around long enough not to get insecure about less work now. I've seen so many girls come and go. By God's grace, I'm still around and in a position to do the kind of work that I really enjoy. The best part of doing Jhalak Dikhla Jaa is my colleagues are Farah Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I've never worked with either in any film. But I've always admired their work."
Another person who opted out of JDJ was composer Himesh Reshammiya. Says Anupama, "We asked him to compose the title song for us. He wanted to be paid the sun, moon and stars. We reeled under his remunerative demands and quickly went to Vishal-Shekhar who has composed a beautiful signature tune for us. Javed Akhtar has written the song. Sure, it has the words 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa' in it. But our song is completely different from Himesh's."