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Shveta: Not A Mandira Clone

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The cat is finally out of the bag! Following weeks of speculation over who is the sleuth in disguise in the popular tele-serial "Left Right Left", it will soon be revealed that the spy is none other than Shveta Salve, the soft-spoken, popular doctor-cum-teacher Dr. Ritu Mishra!

While this is certainly going to be a surprise for the audience, did Shveta herself know that she would be playing the sleuth in Left Right Left? Well, she says that she did and had accepted the role only because of this 'twist' or mystery in the role. "I had accepted this role because I was sure it would bolt people out of their seats when they found out that Dr. Ritu Mishra, the most loving, mature and caring of the ensemble cast would turn out to be a spy! The entire perception about Ritu's character was to undergo a tectonic shift after the revelation and that would, in turn, add volumes to my characterization," she says confidently.

Though the character is a bit complex, Shveta found no difficulty in portraying Dr Ritu Mishra. She says, "I never thought on those lines. I approached the character as it progressed without thinking about how it was going to unfold in the time to come."

Shveta has a knack of picking up glamorous roles and even the character of Dr Ritu Mishra is one such - much on the lines of the one done by Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na. When we ask her about this trait, Shveta disagrees. "No, actually it will come as a surprise to know that I'm inherently not a glamorous person at all. I am very happy in a pair of denims and a simple tee shirt and given a choice would love to frolic around on screen in that attire too (laughs) but kya karein? My audience likes to see me in glamorous roles and being an entertainer, it is my duty to give them what they want. But talking about Dr. Ritu's role, I personally was surprised when it started being touted as a glamorous one because I don't feel there was anything much glamorous in it except for the chiffon saris, which probably might have reminded people of Sushmita in the film and which is what might have exhorted them to choose me winner for the MTV Style Award, a fact that I was very surprised, but of course very pleased about!"

Be it "Lipstick", "Kitty Party" or "Sarkar", Shveta was always seen in immature roles till this role of Dr. Ritu's in LRL. Is she consciously trying to shift her focus and orientation or is it coincidental? Shveta says its pure coincidence and nothing is being done in a planned manner. "I pick a role if it appeals to me as a package; I don't plot and plan whether how it will leverage me as an actress or how great it will look on my CV."

Referring to the controversies that have hit LRL from time to time, Shveta says, "Thankfully, I never got drawn into any of these controversies because I consciously chose to stay away from it. I do not like to indulge in controversies. But still if you want me to opinionate, I'll say that I was thoroughly displeased that the serial got mired in controversies, most (though I admit not all) of which were fabricated and created purely to hype LRL. In my opinion, this is no way to publicize a programme."

According to Shveta, such controversies may perk up the audience's interest for a short while, but ultimately they denigrate its value. Further, if at all one have to talk about the negative things, why don't they balance it out by talking about the positive side as well, asks the charismatic. Citing an example, Shveta says, "Why is nothing written about my and Aparna Tilak's (who plays Shalini) friendship, or maybe about me doing all the stunts myself? Or even, rather than gossiping about this actor having an affair with this actress, why not talk about the deep friendship these guys, who have all come from out of Mumbai, share with each other? I think it's ridiculous the way the serial has been hyped." We thought that going by the things, LRL will be drawing to a close soon and Shveta must be thinking ahead in her career.

The actress, however, has different ideas. "Firstly, there's no guarantee that LRL will wind up! It will depend on what the audience wants and if they want it to run for some more time, it will. After all, don't we have crappy soaps running for decades?"

Anyways, Shveta has decided not to do any more tele serials at the moment. "I am just going to anchor a cricket talent hunt show called Cricket Stars, which will see me alongside cricket-greats like Kapil Dev, Sanjay Manjrekar and Ajay Jadeja. I'm very excited about this show especially because I am getting to interact yet again with Ajay with whom I had a great time during Jhalak Dikhla Jaa."

This reminds us who else, but Mandira Bedi. Ask Shveta if she is contemplating to step into Mandira's shoes and she gets irked. "I wouldn't like anyone to make such comparisons though I understand that they are bound to happen since she has pioneered a trend of women commentators in tele-cricket. But though I respect her for her work, I would want to be known and respected for mine on an individual basis; for whatever I bring to the table. I have a fairly decent knowledge of cricket and will be anchoring the show in my style and would like the audience to remember me for that rather than looking upon me as a clone of Mandira's."

Remember Shveta in "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa"? She was not only praised immensely for her dancing skills in that show, but Sanjay Leela Bhansali had even promised to offer her a film! Is anything happening on this front? "Jhalak... has opened up a lot of avenues for me. I am performing at many places here and abroad in stage shows. As for the film, currently Sanjay is busy with Saawariya but I'm sure he will call upon me when he has a good role for me in mind. I do want to make a mark in Bollywood and there are some offers in the pipeline, but nothing concrete that I can talk about."

Finally we ask her about her wedding with Rodney Barnes, but the lady is not willing to make any commitment on this. "We are very happy with the status of our relationship right now. We are living together and are comfortable enough with the arrangement to feel the need to get married. But if we plan it, we will not hide it. As of now, the only plans we are busy making are for the upcoming Valentine's Day. This is the first year ever since we met that I'm in town for the V-Day and we intend to make the most of it!," is all that she discloses.

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