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How mom Sunanda came to Shilpa Shetty's rescue

Last updated on: September 21, 2011 18:55 IST

How mom Sunanda came to Shilpa Shetty's rescue

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Patcy N in Mumbai

Shilpa Shetty's latest film The Desire was stalled for a long time. Shooting began before she got married and now, two years on, the film will see the light of day thanks to her mother, Sunanda Shetty, who stepped in to produce the film.

The mother-daughter duo talks to Patcy N about the film, marriage, family and much more.

How did your mother become the producer of this film?

Shilpa: My mother became the producer when just 10 days of shooting remained. The film was stalled. My mother saw the film, liked it, and suggested she take it over because it was a good film and very little was left to be shot.

As producer and actor, we did not have much interaction because very few days of shooting were left. But she was a proper producer.

Once, I had returned from a holiday in London and Los Angeles and had not gotten time to work out. When my mom saw me she said, 'Shilpa, you have put on so much weight and you have to walk the red carpet in New York. Please lose some weight. I am telling you this as a producer.'

I couldn't believe that she actually said that to me. She was joking, of course, but my mother is very focused as a producer.


Image: Shilpa Shetty
Photographs: Adeel Halim / Reuters
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Sunanda: I liked the basic script of the film'

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Why did the film stall?

Sunanda: There was some difference of opinion and tiff between two producers plus there was a financial crisis so they could not complete the film. The film was stalled for a year and the director kept on telling me to take up the film. So I saw the film and read the script after which I thought of taking over the film.

What did you like about the film?

Sunanda: I liked the basic script of the film; it was a journey of a dancer and different desires of different people at different levels. This character (played by Shilpa) lives her character on her own.

Shilpa: I don't know why mom took over the film and what was her perception of the film, and why she thought of producing this film. I never asked her and never helped her in her work as a producer. She has done everything on her own.

She said a nice thing about the film. She has three sisters and she gave birth to two girls. She has always been pro-women and that is what she liked about the film.

Gautami, my character, lives her life on her own terms and she doesn't follow the beaten path of growing and getting married -- she doesn't believe in marriage, as her mother, played by Jaya Pradha, was an accomplished dancer who gave up her passion and her desire after her marriage. Even so, her husband leaves her. Because of this, Gauatmi does not believe in marriage and wants to be happy on her own. That was the one thing that my mother liked about the movie and why she opted to produce it.

Do you believe in the institution of marriage?

Shilpa: I totally believe in the institution of marriage. I just think that it depends a lot on your upbringing. My parents had a great marriage and I think that made me believe in this institution.


Image: Shilpa Shetty and Jaya Prada in The Desire

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Shilpa: My character is very cynical and I'm not'

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What are the differences between Gautami and Shilpa?

Shilpa: There are many differences. First is the marriage angle, then she does not believe in love, she thinks that every man likes her for her body and her beauty and her art but they don't love her on the whole. She thinks men are very predictable, she is very cynical and I am not. I believe in marriage.

Gauatmi is a very strong-willed woman with a lot of dignity, so that is the similarity. Gautami loves to dance even more than I do.

What is your take on love and marriage?

Sunanda: Of course, I believe in love and marriage, I have been married for 38 years, so obviously I believe in it.

 


Image: Shilpa Shetty
Photographs: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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'You have to constantly work on your marriage'

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Give us a few tips on marriage.

Sunanda: I cannot give tips on marriage.

Shilpa: Of course you can mom, I think you are superb.

Sunanda: I just believe that we have grown up like friends, we understand each other, our relation is give and take. Obviously, everything can't be the way you want it to be; you have to accept the other for what he or she is. That's why our marriage worked and we are friends today.


Image: A still from The Desire

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'You can't ever take your partner for granted'

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Shilpa: I have to say one thing about my mother: there was never a time my mom was dull. Both my parents were working. My dad started his business and my mom was completely involved in the business. She was like the rock of Gibraltar.

I remember my dad would come back from work and my mom was always so well dressed, full eye-liner, bindi in place, lipstick and all. I would think, why does she do so much make-up when she is sitting at home? I asked her once and she said 'I do it for myself and I have to look good for my husband.' That is so wonderful. We don't do this; we are always sitting around in pajamas!

You have to work on your marriage; you can't ever take your partner for granted. That is something that I have learnt from my mom.

Sunanda: Each person has a unique property. You cannot expect a baigan (brinjal) to behave like a bhindi (ladyfinger) or get gold to behave like silver or iron. Each one has its own properties and you have to understand and accept those qualities.


Image: Shilpa Shetty

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Shilpa: Marriage has made me happier

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How has marriage changed you?

Shilpa: Marriage has made me happier.

How was the experience of bringing up two daughters? Who was the naughtiest?

Sunanda: That was a great experience. My daughters are lovely and my life has been worth living because of the two.

Shilpa: Definitely Shamita was the naughtiest. I was like one mouse.

Sunanda: Sorry, I don't agree with that.

Shilpa: Really!

Sunanda: Shilpa learnt to talk when she was two but she started with full sentences and she has never stopped! She learnt to dance before she learnt to walk.


Image: A still from The Desire

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Shilpa: I am very happy doing a 9 to 5 job

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You think that men are more accepting of working women nowadays?

Shilpa: We are living in a more egalitarian world and men are definitely more accepting of working women and they like working women also. A woman who is sitting at home can really get on your nerves, so my husband is more than happy when I am working.

At the same time I don't think it would be fair to give your work more priority than your home, which is why I took a break from the movies. For me, setting up this house was my first and foremost priority. It is a huge house and that's why I took a long off. I was on the site every day.

I also think that being a homemaker is a full time job and I have great respect for women who are at home and dedicate their time to their family and their children and I honestly would like to be like that. That is one of the reasons why I don't want to take up that much work. I am very happy doing a 9 to 5 job. I make my calls, I go to my spa and see everything is all right. I live a very simple, normal life. If and when I have children, I really want to be like how my parents were for us -- they were there for us.


Image: A still from The Desire

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Sunanda: The press has got her married thrice and pregnant already

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There were rumours about you being pregnant; are you planning a baby?

Sunanda: The press has got her married thrice and pregnant already.

Shilpa: You have already named my kid too; now I will definitely announce when I am going to have the baby (laughs loudly).
You are asking about planning as though I am starting a production, this is not a film that I am making.

Whenever the baby has to happen, it will happen. It will be a very happy occasion. As and when I do go the family way, I will make an announcement. I can't hide it.


Image: A still from The Desire

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'The Pantene people had a mini heart attack when I told them I was to go bald'

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You had to go bald for this movie but you opted for a prosthesis. Why?

Shilpa: Because if I had gone bald, the Pantene people would be dead by now (laughs). Because I endorse the brand, I told them I would have to shave off my hair for Desire.

They got a mini heart attack and they told me not to do it. The prosthetic work is great. When my mom first saw me, she was stunned. How did you feel, mom?

Sunanda: I was in a state of shock because it was a serene and divine look and presence standing in front of me. I actually lost my speech for two minutes. I just couldn't take my eyes off her.

 


Image: A still from The Desire

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Shilpa: I don't want to work right now

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What are your forthcoming films? Are you signing more films?

Shilpa: Right now I don't want to work. I am very happy with what I am doing. I am going to do my own movies as producer so I am concentrating on that. I don't have time for movies or TV.

I want to concentrate on my family and things that I have not done in the past few years. I am happy just walking my dog in a garden. May be after a couple of years, I will act again.


Image: Shilpa Shetty with sister Shamita and mom Sunanda Shetty

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