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'That's it! I can't look any prettier than this."

It's a bit unfair that actor Shefali Shah looks far more prettier face-to-face than on screen. Soft brown hair rims an oval face that looks much younger than what has been seen in her film or television roles.

She wore no make up till five minutes ago, when she casually walked into a bungalow meant for television shoots, in a much-worn track pant with chocolate smeared on her butt.

"That's my children and about being a mom," she grinned. Sitting before a mirror with a unruly bag of cosmetics -- where finding the right lipstick is like looking for a cell phone at the bottom of a grocery bag -- she readied herself for a television interview in the run-up to her next release, Waqt.

Paired opposite Amitabh Bachchan, and appearing after a four-year break since her brilliant performance as a tormented sexually abused Riya in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, she plays Bachchan's wife and mother to Akshay Kumar, who probably is older than her in real life.

The film is directed by her husband Vipul Amrutlal Shah but she clarifies that is not why she landed the role. "What's interesting is that Amitji suggested my name. Vipul was the one who said 'I can't cast Shefali.' Amitji said, 'At least audition her, do a photo shoot.' He thought I can carry it off. That's how I landed this role."

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Text: Archana Masih; Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

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