Shilpa Shetty will be playing Odissi danseuse Protima Bedi in an Indo-Chinese production due to hit the screens next year. A source explained, “In terms of body language and facial resemblance, Shilpa came closest to Protima Bedi. Also the people behind the project felt that Shilpa has tremendous untapped potential and hence was apt to play the role.”
The film will be in English and directed by Sarath Kumar. Protima led a wild, exciting and tragic life, which will tax the depth of Shilpa’s acting to the limit. Protima first caught the eye, so to speak, when she was cautioned for streaking — running naked — during the launch of the movie magazine Cineblitz in 1974. She was already working as a model in Mumbai at that stage but a year later an event took place that changed her life. She saw a performance of Odissi — classical Indian dance — and was entranced. Working twelve hours a day, she learned the discipline of the dance and transformed herself from golden-streaked wild child to Gauri Maa as she was known to her disciples.
Protima established the dance academy-village of Nrityagam which became a cultural centre. She was the first wife of Kabir Bedi and is the mother of Pooja Bedi. She disappeared during a landslide on a Himalayan pilgrimage at the age of forty in 1998.
Shilpa Shetty will next be seen in an item number in Dostana on November 14th . Recently, she came to the rescue of a cameraman who had his pocket picked while filming an interview with her. Spontaneously, she insisted that he take some money off her to replace what was stolen. “I was not ready to take the money from her,” he said. “She forced me to do so. I have been shooting interviews of stars for four years now yet I found the whole thing very touching.”
It’s easy to see why Shilpa is probably the UK’s best-loved Bollywood actress.