Shilpa Shetty on the sets of Nach Baliye 5 in March 2013
8 June 1975 
Mangalore, Karnataka, India
|Spouse(s)||Raj Kundra (2009–present)|
Shilpa Shetty (born June 8, 1975) is an Indian film actress and model. Since making her debut in the film Baazigar (1993), she has appeared in nearly 40 Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films, her first leading role being in the 1994 film Aag. Her performances in Dhadkan (2000) and Rishtey (2002) were appreciated, while her portrayal of an AIDS patient in Phir Milenge (2004) won her many accolades. Her younger sister Shamita Shetty is also a Bollywood film actress.
After taking part in the British Celebrity Big Brother 5 TV show in 2007, Shetty was crowned the winner with 63% of the final vote, after an international racism controversy involving her and fellow contestants Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd. This was followed by a re-establishment of her status in the film industry in 2007 when she appeared in two successive movies, Life in a... Metro and Apne, with her performance in the former drawing positive reviews.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Acting career
- 3 Other projects
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Filmography
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Shilpa Shetty was born in a traditional family in Mangalore that hails from the Bunt community. She is the elder daughter of Surendra and Sunanda Shetty, manufacturers of tamper-proof caps for the pharmaceutical industry, In Mumbai, she attended St. Anthony Girls' High School in Chembur, and later attended Podar College in Matunga. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, she was also into sports and was the captain of the volleyball team in schools. She has a black belt in karate and is currently a dancesport expert and enthusiast. Shetty's younger sister Shamita Shetty is also a Bollywood actress. They worked together once in the film Fareb (2005).
1993–1994: Early hits
Shetty started her career by modelling for Limca in 1991 at age 16 and made her film debut in 1993 with Baazigar, portraying a woman murdered by her psychopathic boyfriend. Shetty took the supporting role of Seema, co-starring alongside Shahrukh Khan and Kajol; the film was a major success and earned her a nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.
Her first leading role was in the film Aag in 1994, which was averagely received at the box office. She had a hit that same year with the film Main Khiladi Tu Anari opposite Akshay Kumar. This was followed by many films which were average to poor performers at the box office. Shetty starred in another big film that year, Aao Pyaar Karen.
1995–1999: Box office failures
In 1995, Shetty starred in Hathkadi, where she was working alongside actors such as Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Madhoo, but they failed at the box office. She made her Tamil film debut with the 1996 released Mr. Romeo alongside actors Prabhu Deva and Madhoo. The film was a sleeper musical hit at the box office. 1997 was one of her busiest years: she appeared in six different films, beginning with the Telugu language film Veedevadandi Babu. Her first major Bollywood film of that year was the action thriller Auzaar. Shilpa portrayed the character of Prathna Thakur alongside actors Salman Khan and Sanjay Kapoor. In 1998, she had one release, Pardesi Babu, for which she received critical acclaim and won the Bollywood Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress.
2000–2007: Critical acclaim and box office success
In 2000, Shetty received much acclaim for her role in Dhadkan which earned reasonable takings at the Indian box office. She received several nominations under the Best Actress category in award ceremonies. She would later go on to star with Anil Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor in the film Rishtey (2002). Her comic performance as an eccentric fisherwoman was appreciated and she received a nomination under the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award category and nominations for Best Comedian as well.
2004 was a good year for Shetty with the release of Garv in which she portrayed a Muslim orphan and disillusioned table dancer starring opposite Salman Khan. According to Shetty, she chose to do the film because she liked the subject. The film was a cop drama. She received much acclaim for her performance in Phir Milenge, where she made a sensitive portrayal of a successful city high-flyer who contracts HIV from unprotected sex and becomes a social outcast as a result. The film, based on 1993's Philadelphia, was perceived to have tackled a social taboo as yet unaddressed by Bollywood. The film earned Shetty a Filmfare Best Actress nomination, and provided an impetus for her HIV-related charity work (see below). Film critic Taran Adarsh from indiaFM noted, "Phir Milenge belongs to Shilpa Shetty completely. She delivers, what can be rightly called, the performance of her career. The viewer feels and empathises with the character mainly because of her effective portrayal. She conveys the pain and the emotional upheaval through her expressive eyes, making it amongst the most memorable performances the year has seen so far." This marked a break from the previous trend of superficial song-and-dance items in favour of roles which have a greater depth of character, exemplified by her film Dus (2005), an action thriller. Although it received average returns at the box office, Shetty stated that she had taken the role to reinvent herself by portraying the rather unconventional character of an anti-terrorist squad member.
In 2005, Shetty starred opposite South Indian Superstar Upendra in the Kannada film Auto Shankar. The film was a major box office success and it earned her the name "The Gabbar Singh of the South" due to her villainous role in the film. The same year, she starred with her sister in the film Fareb. Shilpa had one release in 2006, the much delayed Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar. The film was a box office flop, but she got good reviews for her role as a not entirely likeable wife. In 2006, she was a judge alongside Farah Khan & Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, a Sony Entertainment Television dance show based on the original UK show Strictly Come Dancing.
2007 proved to be Shetty's most successful year at the box office so far. Her first release, Life in a... Metro, won a significant reception and became the first Bollywood movie to premiere at Leicester Square. The film performed well at the box office and was declared a semi-hit within three weeks. Additionally, the film was critically acclaimed and Shetty's performance was appreciated, with Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN writing, "It's a terrific performance and unquestionably Shilpa's best to date." Her second release, alongside three Deols (Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby), the drama Apne, was also a box office success.
Celebrity Big Brother
Shetty was a contestant and the winner of Celebrity Big Brother UK. and was the first Indian celebrity included in the Celebrity version. Reportedly paid Rs.31.5 m (£367,500 GBP) for her participation, she said to presenter Davina McCall, "I just want every Indian to be extremely proud that I'm in here". As for her participation, she stated: "I have zero expectations. The only thing I really hope to keep is my self-respect and my dignity." Her sister Shamita told The Times of India that this "is the boldest decision Shilpa has taken hitherto."
During her time, Shetty instructed fellow housemates Carole Malone and Ken Russell in meditation, and flirted with Dirk Benedict but tempers started to fray by Day 7 as a clique formed in the house disapproving of Shilpa's presence. Following a worldwide controversy that publicised her as a target of racist bullying within the house, Shetty won the contest after gaining 63% of the public vote and described the experience as "incredible and overwhelming". She further thanked the public for "a fantastic opportunity to make my country proud".
Post Celebrity Big Brother
In February 2007, Shetty attended a reception at the House of Commons by invitation of Keith Vaz MP to meet with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. She was also invited to meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Marlborough House in London in March 2007. During an interview on This Morning, Shetty confirmed that she had been asked to act in the British EastEnders soap opera, and turned it down as it would mean all her other arrangements would have to go on hold.
She was the subject of a Sky One documentary entitled The Real Shilpa Shetty, which was produced by British television production company Twofour. The large number of commercial offers that Shilpa received after winning Celebrity Big Brother themselves became reason for controversy with an increasing number of accusations about her riding the 'racism' wave to commercial gain. She was on the cover of the first issue of OK! Magazine to be sold in India.
In early September 2007 she modelled at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, which also displayed some famous Bollywood actresses including Lara Dutta and Celina Jaitly. In October 2007, Shilpa starred in a musical titled Miss Bollywood. On her agenda next is a cookery book titled Soul Curry and the role of Sita in Uru Patel's international venture Hanuman.
In August 2008, Shetty began hosting the second season of Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother. Controversially, Jade Goody was one of the initial housemates. Goody left the Bigg Boss House early in the series after receiving news that she had cervical cancer, of which she later died on 22 March 2009.
Indian Premier League
In February 2006 Shetty lent support to a BBC World Service Trust television show designed to tackle the problem of HIV-AIDS in India. The project, which also involved other celebrities Vivek Oberoi, Dia Mirza, and Raveena Tandon in separate episodes, featured Shetty as she shadowed a young achiever whose work involved raising awareness about the condition. According to reports, she participated in order to show solidarity with HIV-AIDS sufferers.
The issue is particularly close to Shetty's heart as she had portrayed an HIV-positive sufferer in her 2004 movie Phir Milenge. Speaking about the movie and HIV in general, Shetty said: "Why not a film on HIV positive patients? It is a social stigma in our society. We made this film to highlight this problem ... This film will bring about a social awareness about AIDS in our country. It is high time we talked about this in our society".
In March 2006 various sources reported Shetty's joining PETA as part of an advertising campaign against the use of wild animals in circuses. According to a PETA India press release, Shetty is a long-time PETA supporter and has assisted the campaign by posing for photographs in a figure-hugging tiger costume. She explained that her crouching in a cage was uncomfortable during the photoshoot, but that her discomfort was insignificant compared to the pain suffered by the creatures. "These once dignified animals only leave their cages, which are barely larger than the size of their bodies, for a few minutes each day to be forced into the ring to perform tricks which make no sense and are upsetting to them. The best way to help animals suffering in circuses is to boycott the circus".
Shetty revealed in a later interview that she felt strongly about this cause and that she was appalled to hear of the cruel treatment suffered by such animals. "I thought I should stop that. If I can make a little difference to their lives, why not go for it?"
Nach Baliye 5
Shetty was one of the three judges for popular Indian dance TV show Nach Baliye 5. The show started in late December 2012.
In April 2006, a Madurai court issued non-bailable warrants against Shetty and Reemma Sen for "posing in an obscene manner" in photographs published by a Tamil newspaper. The report stated that the two actresses had failed to comply with earlier summons for the same reason, hence the issuance of the warrants. The petitioner submitted that the paper had published "very sexy blow-ups and medium blow-ups" in its December 2005 and January 2006 issues, and alleged that these violated the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986, Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1956, and the Indian Penal Code Section 292 (Sale of Obscene Books). The petitioner further demanded that the images be confiscated under the terms of the Press and Registration of Book Act 1867.
Shetty responded that she had not received any court summons and also discounted the charges. She further claimed that the pictures were freeze-frame shots from a recent movie that only exposed her navel. "As far as my photographs go, what is obscene about it? If navel-showing is obscenity, then our traditional Indian outfit – the traditional sari – should be banned in the first place."
In January 2007 outgoing Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal confirmed that Shetty had written to him requesting that he enunciate guidelines against frivolous lawsuits against artists, but that he had refused her plea on the grounds that she should have filed a formal petition instead of writing a letter.
Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy
During her time on Celebrity Big Brother, Shetty was the target of racism and bullying by other housemates, chiefly by Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd. After mocking the east London dialect of Jade Goody's mother, who mispronounced her name as 'Shiwpa', Shetty was mocked for her Indian accent and was branded "The Indian" and a "dog". Disparaging conversations took place among the other housemates about Indian eating habits, and Shetty's cooking was criticised for giving O'Meara diarrhoea. After Shetty attempted to dispose of left-over chicken soup down the toilet and caused a blockage, Jack Tweed suggested that she should pick the bones out with her teeth and allegedly referred to her as a "fucking Paki", although show producers denied this and stated that the word used was "cunt". During a fierce argument, Goody told Shetty that she needed to "spend a day in the slums", although the media falsely reported this as "go back to the slums". Claiming that she did not know Shilpa's surname, Jade referred to her as "Shilpa Fuckawallah", "Shilpa Durupa", and "Shilpa Poppadom", later claiming that they were non-racist references to Indian food. Lloyd had opined that Shetty's English-speaking skills were lacking and verbally indicated her desire that Shetty would "fuck off home". Shetty had been reduced to tears on several occasions, confiding to fellow housemate Ian Watkins: "I feel like I'm losing my dignity."
Shetty speculated that she might be a victim of racism, but later retracted it by claiming: "People say things in anger." A record 40,000 complaints were received jointly by OFCOM and Channel 4 about the treatment of Shetty, 30 of which were formally investigated by Hertfordshire police. Carphone Warehouse suspended its sponsorship of the show and Louise Burfitt-Dons, the founder of the Act Against Bullying charity, branded Jade Goody's behaviour as "unforgivable". The controversy reached the British Parliament as an early day motion in the House of Commons was tabled. The row then escalated into an international diplomatic incident after a formal complaint from Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma lodged with then British PM Tony Blair that threatened to sour relations and damage trade between the two countries. In the city of Patna in Bihar, India, angry protestors marched in the streets and burned effigies in protest of the show, terming it 'Bigot Brother'.
During a parliamentary Prime Minister's Question Time session Blair responded that "We should oppose racism in all its forms." Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was in India on a goodwill visit, condemned the controversy as "offensive" and the opposite of what Britain stood for: "I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance. Anything that detracts from that I condemn." In an official statement, Channel 4 denied that overt racial abuse or behaviour had been directed at Shetty, but acknowledged that a "cultural and class clash" was responsible for the disputes. After a thorough investigation, OFCOM made an unprecedented move and issued a ruling that Channel 4 were guilty of broadcasting potentially racist material, and required them to make multiple apologies on air during the next Big Brother season.
Richard Gere kissing incident
On 15 April 2007, Richard Gere hugged and forcefully kissed Shetty on the cheek during an AIDS-awareness event. The pair were appearing at a press conference in New Delhi as part of a campaign to preach safe sex to truck drivers in India and promote AIDS awareness. In response, a number of protesters, including alleged members of the extremist Hindu group Shiv Sena, beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks. The protests occurred in a variety of cities, including Varanasi, Bhopal, Kanpur, Indore, Delhi and Mumbai. Others set fire to glamour shots of Shetty. Some groups demanded an apology from her and threatened to ban her movies in the state. Shiv Sena leaders denied involvement in the protests, but Shiv Sena member of parliament Sanjay Raut observed that the protests are "just a manifestation of the anger of the general public" and that there was "nothing wrong with expressing contempt at such an act".
Shetty responded to these protests by saying, "I understand this (kissing) is his (Gere's) culture, not ours. But this was not a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such a manner. I struggle to understand these people's sentiments, but mainly I do not want a foreigner to take bad memories from here."
On 26 April 2007, an Indian court in Rajasthan issued a warrant for Shetty and Gere's arrest.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India subsequently dismissed the suit and suspended the arrest warrants. Gere has since expressed regret for causing any offence and Shetty has said, "so much has been blown out of proportion."
|1993||Baazigar||Seema Chopra||Hindi||Nominated—Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award|
|1994||Aao Pyaar Karen||Chhaya||Hindi|
|1994||Main Khiladi Tu Anari||Mona/Basanti||Hindi|
|1996||Mr. Romeo||Shilpa||Tamil||Dubbed into Hindi and Telugu as Mr. Romeo|
|1996||Sahasa Veerudu Sagara Kanya||Sona||Telugu||Dubbed into Hindi as Saagar Kanya|
|1997||Prithvi||Neha / Rashmi||Hindi||Twins Double role|
|1997||Zameer: The Awakening of a Soul||Roma Khurana||Hindi|
|1998||Pardesi Babu||Chinni Malhotra||Hindi|
|1999||Shool||Special appearance||Hindi||Item number|
|1999||Lal Baadshah||Lawyer's daughter||Hindi|
|2000||Kushi||Macarena||Tamil||Special appearance in an Item number|
|2001||Indian||Anjali Rajshekar Azad||Hindi|
|2001||Bhalevadivi Basu||Shilpa||Telugu||Dubbed into Hindi as Sherni Ka Shikaar|
|2001||Maduve Agona Baa||Preeti||Kannada|
|2002||Rishtey||Vaijanti||Hindi||Nominated—Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award|
|2002||Chor Machaaye Shor||Kaajal||Hindi|
|2002||Badhaai Ho Badhaai||Radha/Banto Betty||Hindi|
|2003||Darna Mana Hai||Gayathri||Hindi|
|2004||Phir Milenge||Tamanna Sahani||Hindi||Nominated—Filmfare Best Actress Award|
|2004||Garv: Pride and Honour||Jannat||Hindi|
|2005||Khamosh: Khauff Ki Raat||Sonia||Hindi|
|2005||Auto Shankar||Money Lender||Kannada|
|2006||Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar||Ahana||Hindi|
|2007||Life In A... Metro||Shikha||Hindi|
|2008||Cash||Hindi||Special appearance in the song "Mind Blowing Mahiya"|
|2007||Om Shanti Om||Herself||Hindi||Special appearance in the song "Deewangi Deewangi"|
|2008||Dostana||Hindi||Special appearance in the song "Shut Up & Bounce"|
|2010||The Desire||Gautami||Hindi, English, Chinese|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shilpa Shetty.|
- Shilpa Shetty at the Internet Movie Database
- Shilpa Shetty on Twitter
- Profile Page at BBC News
- Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra take newborn son home 25 May 2012
|Celebrity Big Brother UK Winner
Series 5 (2007)