Interesting Facts and Figures: Shilpa Shetty

By Bureau News, Gaea News Network
Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shilpa Shetty; born 8 June 1975, is an Indian film actress and model. 

Since making her debut in the film Baazigar (1993), she has appeared in nearly 40 Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada language films, her first leading role being in the 1994 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.

Shetty has been embroiled in various controversies including suspected Mafia links. 

In 2006 she was issued with a warrant on charges of obscenity. 

After taking part in the British Celebrity Big Brother 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.

Shilpa Shetty was born in a traditional close-knit family in Mangalore that hails from the matrilineal Bunt community.

She is the eldest daughter of Surendra and Sunanda Shetty, manufacturers of tamper-proof caps for the pharmaceutical industry. 

Her native language is Tulu although she speaks several other languages at differing levels, including English, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Telugu, Urdu and basic French.

In Mumbai, she attended St. Anthony Girls’ High School in Chembur, and later attended Podar College in Matunga. 

A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, she is also into sports, was the captain of the volleyball team in school, has earned a black belt in Karate and is currently a dancesport expert and enthusiast.

Shetty currently lives in Mumbai with her parents and younger sister Shamita Shetty, who is also a Bollywood actress. They worked together once in the film Fareb (2005). 

At 5 ft 10 inches (178 cm), Shilpa Shetty is among the tallest actresses in Bollywood. 

It was revealed on 29 March 2009, that Shilpa has recently purchased a house on Saint George’s Hill in Surrey, England with her boyfriend Raj Kundra

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.

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. 

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 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.

In February 2009 Shilpa and her business partner Raj Kundra became part owners of the Indian Premier League franchise cricket team Rajasthan Royals (current champions) by paying approximately US $15.4 million for a 11.7% stake.

Shetty is a long-time PETA supporter and has assisted the campaign by posing for photographs in a figure-hugging tiger costume.

She previously dated Akshay Kumar, but the couple broke up in 2000 after he started dating Shetty’s friend and fellow actress Twinkle Khanna after a previous indiscretion, which led to Shetty’s successful suing of Stardust Magazine for publishing a "damaging" report about the affair.

In May 2003 a controversy erupted over alleged links between Shetty’s parents and the Indian underworld. The Surat police issued arrest warrants against her parents on charges of extortion.

In April 2006, a Madurai court issued non-bailable warrants against Shetty and Reema Sen for "posing in an obscene manner" in photographs published by a Tamil newspaper.

On April 15, 2007, Richard Gere kissed Shetty on the cheek several times in jest during an AIDS-awareness event. The kiss, considered an attack on India’s cultural and moral values, prompted protesters - alleged members of the extremist Hindu group Shiv Sena - to beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks.

On April 26, 2007, an Indian court in Rajasthan issued a warrant for Shetty and Gere’s arrest.


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