Chinese,Indian film stars in shot

Somebody said superstar Xia Yu was the Shah Rukh Khan of China. Not true. Even though Xia is a big star in China, his films are huge hits, and most of them get dubbed in English and are released in international markets. Xia, however, hasn’t heard of SRK. “I’m sure he hasn’t heard of me as well,” said the Chinaman wryly. Fortunately, he has heard about Bollywood — “but I don’t know any stars” — because Xia is now acting in an Indo-China venture with our Shilpa Shetty. The film is titled Desire produced by Sharad Hegde. And, before the two stars met, they went on the net and did a search on each other.

Their first day on the sets in an Andheri film studio was eventful. Director R Sarath, in his wisdom, planned a romantic scene between the stranger actors. Xia was all gentlemanly courtesy. “She’s the most beautiful actress I’ve ever worked with,” he said of Shilpa. The Bollywood hottie blushed prettily and gushed, “Oh, so sweet, thank you...” To BT she said in an aside, “I’d heard he is one of China’s biggest superstars. I thought he would have airs. But he’s so humble and sweet, and a fantastic actor, he is amazing.” We asked, has an Indian actress ever been linked romantically to a Chinese actor?

Xia replied naughtily, “It’s a good beginning!”
Xia, who met Sarath at the Taiwan Film Festival, was told about the script for Desire. “We talked about it and I found him to be very talented. Besides, the story sounded good and I wanted to come to this mysterious place called India and see Bollywood,” the Chinese actor said. The same Sarath had been after Shilpa for a year-and-a-half with the script but she kept putting him off. “He was adamant. He had seen me perform in London at the Miss Bollywood concert and was sure that only I would be able to play the character Goutami in Desire who is an Odissi dancer. Later he told me he had got Xia on board, so I said ‘Great, let’s start work’,” revealed Shilpa.

That’s how they started. Xia plays a painter named Jai Leang. “My father is a painter and teaches Chinese art in Japan. I didn’t learn painting from him but now I wish I had,” he said. To Shilpa, he asked, “I heard you’re a very good dancer.” The actress laughed, “I try... but I’ve been a Bharatnatyam exponent since I was ten and now I’m playing an Odissi dancer... so I had to rehearse for this and that was difficult.” “Wow,” said Xia, “you’ve been a dancer before you became an actress?” Shilpa laughed again, “Yes, Bollywood is all about song and dance. Everybody has to dance even those who are bad dancers!” Xia looked amused. “I would never do a musical like that and fortunately I don’t have to do all that in this film,” he said. The wicked Shilpa suggested, “What if we have to do a romantic song where we go dancing around the trees in the garden...” He said with horror, “I’m sure I won’t do it!”

(The Times of India)

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