Shilpa - a blessing in disguise for Deols

May 1, 2007 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 2 (IANS) After "Naksha" and "Big Brother", Sunny Deol's box office standing isn't quite in the pink of health. However, his career seems to have got an unexpected boost in the arm, thanks to Shilpa Shetty whose presence in the Deols' family film "Apne" has made it a source of keen interest worldwide.

The film directed by Anil Sharma stars all the three Deols - Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby.

"To me 'Apne' is as precious as 'Metro', which opens in May. I had signed Anilji's film earlier because I loved the idea of being paired with Sunny in a film that stars all the three Deols. If 'Metro' comes in May, 'Apne' follows in June. So yeah, I'm tense about both releases," Shilpa told IANS.

When reminded about Sunny and Sharma's recent track record, Shilpa jumps to their defence.

"Everyone goes through a lean patch. So did I before 'Big Brother'. Don't forget Anilji made 'Gadar', one of the biggest hits ever. I'm sure 'Apne' will be massive."

Inspired by the all-out international publicity being given to the other Shilpa starrer "Metro", the producers of "Apne" are planning a huge Shilpa-centric release abroad.

"At home, bringing the three Deols would be considered big news. But overseas, it's Shilpa who gives 'Apne' that extra spin," said a source.

Isn't it ironical that a film designed as a vehicle to bring together two generations of the Deols is getting heftier global attention because of its leading lady?

"And why just Shilpa? Even Katrina Kaif is seen as a USP in 'Apne' after 'Namastey London', which is a big hit abroad," added the source.

Apparently, with the additional interest the film has invoked overseas, Sharma hopes to make a keen comeback.

"Normally, Sunny's films are very strong in north India and rather weak overseas. Thanks to Shilpa and 'Big Brother' Sharma, who has been going through a crazily lean patch, has found a reason to feel hopeful," said the source.

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