Nervous Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has had it with kissing on stage in front of Indians - a peck on the cheek is about the furthest she will go, even in London, she has made it plain.
The last time she did it - during an AIDS awareness event in New Delhi with Hollywood star Richard Gere in April last year - furious extremists burnt her effigies and slapped court cases against her and Gere up and
down the country.
Tellingly, Shilpa invoked memories of the Indian intolerance during a dinner held Tuesday night to celebrate and encourage diversity in Britain.
Stepping in to help galvanise a charity auction - the item under hammer was dinner with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Wembley - Shilpa climbed up to the stage, took the mike and told her audience of
London glitterati: 'Come on people - this is for charity. The winner will get a kiss from me!'
With memories of the Indian protests yet to be erased, she then added quickly: 'But it will be on the cheek. I don't want my effigies burnt again.'
Starting off on a low 100 pounds, the prospects of dining with Brown and British sporting celebrities was moving at a slow canter before Shilpa stepped in with her incentive for the worthy cause of helping diabetes
testing in Britain.
After being stuck on the 5, 000 pounds-mark for some time, the bid was won by a young man who pledged 12, 500 pounds for the dinner - and also picked up three kisses on the cheek as a bargain.
Shilpa, who won the Global Diversity Award along with British racing driver Lewis Hamilton, met Prime Minister Brown earlier Tuesday when he congratulated her.
The auction raised over 63, 000 pounds for the Silver Star Appeal, a charity that runs mobile diabetes assessment units.
Tuesday night's auction saw a fierce bidding war for an item titled Bollywood Dreams - the heady chance to fly to India, meet superstar Amitabh Bachchan, bag a walk-on part in the movie 'Teen Patti' and be shown
around Bollywood City, to be followed by a calming tea with British High Commissioner to India Sir Richard Stagg in New Delhi.
It was won by Sri Prakash Lohia, chairperson of the Indian multinational group Indorama, who pledged 25, 000 pounds.
On frofessional front Shilpa is trying something totally new. This time hot Bolly diva Shilpa is back with her new passion for playing violin.
You must be thinking about the necessity of learning to play with strings and that's even at this age. But with Bollywood and its stars no age is late for learning as far as the subject is related to their new roles in films.
The same thing has happened to Shilpa also. Her role in Sunny Deol's The Man demands the actress to get well versed with the art of playing the violin. And that's the reason the actress has put aside her
indomitable will to pose for yoga for a few days.
A source close to the actress reveals, "Shilpa's character in The Man is of an actress. She is playing herself in the film. But her character also has an interesting side to her.
She is a violin expert just like pop
sensation Vanessa Mae. Her violin playing portions in the film have been styled like a Vanessa Mae video.
The film shows her as famous public figure with massive fan following. Shilpa wanted to lend
authenticity to her character and decided to learn to play the violin."
No doubt that Shilpa baby must have been putting her soul in learning at least to stand properly with the violin!
"Shilpa has been very sincere student, leaving her violin teacher impressed. Sunny Deol, too,
was impressed with Shilpa's professionalism and hard work when he came to know that she was actually taking lessons to play the violin just to be in sync with her character, " further adds the source.
Guess how the diva must be spending time with the violin. The source describes that Shilpa has appointed Sandeep, a violin instructor from Goa, to teach her the nitty-gritty of the art of playing the violin.
"Every evening after pack up, Shilpa takes two hour lessons on playing the violin. She is shaping up to be a very dedicated student, " describes the happy guru Sandeep.
And what the babe herself thinks about her new classes? "I have to play the violin in The Man. And to make it look real, I'm taking actual lessons.
Trust me, it's a very difficult job to play the violin. I'm having a
tough time. My instructor tells me that it's the most difficult instrument to play and he's quite right, " winks off Shilpa.
It's the love for things that makes it easy to get the things, whatever tough they may appear at the beginning.
Seeing Shilpa in love with the violin we can assume her upcoming avatar as the music diva Shilpa
who has once been a popular actor in Bollywood. Well, it's too far fetched, but what's wrong in guessing provided we have time to guess!