From 'item' girl, Kashmira Shah to turn Hollywood producer

Just as it seemed that Kashmira Shah wanted to do nothing else but play negative roles and dance in films, she is set to turn Hollywood producer.

Kashmira, who got married in 2001 to American investment banker Brad Listermann whom she first met on the Internet, will now play producer in the Hollywood production that will be shot in Bollywood.

To be produced by Dream Team Pictures, it is going to be a love story with two pairs of lovers with the plot unfolding at the sets of a Bollywood film.

"It would show India, especially Bollywood, through the eyes of a foreigner," said Kashmira. The willowy actress who flits between Mumbai and Palm Springs was in Kathmandu to do some dance numbers at the Dabur Anmol Motion Picture Awards ceremony.

Besides being the producer, she is also going to be one of the four lovers in the story that has been scripted by her husband.

From the "item" girl in the Sunjay Dutt-starrer "Vastav", where her dance number was acknowledged to be a big hit, Kashmira became Bollywood's hope for the bad babe with machismo.

With her performance as a bandit's equally vicious moll in Ram Gopal Varma's "Jungle", she stole the thunder from leading lady Urmila Matondkar.

Now she is set for her new role.

Kashmira is returning to Bollywood after almost two years' hibernation.
She says she had been waiting for the right role.

"I don't mind doing negative roles because if there are no negative characters, how will people learn to distinguish between good and evil," she said.

"But I was looking for a meaty role, a woman-oriented story, a film I would enjoy doing. Indian women don't have much to do in Bollywood films."

However, she notes with approval that there has been one big change since the time she started acting.

"Earlier, a married heroine was not accepted," she said. "Look at Zeenat Aman, Jaya Bhaduri, Hema Malini. All of them stopped acting, at least for several years after they got married.

"But over the years the industry has changed and I am thankful to the viewers for accepting married heroines. In one year, eight of us got married - starting from me to Twinkle Khanna, Sonali Bendre, Kajol and Madhuri Dixit."

Ironically, Kashmira has been playing wives since practically the time she made her debut.

Her first art film was Rajat Kapur's "Private Detective", in which she played an unfaithful wife tailed by private eye Naseeruddin Shah. Then came "Yes Boss", the film where she played Aditya Panscholi's wife.

But in her forthcoming films, Kashmira has shed the wifely image, flitting from the bad babe role again to a woman of substance.

In "Ishq Kayamat", to be released in February, she plays a blackmailer who targets cheating wives. Then there is a film produced by Mahesh Bhatt as well as a thriller, "Tauba Tauba", for which she'll start shooting in February.

However, she is pinning her hopes on "Revathi", directed by Farooq Siddiqi, an unusual story by Bollywood standards.

In it, she plays a young ragpicker from Hyderabad who comes in Mumbai in search of a livelihood, seething with resentment at her parents for having denied her an education.