"I really don't know what is going wrong with my life. Sometimes I wonder if my stars are right or what? I don't know what I say or do to people to give them the wrong impression. I am shocked to hear so many negative things about myself."
(G Magazine)

While a BollyWHAT? favorite, Aftab Shivdasani's debut vehicle, Mast, was a resounding flop at the box office. Since then, Aftab has been searching desperately for a film to show off his considerable acting talent -- and dealing with some harsh aspersions about his personality and physique on the way.

    Lately Aftab has been in the news for all the wrong reasons: a supposed liaison with Esha Deol, his Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche co-star (who is also half-sister to Sunny and Bobby Deol, and daughter of 70s superstar Hema Malini). He denies the affair, protesting they are just good friends, but others look to the timing of his break-up with longstanding girlfriend Jumana and wonder if there isn't a connection.

    Aftab argues, "That's not true. My relationship with Jumana didn't work. I'm not about to discuss what happened and why it happened because it's too private... I have spoken about my relationship just once and I still regret it." (Cineblitz, Mar. 2002) Elsewhere he muses, "It's because I have been projected in such negative light that I have become so protective and defensive about myself. I am not interested in reacting to rumors. I want people to take me seriously and to appreciate me for my work. I'm not here for frivolous reasons or to have fun. I'm here for business. I've maintained a dignified silence all this while. And I am not about to give in to anyone's pressure tactics. But surely there's no smoke without fire. Everyone says that. But I cannot sleep with three girls at one time. There are reasons why people have started talking this way about me, but I would rather not go into them. I am fed up of controversies." (G Magazine)

    Yet controversies follow him. "A certain section of people are trying to run me down all the time, that's why such utter rubbish is being written about me," he alleges in the March 2002 issue of Cineblitz. Yet Yukta Mookhey, the heroine of his forthcoming film, Pyaasa, has filed a very public complaint against both him and the director for "uncivilized" behavior. Aftab's attitude is resigned: "Look, I think she has a problem with the producer. I'm not aware of what it is. Since I'm not involved, I'd like to stay out of a controversy. We shared a strictly formal relationship on the sets. I have nothing against her." (Filmfare, Jan 2002)

   However, the producer of Pyaasa, Ramesh Sharma (no Mookhey fan himself), has a very different story.  In the March 2002 issue of Cineblitz, he relates an incident on the set: "Apparently in a confrontation scene between them, the camera was to pan on Aftab after Yukta finished her dialogue. Aftab requested Yukta to repeat her dialogue so that he could react better. However she rudely refused saying 'Why should I? Make an assistant stand in my place and give you the cue.' ...Aftab then apparently went over to Yukta's mother to request her to drill some sense into her daughter. Seeing this Yukta allegedly yelled 'Who are you, you b****** to talk to my mother?' At that point Aftab too lost his head and retorted, 'You are a b****!' And they continued to have a massive showdown right there on my set!"

    Yet Mookhey is not the only co-star rumored to dislike him. Allegedly he has also encountered problems with Arjun Rampal, Saif Ali Khan, and Fardeen Khan. In the January 2002 issue of Filmfare Magazine, he sets the record straight: "I'm not a friendly guy. If I'm not comfortable with someone, I build an invisible wall around me...The so- called rift with Arjun was media created. They said I was upset because he was more prominent in the publicity of Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat. Not true... I share a cordial relationship with Saif, Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty. Fardeen's the only one I've really struck a rapport with. My not getting along well with my colleagues is just a myth."

    In G Magazine he elaborates on the rumored Arjun Rampal rift: "I knew from day one that Pyar Ishq... was an Arjun Rampal film. But there was no reason for me to say this before the film's release. That would have created unnecessary pressure for Arjun. The point is not to malign one's co-stars but to help the film to do well. Why should I let personal differences play into professional life and ruin the film? I was narrated a certain role for Pyar Ishq... which I accepted and performed to the best of my ability. No injustice was done to me at all. I did not sign the film thinking I would patao Rajiv into giving me a better role. We went by the demands of the script."

In case he didn't already have enough to worry about, the press also likes to harass him regarding his weight. G Magazine didn't put it gently when interviewing him regarding an upcoming film:

Q:  Your flabby physique has been the subject of much criticism. Does that not put you at a disadvantage vis-a-vis your co-stars in the film, Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty?
A:   Well, I am working on my body and trying to lose weight. I have a natural tendency to put on weight so I have to be extra careful. Now I am trying to tone down and control my diet. Food is my biggest temptation. I love junk food and Thai dishes, but now I stick to fruit and nutritious stuff. I have already lost five kilos, so things are improving steadily. Hopefully people who think I am flabby might change their minds.

   And here we were thinking he looked just right. Shows how much us American girls know.

Aftab Shivdasani

Aftab Shivdasani
born: June 25, 1978
height: up there

1987 Mr. India
1989 Chaalbaaz
1999 Mast
2001 Kasoor*
2001 Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe
2001 Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega*
2001 Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat
2002 Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai
2002 Awaara Paagal Deewana
2002 Jaani Dushman
2002 Pyaasa
2003 Darna Mana Hai*
2003 Hungama
2003 Footpath
2004 Masti
2004 Muskaan
2004 Shukriya
2004 Suno Sasurjee
* acclaimed performance

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