Shilpa-the big Don offends Shilpa, the actress

MUMBAI: Shilpa Shetty is quite perturbed that the makers of her 2005 superhit Kannada film Auto Shankar are all set to release a dubbed Hindi version called Shilpa – The Big Don in the first week of January 2008 all over the country, without her knowledge and consent.

"Shilpa was shocked to see posters and advertisements of the film published in film trade magazines some time ago, as she wasn‘t even aware that the film had been dubbed," said her publicist Dale Bhagwagar.

"What stunned her more was the title. Yes, she does play a ‘lady Don‘ in the film. In fact, during the film‘s release two years ago, she had even dubbed her character as ‘an ode to Gabbar Singh.‘ But Shilpa – The Big Don seems to be just an amusing attempt to cash in on her Big Brother win," Bhagwagar added.

The celebrity publicist said, "South movies are cool but they have a specific flavour, which is quite different from Hindi cinema. When the language changes a lot of nuances in a film can change the context. This might seem extremely awkward and could turn into an uneasy development for Shilpa."

To boot it all, the dubbed version even has two songs devoted to Shilpa.

Will she press charges in court to stop the release of the film? Bhagwagar doesn‘t think that would be the right thing to do. "The re-release could be embarrassing, but from a PR point of view, I would not advice Shilpa to stop her own film."

Along with Shilpa, the Kannada blockbuster directed by D. Rajendar Babu, stars South superstar Upendra along with actresses Radhika and Sudharani. The movie was filmed at a variety of locations including Austria, Finland, the Bangalore Palace and the Mysore Lamps Factory.

It is the story of an autorickshaw driver called Shankar who belongs to the middle-class section of the society. Shilpa, who plays a money-lender and a lady Don, is portrayed as a boorish character. She is unscrupulous in recovering loans given to the poor and designs crude methods for recovery. However, she comes to learn a lesson that reforms her attitude. She makes amends and falls in love with Shankar.

"Shilpa‘s role in the film earned her the nickname ‘The new Gabbar Singh‘ in the South," said Bhagwagar. The movie also sparked off a controversy regarding a sensuous photograph. A Madurai-based lawyer had filed an obscenity case against Shetty, calling the photo vulgar.

The makers have even put up a website after the title of the dubbed version of the film.

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