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Who bumped off Payal Rohatgi?

Last updated on: August 20, 2009 

Who bumped off Payal Rohatgi?

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A Ganesh Nadar

Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is what Malabar Hills is to Mumbai -- a very rich locality. That is where Payal Rohatgi was born.

She graduated as a Computer Engineer from Ahmedabad and would have become a software engineer in the Silicon Valley, if fate had not willed otherwise. She was one of the finalists of the Miss India pageant in 2000. She bagged the Miss Tourism World title at Medellin, Columbia the next year.

She went on to do ads for Perk, Amul and Nirma. That was simply a stepping stone to Bollywood.

Many films later, Payal became a household name after her stint in Bigg Boss, especially her on-air romance with housemate Rahul Mahajan. 

She is all set to enter our homes once again with her new TV series, Unit 9, a thriller. Directed by Anubhav Sinha, the 10-episode series will be set in a house similar to Bigg Boss. The show is a murder mystery, investigating the murder of Payal's character. It will go on air next month on Sahara One.


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Besides the series, Payal has also started shooting for a film based on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. She is playing a television journalist.

"The film is a serious one about the tragedy," she explains. "It is not a spoof on any TV journalist. It shows the good and bad side of my character. That was a time of great emotional upheaval. People were very upset when they saw the Taj being attacked. We are trying to make a movie portraying what happened correctly."

There may also be a Russian film on the anvil.


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Ask Payal about the progression from ads to movies and she says, "In ads, you have to smile and look pretty to deliver the goods. Movies are much more. There is dialogue, drama, acting, dance and a wide variety of emotions. It gives you a bigger canvas to exhibit your talents and needs a lot more hard work."

Payal recalls her favourite ads -- the one with Shahenshah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan and another with the Sultan of Multan, Virendra Sehwag. She says that working with them was a great experience.

"They are both successful," she says. "They have worked hard to get where they are. They are very humble. I guess humility comes when you work hard to become a success. They are great people and I am happy to have worked with them."


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When she is not acting, Payal helps out with an NGO called Jeevan Dhara. The NGO works for the rehabilitation of drug abuse victims.

"Everybody talks about drug abuse, child labourers and various other social evils but nobody does anything," she says. "Earlier they [the NGO] were based in Colaba [in South Mumbai] and I could go often. Now they have shifted to Thane so I go when I have the time."

When you refer to her engineering degree, she explains, "Knowledge never goes to waste. When I wanted to start my own website, that helped a lot," she says. "I sat down with a creative team and told them what I wanted and how I wanted it. Globosports digital handles my website and it is very beautiful."


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With a sizzling body that most people could kill for, it is amazing that Payal eats very well. She does not preach low fats or calories.

"I need the energy, so I eat well. If I didn't, I would probably disappear," she says.

Earlier, she used to keep fit by doing yoga. Now it's, hold your breath, kick boxing! That apparently is the best cardio exercise, which she says keeps her slim and fit.


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