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She lives life with carefree abandon. But the 'bad-boy' phase in her relationships is over. Today, actor Shamita Shetty is secure in her own skin.
We get a fix on what relationship action makes Shamita fly, what she digs in a man, and why she rates spiritual growth in a potential suitor higher than sexy abs.
What attracts you in a man?
I have crossed that phase of being attracted to somebody because of his looks. Been there, done that. When I was in college, it was all about looks. With every relationship you understand what you are looking for, you learn from your mistakes and things that didn't work out.
I have realised that relationships that start out based on looks last only for a while. There has to be something that goes beyond the physicality.
But I still do have a thing for sexy abs and a tight butt.
What kind of a man would interest you?
Now, I need a man who is intelligent, has a passion for life, and is spiritually inclined. When both partners are spiritually inclined, it takes the relationship to another level. There is growth and satisfaction.
I wouldn't like to date a movie star. People throw themselves at movie stars -- I want to be the priority for my man. It has to be someone from outside the film industry. I would want him to encourage me with my work, love and respect me and be accepting and adjusting.
Today if I met a guy who is average in looks but can make me laugh, talk to me, make me want to continue talking to him, is classy, can flirt, then, that is the guy for me. I haven't come across anyone like that in a while.
'Bad-boys' bring with them a lot of baggage
If you found someone like that, would you make the first move?
I can't ever make the first move. I expect the guy to make the first move. I want to be treated like a queen, to be wooed and made to feel special.
Text: Priyanka Jain for The Man
Styling: Aesha Merchant
Hairstyling: Latika Jathar
Make-up: Sachin Shelar
Which Hollywood actor would you desire?
I think Hugh Jackman is fantastic. In my 'bad-boy phase', I was gaga over Collin Farrel. However, now I am looking for someone sober with a blend of the 'good-boy' with a touch of wickedness.
Tell us more about this 'bad-boy phase'.
[Smiles] Your energies attract what you want or the state of mind you are in. If you are a rebel and like to live life on the wild side, that's the kind of people you attract in your life. It's the law of nature.
And what phase are you in now?
My needs have changed. I feel happy with different things. I want stability now.
'Bad-boys' bring with them a lot of baggage. Earlier, partying or going to a disc was my idea of having fun. Now, I like to have dinner with friends who have known me for long.
Where would you want to go out on your first date with a guy?
It depends on what mood I am in. Dinner first would be fun. The teasing and flirting during early in the evening is enjoyable. Later, a lounge playing good music would be nice.
Simply staying at home, ordering in a good meal and watching a movie is romantic.
What turns you on?
Music is a big turn-on for me. The right music at the first meeting would be a lucky chance. I hate walking into a silent room. I like music in the background all the time.
You will always find music -- spiritual, ambient music or vintage rock -- on 24x7 in my room. I carry my ipod and speakers everywhere. If my guy were to share the same passion, it would be ideal.
Would you get naughty in a relationship?
I am always the naughty one in the relationship.
What naughty things you have done?
Umm... those can't be divulged. Let your imagination run wild! I have to beep out many things, as I live with my parents in India and can't imagine them reading those things about me.
How would you woo your man?
Dressing up is the first step to woo your man. On a first date, I would not wear anything sluttish or sexy. I would wear something to enhance the silhouette of my body, show enough cleavage, and a pair of high heels -- perhaps, a backless dress. I would dress so that he gets to see enough of my skin. That would be my way of enticing him and telling him I am yours.
There was this one time when I wore a satin, backless black dress. It looked transparent, and gave the illusion of bare skin. That did it for my date. His jaw fell, and it made me happy to see him like that.
Another time, I learnt to cook fish and prawn curry for a Punjabi boyfriend. He had a thing for south Indian food. Back then I surprised myself with the cooking. When he went out of my life, the cooking was out, too!
What do you find romantic?
I love holding hands. It makes me feel secure, taken care of. I like giving and receiving surprises.
I don't like too many rules in a relationship. I take things a day at a time, and being open about things we don't like. I can't keep a happy mask when I am in a bad mood.
Your sister has someone in her life and your friends have partners -- do you feel the urge to be in a relationship?
I do feel lonely. I haven't been in a relationship for two and half years now. I haven't even flirted with anyone for over a year. There was a time when I always had a man in my life. I kept jumping in and out of relationships and carried baggage from one relationship to the next. In the process I never understood what I really wanted from a man.
Do you now understand what you want from a relationship? Has it helped?
About a year ago the Oneness University came into my life. I began to understand what was happening and why certain patterns repeated themselves in my life. In my relationships, particularly with men, I was attracting the same kind of situations.
It took three months of working on myself to change the energies I have lived with for 30 years. Luckily, I had just this one thing to concentrate on. I focused only on this, to understand who I am and what my basic needs are.
Has it become more difficult for you to date a man now?
Yes. Now when a guy approaches me I immediately know its not happening. I don't want to waste my time when I know what the outcome is going to be. I lose interest and that is probably why I have been single for so long.
Does being single scare you?
Being single doesn't scare me -- it makes me feel lonely. When out with a bunch of people who are in relationships and couples are hugging and doing cute things together, you yearn for the same.
I know if I am going through this phase something great is in store for me. I have faith. God he has always given me what I wanted. Sometimes things come later than I expect, but eventually they do.
A man will eventually come and make all my dreams come true. And when he does, I am going to slap him for making me wait so long.
Is this whole realisation process also one of the reasons you aren't doing any films? Is S2 Productions re-launching you?
Right now I am sourcing scripts for my sister's company S2 Productions. S2 is not here to re-launch me. I have always had a gap of two years after every release, whether it was Zeher or Cash. There is a lot of work coming to me but I choose not to be a part of films that I am not convinced about.
I am not here to do 10 films a year. I am happy doing one film in two years. When I do a film, I am investing that part of my life in it and I am not willing to waste that time of my life working on something that does not make me happy. If I didn't believe in myself as an artiste and felt that this is what I deserve then I would have taken on whatever work came my way. I have been a part of this industry for nine years. I am not trying to be arrogant here but that's just the person I am.
What action movies do you like?
I love action movies like Transformers, Gladiator, The House of Flying Daggers and Jackie Chan films. I loved Tomb Raider. My favourite action actor is Angelina Jolie. She does justice to action roles.
Would you rather choose a sexy role or an action role?
I enjoyed playing a police inspector in Zeher with Emraan Hashmi. If I were to choose between wearing a bikini or a uniform, I would choose the uniform any day. There is something very sexy about women in uniform. They look tough on the exterior but vulnerable on the inside.
Which is your favourite show on television?
Friends is my all time favourite. I must have watched the series more than 20 times, and I remember all the dialogues by heart. Then there is Sex and the City. More recently I have been watching Grey's Anatomy and Heroes.
You don't watch any Indian shows?
I watch Splitsvilla. I find it entertaining. It's scary. All the women on the show are perpetually fighting and they are so bitchy. It's a fantastic reality television concept.
How do you take out time out of your busy schedule to watch these shows?
I record them on Tata Sky+ and watch them at my convenience.