The Makeover

Talk
Like most actors who are not stars, Shifaali Shah's laurels have rested on her oodles of talent alone. Glamour and head-turning looks have almost always belonged to skinny starry actresses in lead roles. But unlike those happy to have only their work speak for themselves, Shah decided to rewrite her destiny. She hit the gym, re-styled her wardrobe, fixed her skin and hair and now, leaves onlookers breathless.

Even at the poolside of the swishy JW Marriott hotel, where we meet the 36-year-old, heads turn as she glides on. Unassuming but loquacious, Shah today is donning her favourite pair of denims with a dressy black blouse. "White is my favourite colour, but black makes me look thin," she smiles, talking the talk, and goes on to tell us about the tough regimen she underwent to lose those extra kilos for her next Kuch Love Jaisa.

Shah's starred in path-breaking filmsó Gandhi My Father, Satya, Monsoon Wedding and The Last Learó but is now letting her cocktail dresses and flowing gowns do the talking. "I can wear these dresses now; then I didn't have the courage to wear clothes that did not suit my body type," she says.

Nonchalant about her new look and her new numerologically-inspired name, she is open enough to acknowledge the transformation. "For all these years I paid a lot of attention to my characters, not how I physically looked on screen," says the actress who has often played characters double her age. With Banali Shukla's Kuch Love Jaisa, her makeover paid off. "It's only in the last one year that I have begun to look slim. But I need to get slimmer," she says.

KLJ is the story of a harrowed housewife who gets a life. "The character required me to be slim, wear cute dresses and, most importantly, look fit," she exclaims. In order to get into the skin of her character, she started off with the workout sessions. "I did a lot of cardio and weight training and followed a strict diet, consisting of salads and soups." The pretty actress has now gone slow on her diet, butcontinues with her workout regime. "Workout has become a part of my routine. I do indulge in chocolate or a kori rotti (a Mangalorean chicken dish) sometimes. But my kids, Aryaman and Maurya and my husband Vipul (producer, Shah) are quick to remind me of my diet," she smiles.

She may have transformed into a style diva, but she keeps it real by shopping at Elco Arcade and Linking Road. "I don't see the point of spending huge sums on a Louis Vuitton Bag. I would rather buy lots of pretty things in as much money," she smiles.

She's also easy about her un-pretty past. "You name the size and I have it. At some point in my life, I have worn one of the sizes," she laughs, content that she's finally a Small.

With a producer husband, one would have expected the actress to do more films under their in-house banner. "I am happy that whatever I have achieved has been on my own. And I love acting far too much to grab just about any role that comes my way."

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