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Bollywood's underworld connection scared off Sakshi
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Mumbai, Nov 9 (IANS) Popular Kannada and Telugu actress Sakshi Shivanand, who entered Bollywood with Anubhav Sinha’s "Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai", says she left Bollywood because of its underworld connection.

Three years ago Sakshi left behind a very lucrative career down south to try her hand in Hindi films. Among the movies she signed here was E. Niwas’ "Tum" with Saif Ali Khan and Aftab Shivdasani.

"I was terrified when the producer turned out to be from the underworld. I had everybody telling me that the underworld connection in Bollywood was very strong. I completely freaked out. I ran off to do Telugu and Kannada films," Sakshi told IANS.

"Then I had Shatrughan Sinha’s brother Lakhan calling me up to do a film with Govinda called ’Jahan Jaaeyega Hamen Paaeyega’. I knew Govinda. We kept running into each other in the south. I wanted to work with thorough professionals.

"I’ve done 40 films in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. They’re always so professional. I wanted to get into the groove in Bollywood through a similar set-up. I don’t regret doing ’Jahan Jaaeyega...’ Govinda still rocks," she added.

Directed by Janmendra Ahuja "Jahan Jaaeyega Hamen Paaeyega" didn’t help Sakshi’s career. The film came and went without leaving a trace.

Going back-and-forth between Bollywood and the south was okay with Sakshi. But she was so scared of the underworld’s involvement in the filmmaking business that she decided to stay away from the Hindi film industry.

"If I hadn’t freaked out after the brush with the underworld I’d have continued here. But I ran away from the Hindi industry. I was really shaken up. The ’Tum’ producer would call up...I had to change my number. No one knew where I was. That experience cost me my career in Hindi cinema. I had done Anubhav Sinha’s ’Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha’. Though it wasn’t a hit, I was noticed.

"I believe in destiny. I’ve a thriving career down south. Last year I got nominated for best actress in National Award for ’Sainika’ in Kannada. I was disqualified because I didn’t dub for the film.

"It’s strange, but in the south if you are glamorous, you aren’t expected to perform. I was slotted as a glam-girl in the south for quite a while."

The actress now wants to focus on her personal life.

"The last two years have made me realise that films are not everything. I need a life."

Asked about her alleged affair with top Kannada star Upendra, she said: "Oh that was just a joke between us. He proposed to me and I said no. He’s now married with two kids. I now feel safe working with him."

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