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Actress says she’s shocked

Mumbai, March 12: Nupur Mehta says she never thought the call that she “jokingly answered on Saturday” would turn into an international sports controversy.

Two days later on Monday morning, she recognised a screen grab from an item song she had done in the 2006 film Jo Bole So Nihaal as the picture that The Sunday Times, London, used along with a report on match-fixing.

Nupur does not like to be called a Bollywood “starlet” and prefers to introduce herself as Miss India finalist and an international model.

“Not just a model, I see myself as a role model for young girls who aspire to make a mark on the global modelling scene. I am very conscious of what I do and would never walk on such a path (match-fixing),” she said.

Nupur, with a two-film CV — Jo Bole So Nihaal and Abracadabra — fielded some questions on the controversy this afternoon.

Q: When did you first get to know that your name was involved in the match-fixing scandal?

The first time I heard about it was when I got a call from a journalist from London on Saturday. I thought it was someone playing a prank on me so I was very flippant while answering his questions. This morning when news channels started flashing the pictures, I realised it was me! And I was shocked.

Q: Where do you think The Sunday Times got that picture from?

It’s a grab from a song that I had done for Jo Bole So Nihaal in 2006…. Everyone knows I wore this costume in my movie with Sunny Deol. I got to know about the picture when my fans from the UK started calling me since morning. What is the point of morphing my face if it was a representation picture of a Bollywood starlet? People could recognise that it was me from the costume. It is from a famous Bollywood movie.

Q: Why do you think they have used your picture?

I don’t understand. I am in no way connected to match fixing or any bookie syndicate…. I am a clean person. I don’t know any cricketer in person. I am shocked how my name has surfaced in this controversy.

Q :You aren’t friendly with any cricketer?

I am a huge sports buff and I love cricket. But I don’t know any cricketers personally. I have never interacted with any cricketer ever.

Q: Have you attended IPL parties?

I have never been to any IPL party. Though I have watched IPL matches live…. I am a clean person.

Q: Are you planning any legal action?

I am going to speak with my lawyers tomorrow and decide. But I am not going to let them get away with this. They have not only maligned me but all of Bollywood and India. It is my right to take action against them. Even to use the image, it is illegal.

Q: Many believe that you are using this controversy for publicity. Do you think this will help your Bollywood career?

I am not thinking of that at the moment. I do believe that whatever happens, happens for the best.

Q: How has your family reacted to this controversy?

They are also shocked. My parents are in Delhi and they can’t believe that I am being dragged into something like this. But they know that I am a clean person and I would never do any wrong.

Q: Would you be open to reality shows like Bigg Boss in the future?

Yes, of course. But I hope that people will not associate me with just this controversy in the future. There is a lot more to me that the world has to discover.