Thirteen years ago, they won beauty pageants together - Lara Dutta was Miss Universe and Priyanka Chopra, Miss World 2000. Eventually, they went on to act together in the 2003 hit Andaaz, and jointly won the female debut awards for the year. The two never acted together again, fuelling rumours of a cold rivalry, but rubbishing them all on her visit to the Capital on Saturday, Dutta said that she would, on the contrary, love to cast PeeCee in one of her forthcoming production ventures.
"We started together ... and I feel so proud when I see Priyanka doing so well! I'd love to cast her in one of my forthcoming productions," said Dutta, who turned producer in 2011 with Chalo Dilli.
Asked if she regrets taking a backseat in films after motherhood and making way for her contemporaries to benefit in the process, she says, "Not at all. Bollywood is not the only thing that I wanted to do. I acted full-fledged for 12 years and now my priorities in life are different. Those who aimed just for Bollywood are living their dream, and it's good for them ... but there's more to me than just an actor," said the 35-year-old, who's currently working on her next production venture that'll see her in the lead.
"I'm also eagerly waiting for the sequel of No Entry," said Dutta, who looked svelt, having lost a lot of weight since pregnancy in 2011. But it's not rigorous workouts or sport practice with tennis-champ husband Mahesh Bhupathi that keeps her in shape.
"Running behind my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Saira is the secret!"
Lara-Mahesh’s love story
Actor Lara Dutta and hubby Mahesh Bhupathi may be celebs in their own fields, but it's not Bhupathi’s tennis or Dutta's acting or Miss Universe title that attracted them to each other. "I am not even a big tennis fan. Mahesh is a self-made man, very reliable... just the perfect life partner one wants to have. That’s what attracted me," said Dutta, who was in town yesterday with hubby for a special initiative marking the launch of Samsung Galaxy 4. "She's a very grounded person, and family oriented. That's what I loved about her," added Bhupathi.