Bhojpuri singer Shilpi Raj, who was rocked by a recent MMS scandal, took time to say ‘yes’ to an interview with us, but when she sat across us- she was as calm as a cucumber. We told her that whatever has happened to her is not fair. The conversation began on that note and this is what followed:
Where were you when the MMS Scandal first hit social media and who dropped the MMS in question in your phone?
Honestly, I haven’t seen the MMS. I was told that it was attributed to my name. I wonder who the girl in the MMS is.
Are you saying that it’s not you?
Absolutely. The girl in the video is not me. Ye saari koi saazish hai mujhe badnaam karne ki (This is a conspiracy to malign my image).
Do you suspect anybody behind this?
No, I cannot fathom that. Industry mein jab koi badhta hai, toh log galat-shalat bolte rehte hain. Mahila ki koi izzat nahi (When someone succeeds in the film industry, people start talking trash about them. No one respects women).
Why don’t you go to the police?
We have filed a case in Court. It is so wrong to stick anybody’s name on any video without ascertaining the facts or reaching out to that person. This is the first interview that I am giving to any media outlet.
You must have been ruffled…
Not at all. I wasn’t getting any calls from the industry. Those calls go to Sir.
Who is this ‘Sir’?
Abhay Pandey, my manager.
Your parents must have reacted to the video…
My brother was concerned and he called me. But I explained things to him.
In the past few years, Bhojpuri movies had done pretty well, even in Mumbai.
Lekin aajkal (Nowadays), they don’t set many cash registers ringing… I don’t think they do badly either. It’s fine. At least I am happy in my work space.
What are your favourite songs?
I am inclined to singing folk songs. My folk songs have given me recognition; they are very popular in villages.
Is Bollywood the ultimate destination?
Hmmm… I would like to sing in Bollywood no doubt. But I am not reaching out to filmmakers as kaam dekhne se hi kaam milta hai (because people offer you the kind of work that you’re known for). At present, I am doing pretty well for myself in the Bhojpuri heartland and music companies are giving me songs. I think my future will chart out from the work I have done so far.