Will Lara get wooed?

MUMBAI: Four years after being crowned Miss Universe, Lara Dutta will get to choose among three of Bollywood’s top heart-throbs when she stars in Hindi cinema’s first big April release.

Until ‘Masti’ which opens today, Bollywood has put off potential blockbusters since March as Indians focus on their cricket team’s historic tour of Pakistan. But director Indra Kumar hopes cricket fans will be tempted away from their screens by the comedy, in which three frustrated married men — Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Ritesh Deshmukh — try their luck at starting an extramarital affair with Dutta. As Dutta, the 2000 Miss Universe, puts it, she plays a “sexy girl” blissfully unaware of the men’s marital status. “After knowing about the marital status of the three, I am intrigued to know why married men fall for women other than their wives. The story then revolves around this,” Dutta said.

Oberoi had an explanation of why his character strays from his marriage. “My wife is over-possessive in the film and that puts me off,” Oberoi said. “I want to be free and have fun so I decide to have an affair with another girl outside my marriage.”

Dutta is the latest Indian beauty queen to try to make it in Bollywood. The most famous is Aishwarya Rai, whose 1994 Miss World title propelled her into a lucrative string of films.

Dutta made a strong box-office debut last year with ‘Andaaz’, a standard Bollywood love story that featured a former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra. Her next film, ‘Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost’, about a village experiencing electricity for the first time, did not do as well, but she made a comeback with a police film, ‘Khakee’.

Dutta, who has a series of films lined up in 2004, said she had shown she could play in a diversity of films from action to comedy and not just be a “beauty with no brains”.

“I never thought that I would get these kinds of offers after I won the Miss Universe title,” she said.

“I thought people in Bollywood would offer me roles that would be Westernised, but luckily I am getting a variety of roles and I am very happy about it.” — AFP