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Bollywood's new Australian leading lady
Twenty-five-year-old Australian actress Pallavi Sharda talks to Stephaie March.

Twenty-five-year-old Australian actress Pallavi Sharda is starring in the biggest Bollywood release of the year, a role that is likely to catapult her from obscurity into a household name.

India correspondent Stephanie March reports.
Transcript
AUSKAR SURBAKTI, PRESENTER: India produces more than a thousand feet irfilms every year by far the most of any country in the world. And in a twist that could have come straight from a Bollywood script, a 25 year old Australian is starring in the biggest release of the year. Pallavi Sharda's role is likely toccata put her from obscurity to celebrity in the planet's biggest movie market. India correspondent Stephanie March reports from Mumbai.
STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: It's bright, it's brash, it's high energy. India's Bollywood is the world's biggest film industry, churning out more than twice as many films a year as Hollywood. And now a girl from Melbourne is about to hit the big time. Pallavi Sharda has come a long way from the western suburb of Taylor's Lakes.
PALLAVI SHARDA, ACTRESS: I've been very used to kinds of being this underdog. Who came from Australia and was finding her way in Bollywood and to audition and be cast in this film was kind of this triumph on my part bit's nerve racking because all of a sudden everything really matters. Everyone is looking at you and people are comparing you to others.

STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: This is the big break she and every background performiner Bollywood dreams of. If all goes well, this film will be scene by tens of millions of people and Pallavi Sharda will become an instant megastar. The 25 year old is playing the female lead in a Hindi film called Besharam. It's the story of a middle class Delhi girl who falls in love with a poor car thief. By Bollywood standards this film is as big as it gets.

It's being directed by Abhinav Kashyap. His last film was a smash hit. It broke the record of the highest number of movie tickets ever sold in India. 40 million people went to see it in cinemas.

Besharam is expected to be even bigger and Pallavi Sharda is front and centre.

ABHINAV KASHYAP, DIRECTOR: We wanted someone fresh and we wanted a very, very good dancer. I saw some of her previous work. There was nothing lacking. I thought we have a potential star in our hand.


STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: She's starring opposite Bollywood royalty, the Kapur family.

ABHINAV KASHYAP: Ranbir Kapoor and his parents. They have been huge stars in their time. So it is one of the top five films of the year.

PALLAVI SHARDA, ACTRESS: Very rarely does a film get such a big release in two country, so, yes, it's kind of scary.

STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: Her impending fame is no surprise to her father.

NALIN SHARDAFATHER: From the very beginning, she loved her dancing. She was all the time attending an opportunity dancing and she was very determined to do whatever she wanted to do.

Most of the time in our Indian community any function we would have so called Bollywood dance item. They would put on the music and the girls would prepare and Pallavi would spend endless time at home preparing the stance steps.

STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: The young actress and dancer has a lot of support among the Indian Australian community. They've been closely following her career. Nalin Sharda is proud of his daughter's success.

NALIN SHARDA: I tell you, I was amazed she lived a bit of tough life to begin with, but she was determined. She's done the yard yakka.

STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: Pallavi left Melbourne four years ago with an almost finished law degree to have a shot at the big time. She's had a number of supporting roles in Indian films and starred in the Australian cricket comedy Save Your Legs. After Besharam hits the screens it's highly likely Pallavi's life in India will change forever. She will become a household name and in India that comes with great responsibility.

PALLAVI SHARDA, ACTRESS: Actors in Bollywood are idolised by everyone because life is hard in India for the common man. So when these larger than life characters come alive on their screen they become like Gods, they're something to aspire to.

STEPHANIE MARCH, REPORTER: But for the unpretentious girl from Melbourne's west, just getting this far is enough.

PALLAVI SHARDA, ACTRESS: I will always be passionate about the other things I want to do and there are many means to achieve them. I am not banking on this as the one but if it works out then great.
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