American born, glam desi

Friday, 28 April 2006 - 6:43pm IST

A popular TV anchor in Manhattan, Shibani Dandekar proves that she's more than just VJ Anusha's sister.

A popular TV anchor in Manhattan, Shibani Dandekar proves that she's more than just VJ Anusha's sister.

She might sound like the quintessential American born Indian desi, but she's as Indian as can get. Shibani Dandekar, a well-known face on American TV, is now trying to make her mark in the Indian entertainment circuit.

Ask her about modelling designer Payal Singhal's new collection and Shibani says, "Payal approached me for this and I was very excited. She is great to work with."

But did she always want to be a model? "No I didn't. I moved from Australia to Manhattan five years ago and realised I was very well-accepted in the South Asian industry there," says the 26-year-old. Shibani, who has been hosting Indian shows like 'Videshi' and 'Namaste America', acknowledges that as an Indian abroad, there is minimal scope in the television and film industry.

"I have realised that though they need Indian faces to maintain the South Asian market, it is not easy pursuing something that you really like." However, in spite of interacting with a host of Indian celebrities from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan on her shows, anchoring is the last thing she wants to pursue as a full-fledged career. "I am a singer and dancer and I want to focus on this aspect of my personality," she asserts.

Following her dreams as a dancer, Shibani and her younger sister Apeksha are planning to cut a music album with Kraywitnz productions. "Apeksha is a great singer who has worked with artists like Biddu. This album will primarily include R&B and hip-hop since that's what we have grown listening to," she says. After 15 years of training in dance forms like kathakali, jazz and contemporary, explains Shibani, "I do anchoring, but acting and dance is my first preference."

Poles apart literally, Shibani giggles when asked about her sister Anusha. "When my sister moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in Bollywood, I was interested in Hollywood. Quite a contrast, right?!"

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