Sayali Bhagat: 'I never dated Shoaib'

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New Delhi, April 5 -- After three years, actress Sayali Bhagat comes out in the open about her alleged link-up with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.

Have you ever dated Shoaib Malik?

Never.

So how did the rumour start?

When you are a part of the film industry, such rumoured link-ups are common. Sometimes, production houses get the gossip mills buzzing to publicise a film. I can't take them to task because I am committed to them and speaking out against a big banner could harm my future prospects. But believe me, there's no truth to this hearsay.

But you have met Malik?

I was introduced to him by the producers of a film I was supposed to do. Wilson Louis, who was supposed to direct it, was keen to cast Shoaib Malik opposite me. The story revolved around a cricketer and a beauty queen. Then 26/11 happened and the movie was shelved. I was never interested in him. So why did you stay connected through text messages/emails? Once you sign a film, you are bound to stay in touch with your co-actors. That doesn't mean we were in a relationship.

You were spotted in a hotel lobby together?

The film's director and producer were also with us.

You were quoted as saying, 'Our religion is not an issue, I'm more concerned about the distance between us."

I was misquoted. I don't stand by that statement.

You could have moved court against the websites and publications that ran with the quote...

I just wanted to get away from it all. But just for your information, a national publication did retract the statement. Shoaib and I were just doing a film together. There was no question of getting close.

In another interview you were quoted as saying: "I'm in love, I guess." Comment.

Rubbish. I don't remember having ever said this.

Was Shoaib in love with you?

Never!

He never popped the question?

No, besides I'm only 24. I can't even think of marriage at this stage.

Did he ever talk about his marriage to another Hyderabad girl?

I don't know the facts so I don't want to comment.

Why did you wait for three years to clarify your stand on this issue?

There was no reason for a clarification earlier because I'm not answerable to anyone. Now that Shoaib Mallk is in the news because of his marriage to Sania Mirza, the media has been after me for the last few days. I couldn't take the pressure anymore. I want to set the record straight, once and for all. I can't take this harassment.