WHEN Sonia Gill walks through Rose Hill, few people take much notice.
But when the 27-year-old is in India, she is mobbed by an adoring public.
For the past five years, Miss Gill has been leading a double life, splitting her time as a Bollywood actress in India and working in customer service at Oxfordshire County Council.
She spent last December shooting her latest film, romantic comedy Arsho, in Punjab, India, and it has now been released in the UK.
Miss Gill said: “It can go to your head when you’re out there because you are being treated really well. You don’t need to do anything because it’s all being done for you.”
But despite the clamour she causes while in India, the Oxford-born actress, who went to Rose Hill Primary and Donnington Middle schools, still feels at home in the city she grew up in.
She said: “I do love my life out there but I have been born and brought up here. It’s helped me to grow as a person. I’ve become more independent and I have made some fantastic friends there.”
Her road to stardom began when a model scout spotted photos of her on Facebook while she was studying Law at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe, leading to her appearing in Asian bridal magazines.
At the age of 22, she was offered a role in US movie Let’s Play The Game, flying to New York and New Jersey to shoot the Indian film.
After returning to the UK a couple of months later, she was offered roles in Mumbai, including television adverts and fashion shows, before starring in movie Society.
Miss Gill said: “I saw people that I had grown up watching.
“That was a really good experience because I watched how these senior actors worked and how passionate they were after all the years.”
This was followed by offers to star in Hole Hole Ho Jayega Pyar and Shaadi Ke Side Effects before she took on her latest project.
She said: “I feel quite lucky because not everyone gets opportunities like these. I feel lucky because I’m enjoying my life and I’m happy.”
But she did not want to be away from her family full-time and so joined a local job agency which found her work at the county council.
Since January this year she has worked as a customer service adviser in the blue badge department.
When Miss Gill is not jet-setting, she can be found unwinding at home in Rose Hill with parents Prem, 60, and Meena, 55, who moved to England from India in their teens, and sisters Bobbie, 38, and Monica, 31, and brother Roger, 35.
Monica said: “Sonia is a very humble person and at home she’s very family orientated.
“When she does come here she does lead a normal life still and she loves working for the council.”
A BIG BUSINESS
THE Bollywood filmmaking industry began in Mumbai, India, in the 1930s while the country was under British control
Coined after its American counterpart, Hollywood, it is the largest movie production business in the world based on ticket sales
The industry produces Hindi movies which are usually musicals lasting between three and four hours
Actor Amitabh Bachchan has starred in more than 190 movies
In 2007, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, pictured, won Celebrity Big Brother despite racism controversy in the house.
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