Shiney Ahuja is calmer and introspective after his unforeseen tryst behind the bars - and that's because the actor strongly believes in learning out of all bitter and sweet experiences. The one positive thing in his tough phase, he says, has been the growth in the warmth of the industry members and his fans towards him.
One would think his fraternity and fans would have become averse to his popularity, especially after he was hounded by accusations of rape, but Shiney says "there's a lot of warmth and love".
"Irrespective of what has been sometimes reported or said, whenever I have gone amongst people, their reactions have been pretty much the same that was earlier. Now, in fact, there is a relationship that they feel they have with me," Shiney told IANS in a candid interview.
"There is so much of warmth and love. They (fans) keep saying they are waiting for me to come back in another great film and looking forward to another great performance. These are the kind of things I get to hear," he added.
Shiney was arrested in June 2009 following charges of rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation levelled by his maid, charges he denied. He spent nearly five months behind bars.
In March 30, 2011, he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment by a Mumbai fast track court, but he challenged the sentence in the Bombay High Court. He is currently on bail and facing each day with a smile. His confidence seems a tad dented, but he doesn't shy away from the media - only he is more careful about choosing the right words.
The actor is now working towards resurrecting his Bollywood career. And he says his friends in the film industry have been extremely supportive to help him regain his stand.
"The perception is very different for people who know you as a person. For them you are a person and not a product. So people who know me, they believe in me; so that's the reason there is no change in their perception at all. In fact, now there is much more warmth which wasn't there earlier," the 38 year-old said.
"I feel I am very fortunate because I have some good friends like Sudhir Mishra and Anurag Basu from the film industry who have encouraged me in the past as well. I hope I can continue to give in my best," he added.
Whatever the obstacles in life may be, it is important to learn the best out of them, believes the actor, who tasted success with films like "Hazaaron Kwhaishein Aisi", "Khoya Khoya Chand", "Gangster" and "Life In A Metro".
"I think there are incidents or accidents that happen in everybody's life in some or the other way. Otherwise also sometimes things happen which are not in our control, but what we take out of that experience is definitely in our control," he said.
"So my constant search and my constant endeavour in the entire phase of my life is to take something more than what I have given to this particular experience or time," he added.
Last seen in "Ghost", Shiney is now looking forward to the release of "Har Pal" and "Ek Accident". He is also reading a lot of scripts.
"I have been reading a lot of scripts lately. And just keeping myself on toes just to decide what I want to take up next," he added.