Neha Dhupia has lined up five films for release this year in a big effort to break through into the big time.

“It’s not easy to create a place for yourself in Bollywood even if you have a pageant behind you,” she says, “No one in the industry was holding special carpets for me because I had won the Miss India contest.

You have to work hard if you want to prove something. It’s taken me a long time to carve a niche for myself, but I’m glad that finally I have done it.”

Neha was Miss India in 2002 and a year later played the glamorous and controversial role of Julie.

This year’s fistful of five begins with Pappu Can’t Dance Saala, a comedy with Vinay Pathak and is followed by Paying Guest with Shreyas Talpada, Chunky Pandey and a glamour squad of Neha, Riya Sen, Celina Jaitley and Sayali Bhagat.

De Dhana Dan has Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy whilst Raat Gayi Baat Gayi has Rajat Kapoor and Vinay Pathak again in a black comedy of modern Indian marriage. Finally, there’s Raftaar with Emraan Hashmi, filmed in the Maldives.

Life can’t be all work, however, and whilst some stars are taking a low profile this year because of the Mumbai attacks, Neha will be taking a few days off to celebrate Holi with her family: “I will be celebrating Holi in Goa with my friends and family,” she confides, “This is the second time that I will be enjoying the festival at my house in Goa.”