Big Brother happy ending proves Shilpa’s biggest hit
The happy ending of Britain’s controversial Big Brother show has turned everyone into a winner: Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty is set for the biggest career break of her life, and Britons are happy to have survived unscathed from a damaging racism debate.
“Triumph over racism,” said the headline of the British mass circulation tabloid The Sun Monday, following agonizing two weeks during which allegedly racist remarks made against Shetty prompted a soul-searching debate about racism, and class, in Britain.
Just as she shrieked with joy on hearing that she had won 63 percent of the public vote for her conduct in the Big Brother House, the British will be overjoyed that Shetty forgave them their sins.
“People make mistakes, and we’re all human beings, we’re all fallible,” said Shetty gracefully, as she descended down the Big Brother gangway in a sparkling red flowing top.
“Chicken curry rules!” she exclaimed after regaining her composure amidst the fireworks and yells of delighted fans.
Referring to her main tormentor, the now disgraced Jade Goody, who called her a “dog” and said she should “go back to the slums,” Shetty said: “She may be hot-tempered … but she’s not a racist.”
This was music to British ears. Keith Vaz, the Labour member of parliament who led the campaign that finally forced Goody to make a public apology, said: “The British people have sent out a powerful message against those who have indulged in racist behaviour.”
Shetty, for her part, added a thoughtful note: “I just want to thank the whole of Great Britain for giving me this fantastic opportunity to make my country proud.”
Having done her best for both nations, and 300,000 pounds ($600,000) richer, 31-year-old Shetty can now reap her reward and look forward to a lucrative career – in films and outside.
Offers for book, film and TV deals are flooding in, reports her agent, Jazz Barton. “Shetty is hot stuff,” said Barton, who claims to receive 45 telephone calls an hour on Shetty’s behalf.
According to press reports Monday, the BBC is planning to offer Shetty a lead role in a new TV comedy, set in an Indian call centre.
A cricket-themed reality TV programme and an ethnic minority awards show are in touch with Shetty, with advertising deals never far behind.
“Shilpa has become the face of the new India,” said Nirvik Singh of Grey Global, one of the world’s biggest advertising companies. “She did not crack in the Big Brother house. She could get half a million pounds if she did get the deal right.”
Leading British PR executive Mark Borkowski, agreed: “Shilpa has got a huge career … She handles herself well, she’s highly intelligent. The British Asian audience is a valuable audience for companies to plunder.”
There is one other winner: Channel 4, the TV station which brought Britain Big Brother, saw audience ratings peak at 8.8 million from a low of 1.4 million on the final show of 2006.