I am not a fan of big brother but the thought of Shilpa Shetty did entice me to spend some time watching the latest edition of celebrity big brother. It did start of pleasantly with everyone being a little vary of each other and maintaining their distance. While that didn't make for great television, it was acceptable.
A couple of days later, Jade and her family walked into the house. Jade Goody is a celebrity not because she is talented in any way or intelligent or charming. She is foul mouthed, was ready to take her kit off at the drop of a hat and somehow the British public found her appealing. Don't ask me how. She was a participant in an earlier edition of big Brother and that's how she was introduced to the British public. She didn't win that edition but surprisingly became more popular than the eventual winners. She came up with an autobiography, sold perfumes and did everything that a celebrity would do. She was trying really hard to maintain the image of celebrity bestowed up her by the public. One thing that has surprised me during my stay in the UK is how easy it is for someone to be labelled a celebrity here. There is virtually no emphasis placed on any talent whatsoever and it is staggering.
Inside the big brother house, Jade soon ganged up with Danielle and Jo and Shilpa was at the receiving end of their bullying tactics. I was a little surprised to see how soon Shilpa broke down. I was under the impression that people in the movie business do develop a thick skin as it is necessary to survive any criticism, backstabbing and rumours. I guess, being treated like on a pedestal in India, she wasn't prepared for the downright maliciousness that she encountered here. Having said that, she recovered soon enough and did give back as good as she got without losing her dignity or descending to the level of the bullies. It's really sad some people blame Shilpa for bringing this on herself. Yes, she did get a huge sum of money for appearing on the show. Her career wasn't going great guns in India and she was looking for alternative opportunities. She did end up winning the show and making even more money in that process. But, does that mean she needs to put up with all the rubbish she was dished out? The answer is NO and anyone who thinks to the contrary needs to get their head examined.
While it's hard to label the actions of Jade and her companions as racist, it is a clear case of bullying due to ignorance and insecurity. Jade and Danielle are clearly people with very limited IQ and its not too hard to understand the way they reacted towards Shilpa. Shilpa is intelligent, articulate, beautiful and dignified and Jade and Danielle were clearly threatened by this woman. Their frustration at their thunder being stolen by some woman from India in their own country probably resulted in the way they reacted to it. The British public rose to the occasion and their show of support for Shilpa was heart warming.
I have been living in the UK for the last 7 years and I haven't encountered any form of racism. Jade, Danielle and Jo aren't representative of the British public and it's sad that such an impression was conveyed, thanks to Big Brother and Channel 4. Yes, there is a small minority that do racially abuse people but that's the case with any country. The British government is doing a lot to curb that menace, which is more that what can be said of most other governments.
Here is a toast to Shilpa for projecting a very positive image of India and for the British public for doing the right thing when it mattered most!!!