January 06, 2007

Big Disappointment

The Telegraph, 06.01.07

Shilpa Shetty appeared chuffed to be asked to do Channel 4’s popular reality show, Big Brother. She blushed and appeared coy, before asking all Indians to feel proud because of her presence in the house. Big Brother is the show whose clone is now being aired in India. What exactly do we have to feel proud about? Perhaps Shetty is suggesting that watching an Indian woman sleep in the same room as an alcoholic and rockstar is something to feel proud about. Or perhaps the fact that she will probably be asked to play the role of a dog or a cat (as MP George Galloway found out last year to his cost) and be ridiculed on British television. Or is it because she now has the opportunity to add ill-informed quips about Indian history and culture, both of which she is now supposed to represent? British television-shows like Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, Weakest Link and Who Wants to be a Millionaire already have their copies in India, speaking a lot about our originality. People in England have no idea who Shetty is. Indeed, all that the British make of Bollywood is that it is an industry that dishes out copies of Western movies with generous doses of dance and songs. Shetty will have plenty of opportunity to enlighten them perhaps, and be the object of laughter here in England. It is futile to attempt to explain to the curious public that she by no means represents India, but she is all we have got now. Instead of feeling proud, I am aghast and shocked at her presence in the show. If she pulls some “impressive” trick on Big Brother for the British public to mock, it would be us Indians on the streets facing the banter.


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  1. Chris

    I think you’re underestimating the British public if you think we’re mistaking Shetty for being representative of India and Indian people. It’s pretty clear to casual viewers that she’s a drama queen (she has an entourage to rival American rap stars!).

    06 Jan 2007, 11:53

  2. So I have. Phew!

    08 Jan 2007, 10:55

  3. Mark

    Indians care too much about how European people think about them. I think what happened in the show is very normal, no big deal. This kind of things happens all the time in every day life. If you feel good about yourself, why do you have to care other people’s comments.

    I never care about how Indian or Pakistanian think about me, why should Indian care so much???

    20 Jan 2007, 05:48

  4. The age-old inferiority complex is still alive.

    20 Jan 2007, 11:55

  5. Mark

    To be a true superpower. Indian could learn the attitude from Americans, no need to care about the others, speak other people’s language. Focus on yourself only.

    In public, Shilpa Shetty is way too shy, she should learn some survive skills to deal with bullies in every day life. Try to learn something from American Black actrors, actress. Think about “Will Smith” ...

    Do not be shy to be yourself, to be black. Tell them shutup, you white mother fucker :-) ....

    20 Jan 2007, 21:52

  6. Indians are inherently averse to confrontation. But I could not agree more about the cultural aping point. There is nothing wrong in learning a foreign language, for example, but in India people are increasingly giving up their native languages. It is very rare to have a waiter in an urban posh restaurant who speaks in the local language. As linguistic theory and post-modernism argues, the language often straitjackets the thoughts of an individual. India is not a superpower and will never be one.

    For it has lost the battle of the mind…..

    21 Jan 2007, 12:15

  7. Mark

    Shilpa Shetty can learn from US rap star, be little more aggressive. Peace and love is only for weak and order people. For young and arrogant Western youth, you need some heavy stuff.

    Indian as a nation, can also learn something from France. Speak its own language, promote its own culture and value. Be an independant civilization. So far, India has not yet come out of its colony past. English speaking, IT service, just a continuation of serviing its old colony master.

    I feel very amused Indian is pround of speaking other people’s language. Every few nation has been conquared to this degree …

    21 Jan 2007, 21:46


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