Indo-Asian News Service
London, Jan 29 (IANS) Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty has won Channel 4's reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" and bagged an estimated 100,000 pounds (almost Rs.9 million) in prize money. The results didn't come as a surprise because the leggy Indian star was tipped as the favourite to win.
Shilpa, 31, the first Indian to participate in the British TV show, was reportedly paid in excess of 40,000 pounds for her participation.
"She was leading all the betting sites," Shilpa's publicist Dale Bhagwagar told IANS.
Shilpa's being on the show, which started Jan 3, didn't make as much news as the racist slurs hurled against her by her housemates, namely British contestant Jade Goody who has since been voted out by the audience.
Housemates Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara seemed to have ganged up against Shilpa during her stay. She became the subject of their snide and biting comments because of her svelte figure, poise and charm, good dressing sense and background as a popular Bollywood actor.
The racist comments caused outrage in India and Britain, with the issue figuring in the House of Commons and feminist diva Germaine Greer, and even two Indian ministers, demanding corrective action.
Shilpa, who made her debut in Bollywood with the 1993 super hit "Baazigar" which also starred reigning superstar Shah Rukh Khan, never managed to touch the skies as a star. Her slinky dance numbers were more appreciated than her emoting.
But now her popularity ratings have soared suddenly - thanks to the controversial reality show.
"Hollywood film offers have started coming in. Apart form the US and Britain, offers are coming from Spain and Singapore too. Also, the Indian film industry suddenly seems to have woken up to the new Shilpa," said Bhagwagar.
Other contestants who participated in it were Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine, A-Team star Dirk Benedict, Donny Tourette of punk band The Towers of London, ex-Steps star Ian "H" Watkins and "Kenny Everett" Show actress Cleo Rocos.