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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Bollywood star's painting a big hit
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Sushmita Sen
Sushmita Sen says the painting is 'priceless'

A painting by Bollywood actress and former Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen, has been auctioned for a whopping $50,000 - a price usually reserved for some of India's most popular artists.

The money, raised at a charity fund-raising event in Dubai, will go to a cancer hospital in Pakistan.

The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in the city of Lahore was set up by former Pakistani cricket captain, Imran Khan, in the memory of his mother.

Ms Sen told the BBC that she was happy that her painting was auctioned for such a high price.

"The fact that it was auctioned and not sold and that the proceeds went to a credible organisation giving people hope - that in my eyes makes the painting priceless," she said.

This is the first time the actress has given any of her paintings for auction.


But, she says it will be her "honour" to auction more of her paintings if the proceeds are utilised for charity.

A spokesman for the hospital, Mahmood Akhtar, said they organised a fund-raising event every year and invited celebrities to participate. Ms Sen carried the painting to the event this year.

Ms Sen, who has been painting for two years now, says "It doesn't belong to any specific genre, it's just a spontaneous expression."

The BBC has not had a chance to see the painting and pictures of the artwork were not made available.

And the identity of the person who bought Ms Sen's painting is being kept a secret.

"I don't know if he wants to be identified but all I can say is that he is a Pakistani businessman settled in Dubai and a long-time supporter of the hospital," said Mr Akhtar.

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