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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
'Life coach' wins Bollywood show
Rupak Mann
Mann wins a role in a forthcoming Bollywood movie
Rupak Mann, a 34-year-old woman from Birmingham currently training to be a life coach, has won Channel 4's TV talent show Bollywood Star.

Her prize for beating three other finalists is a part in a Bollywood movie, directed by Mahesh Bhatt.

Mann was one of six contestants who were taken to India to audition before a panel of judges and a live audience.

Those six were whittled down to four for Tuesday's final programme, which was watched by 1.8m viewers.

The final show saw the finalists take part in a stunt lesson with expert Mahendra Verma and receive fashion advice from Bollywood stylist Manish Maholtra.

Viewers also saw the contestants come face-to-face with Pooja Bhatt, former Bollywood heroine turned director and the daughter of Mahesh Bhatt.


In the end Mann was chosen ahead of 25-year-old TV presenter Sofia Hayat, 23-year-old drama student Heidi Mumford, and 27-year-old Ricky Virdee, who works on the Heathrow Express.

Bollywood Star
One contestant claimed her rejection was due to her skin colour
Of the three Virdee was the most experienced, having landed a role in the 2001 Bollywood film Dillagi.

Mann has said her preferred film part would be a "murderous psycho" in an action film.

"I love the energy and passion of Bollywood films," she said. "They're so dramatic as well.

"I can really lose myself in them - it's pure escapism."

The programme was embroiled in controversy earlier this week when an unsuccessful finalist claimed she had been rejected on account of her skin colour.

Rivona Essop, 23, told a South African Sunday newspaper that judges had told her she was "too dark".

But a judge on the show said Essop did not make it into the final four because "her acting was not good enough".

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