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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 10:37 GMT
Muted response to Shetty in India
Celebrity Big Brother's Shilpa Shetty
Many in India say Shetty's win is no accomplishment
Reaction in India to actress Shilpa Shetty's victory in the Big Brother reality show in the UK has been muted.

When asked, most people simply say they are happy that an Indian has won in a foreign television programme.

The accusations that Shetty was subjected to racist abuse in Celebrity Big Brother have not generated the same interest in India as in the UK.

Correspondents say that ordinary Indians have not followed the programme that closely.

Mixed reaction

Public relations executive Perizaad Mistree told the BBC news website that she was "very happy and proud" that Shilpa Shetty had won.

"It's good for her that in spite of nasty things happening to her, she held on and emerged a winner. I am really happy for her," Ms Mistree said.

Housewife Hiral Chheda said it was all the publicity Shetty received after the racism controversy that helped her win the programme.

"Who knows Shilpa Shetty otherwise? We are not talking about a Kareena Kapoor or Rani Mukherjee here. In the end, however, so long as you are making a name and money out of it, any publicity is good," she said.

"I am happy that she has won but its not like she's got medals for the country, you know," she added.

Political science student AV Karthikeyan says he is a big fan of Shilpa Shetty, "specially for the way she looks".

But, he thinks the racism controversy was stage-managed and now Shetty is reaping the benefits.

'Media hype'

Film director Shyam Benegal told the BBC, "I am happy, delighted that she has won".

But he says, from a distance it seems like she has won on the basis of the media hype that Big Brother attracted following the racism controversy.

"I am not sure she would have won had it not been for the media attention she got then. In any case, such programmes thrive on media hype."

Mr Benegal says it is difficult to say if her success with Big Brother will help her Bollywood career.

"It's difficult to say because Indian audiences behave in an insular manner and rarely get affected by what happens abroad. She has certainly gotten offers in the UK and one hears of projects coming her way so she is definitely looking at a vibrant new career," he says.

Many, however, seem to differ.

Banker Aftab Alam says the actress needs to concentrate on her failing Bollywood career.

"She should not feel happy about winning a cheap television show. This is no accomplishment," he says.

A Hindi movie buff, Shiba Lahiri, says she can't understand what all the fuss is about.

"Look at our own reality Big Boss show [modelled on the same lines as Big Brother] - almost all of them were abusive and offensive."




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