To spice up the house mates for the current run, Big Brother persuaded Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty to participate in the game show, with the added bonus of having a South Asian audience tune in as well.
It didn't take long for the other members of the show to turn on Shetty, allegedly calling her a "dog", "Paki", asking her to "fu** off home", as well as making comments about the Indian race as a whole. The controversy blew up spectacularly when South Asian members of Britain's Parliament brought it up in parliament to discuss racism. It also became a diplomatic incident with members of Britain's government on a delegation to visit India being asked about it. More than 40,000 complaints were registered against the show and they lost a major sponsor. Effigies of the show were being burnt on the streets of Mumbai (some people have too much time on their hands).
As I read through all this, I can't help but think "any publicity is good publicity" when it comes to celebrities. Shetty's career wasn't going anywhere and this puts her in the public spotlight, that too in a sympathetic manner. She is now likely to win the game show. Big Brother becomes the most watched show on TV. Viewers vote the alleged racist off the show and all is good with the world again.
I am also surprised by the slew of commentators from India slamming Britain. "Oh I thought Britain was a tolerant country," said one (a government MP!). "Now I know what is really under the surface."
Oh please! As if India is such a tolerant country. Not just India. The whole subcontinent. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. We discriminate daily based on caste, skin fairness, gender, religion (or inter-religion as in Sunni/Shia so on). Yet we are always the first ones to criticize. Ever looked into our own souls? You can make a whole Crash movie out of just the South Asian / Arab community.
Goody fights to save career
Shilpa fears racism
India seeks UK racism probe
Row not to impact India-UK ties
Let's vote for Shilpa: Brown