The recent controversy over the alleged racist remarks against Shilpa Shetty in the Brit reality show, Big Brother got me thinking.. was it all really racial?!
Lets examine what happened.. Shilpa Shetty a Hindi movie actress, with a string of flops n a career that never looked like going anywhere and her biggest assets, her never ending legs!!
Big Brother .. well actually the baap of all reality shows, where a group of strangers or celebrities live together in a make believe house, completely cut off from the outside world and a platoon of cameras capturing every moment in the house. Of course wht we get to see is an edited packaged version of the important happenings of the day.
Big Brother, especially the celebrity version, has always involved B&C grade Brit figures and has been of least interest to the massive South Asian population. To tap this huge audience, they decided to rope in smone like Shilpa, well known among the South Asian population , but in reality near jobless. A paycheck of over 3 crores and a shot at fame beyond the SAARC borders helped no doubt.
Shilpa made her entrance all decked up in a saree n tons of make up n let people know tht she is the "Indian Angelina Jolie"..(yeah right!!) and went abt with her usual filmi nakhras. Reality Check babe.. u r no longer in a film set!!! Of course this is bound to ruffle many a feather in the house and people r bound to react. To top it you go around bossing everybody, stick to ethnic dresses tht mark you out and attempt to cook smthing which you hv never done before in ur life and expect things to be hunky dory..
Housemates did react. Worse people outside, reacted violently to these reactions!! Imagine rallies in Bihar demanding shutdown of the show, which is not even broadcast in India, parliament both Indian and British, ministers n every TDH who has been within 5 metres of Ms. Shetty condemning all tht on prime time TV!! I wudnt be surprised if we had a bandh/strike to protest this!! Indian hypocrisy at its best..
Whats all this abt?!
- Bcoz smone called her a dog?!.. big deal.. Dharmendra used to call every other person on screen tht !!
- Shilpa Shetty was called an Indian.. now is tht really an insult?! I wonder..
- Bcoz smone made fun of her cooking?!.. well it was bad enuff to be made fun of..
- Smbody refused to pronounce her name... well how many times hv u pronounced Chinese/Thai/European names (try Pongpol Adireksarn or Jeroen Broekroelofs)?! Folks in most part of the world hv trouble saying foreign names with more than 2 syllables.. Bala is easy on the tongue compared to Balagopal.. check out how mutilated names like Dheeraj, Rajneesh, Jyothi or worse Shanmugasundaram , Thenpandizhan turn out when spoken by a foreigner (not necessarily European/American..) or in the last few cases even by a North Indian
- She was called a Paki... well I hv been called a Madrasi by lots up north, although I hv nuthin to do with Chennai!! Similarly anybody with brown skin and black hair automatically becomes a Paki in UK or a Curry in Australia.
The last count, you cud argue has racial overtones. But then arent we all guilty on that?! How many of us have never referred to a person from the north east as "Chinky" or smone from Nepal as "Kaancha"?! I have heard fellow infoscions talking abt some of our clients from Africa with similar names. We call westerners "gora", "firang" .if they take offence to tht even tht makes it racial!!
No amount of rules or legislation is going to change all that. Its just a manifestation of our fear of the unknown and the unusual!! Unless that takes life threatening forms of hate crime , all that we are doing is over-reacting!! I can bet next week this time , not even an iota of news reel or a second of news time will be spent on the so-called "Shilpa Shetty controversy"!!
P.S- I am however thankful to this whole brouhaha , which finally put an end to the endless and pointless coverage given to two bollywood actors getting engaged!! Now waiting for the next breaking news to push this one out!!