February 2, 2007

Shilpa Shetty Jade Goody -For Goodness Sake


Kaveeta Kaul


Update 18th August 2008: BIGG BOSS 2 Nemesis strikes..Jade part of Bigg Boss in India!

Update: Channel 4 plans to apologise to Shilpa Shetty for the ‘editorial misjudgements’ before the start of its new season of Big Brother..Is it genuine or a crafty sense of diplomacy to ensure viewer ratings, is a matter of conjecture.


When news , information, snippets, trivia, sensationalism, abuses, cynicism over an event begins emerging from the woodwork like termites, my instant reaction goes something like ‘ “I dont want to write on this one..its all over the net, channels, literally coming out of my ears”. A strange resistance to comment on the issue seems to take over, for reasons that have to do with disagreement rather than concurrence with populist sentiment. It seems like a wasteful exercise, and that ‘patient, mature, watchful,’ aspect of my nature ( did I hear a chuckle! how terribly mean 😦 ) takes over and orders a pull back till an opportune moment.

It has its advantages too..not writing in a ‘jumping the gun’ kind of alacrity.. The details which are by then ubiquitous, can be spared. I need not write of the Big Brother format of Channel 4 whose previous chief was Farrokh Dhondy, a self confessed manipulator of senationalism to garner trp’s, serpiginous morality at work or that Jane Goody was a racist , bully, and an unculutred wannabe, who along with model Danielle Lloyd and singer Jo O meara revelled in frigging the daylight out of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, competing with each other on who could be more venomous, crassy, foul mouthed over a ‘pink chicken’..and that Shilpa won the show by 63 per cent of the 4 million plus votes, in keeping with 45,000 complaints received against the Briton..Psst..Did I mention not feeding details? Humph..old habits die hard!

Well now that the deed is done by the British, Indians and Goody, Shilpa Shetty is richer by not just 100,000 pounds in prize money, plus 350,000 pounds for participation..Good for her. It irked me no end to listen to remarks which scoffed at the concern over the treatment being meted out to Shilpa on the show because she had been paid a hefty amount to participate. That wasnt the deal was it? It was not a pay off to bear the brunt of humiliation from illiterate cretins! Had she been pre- warned? Was it part of her contract?

The soothing balm most definitely was the fact that right minded Britons were ashamed, appalled and disgusted by the behaviour of Jane Goody, in equal measure if not more, as much as other Asians in Britain, and the world over. The universal condemnation of her behaviour did testify to the guilt that Britons feel of being branded a nation, yet intolerant and prejudiced towards the color of the skin.. I have no doubts on that score.

Goody unwittingly dramatised what the real attitude is towards Asians in Britain..This for one, was the living up to the ‘reality show’ nomenclature. Real as real could get!! And it was not about Shilpa Shetty, or the money.. it could have been any other female from India..I doubt the result would have been any different. In fact it would have only gotten worse. Why?

Consider this. Had it not been a high profile actress who was part of the show, perhaps the interest of the media would have been luke warm. The incident might have gone unnoticed to the public at large, The furore would have been miniscule..result, she would have continued to be bullied and maybe, just maybe, Jane Goody might have even won!!

What Channel4 did not foresee was the tumultous wave of disapproval the show would elicit.. The clippings aired, incited such rage among viewers from Asian origin and shame from the British counterparts, that it was as if the ‘The Emperor wore no clothes’ was revealed at last!! It was there for the whole world to see, undiluted, in its strongest, purest, potency, not in a gully, away from the prying eyes of the world..once and for all. A racist tirade! Shilpas poise further magnified the disparity of behaviour between the two females, and outrage gained strength and momentum

To my mind, Channel4 is as much in the fray. They have a rather strict code of discipline for participants to do with eating, sleeping, washing, bathing, daily routine. Then Why- o- Why had they not imposed a ‘nonracial stance’ stricture as well? They perhaps were in the mood to grin their way to their accounts, all prepared to churn out a distasteful vignette of racial slur, resignedly in the mode of ‘shit happens’.. Sure it does..sometimes right at your doorstep.

Channel 4 desperately in need of Chanel 5 !!!!!( my absolutely favourite perfume) (laughing myself silly at this one)

Ahh but well.. going by the aftermath, the vigilant response of Blair and co., and the hurried harried apologies floating around from the perpetrator herself, the Right Venerable Ms. Jane Goody, all teary eyed, remorseful, cowering under the onslaught of ostracism and general hatred, to the Channel who cleverly manipulated Shilpa to pour oil on troubled waters and nillify ‘racist abuse’ allegations, it seems as a catalytic event, bursting forth with opportunities for solution of a looong standing predicament that has doggedly dodged Asians for aeons now.

Police investigations are on for a racist song alleged to have been penned. ” The words were written down by a senior employee at Big Brother makers Endemol on the back of a production running order for Channel 4 and anonymously handed to the police, the newspaper said.”

Yours truly, too had turned down her scholarship to be educated in Britain. On topping Mumbai University I had received a scholarship to continue my subjects of Constitution Of England, but the ‘racial abuse’ stories quite put me off. Ofcourse others went..and continue to do so. But that does not mean I cannot decide whether or not I want to be racially discriminated against!!

I know there are the whole lot of nay sayers, as is ,on every issue under the globe, who contend with stands like’ But what about India? We are racist..look at this that and the other”..blah, blah, till kingdom come. So? Do something about it. If you feel strongly..react. It does not translate into NOT condemning one incident because you were too resigned/lazy/disinterested/apathetic to have failed to condemn another!! Just where is the rationale!! On a global platform a fellow citizen was being humiliated..why does that not make your blood boil? It does mine..and how?

And apparently does so to well meaning, morally upright, analytical, hopelessly veracious, poignantly candid, futuristic Britons as Martin Jacques in The Guardian. This is a fantastic read, which vindicates my averments without a shred of doubt.

“It is also testimony to profound weakness, a measure of how little distance we have travelled as a society when it comes to understanding racism. For if the truth be told, we are a society that is dripping in racism.

This is not in the least surprising. For the best part of two centuries, we British ruled the waves, controlled two-fifths of the planet, and believed it was our responsibility to bring civilisation to those who allegedly lacked it. There is now a belief that all that is long gone, dead and buried, history forgotten in a tsunami of amnesia about our past. But these attitudes live on in new forms, constantly reproduced in each and every white citizen of this country.”


But all said and done.. Goody did her bit of Good.. she was not all bad.. after all. The issue has come to the fore. For Shilpa personally it was a great victory, for Asians it is a mirror for the disgruntlement they have been victims of for aeons . The average Briton will be wary of openly discriminating, in future . Whether or not, there will be an internal change of heart remains to be seen. But most definitely, our cultural roots of grace, tolerance, and dignity have spoken loud and clear.



  1. Enjoyed the analysis..join in the rage.
    But are the Jades reflective of Britain as a whole?

    Comment by dilip — February 2, 2007 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  2. sorry!! that should have been Jane πŸ™‚

    Comment by dilip — February 2, 2007 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  3. Oh make no mistake about that Dilip..She is representative of a largely felt sentiment which is not admitted to but widely prevalent. Did you not read the link? It was meant to pre-empt such queries. “dripping with racism” is the title of his commentary.. in nothing less than the Guardian by an eminent Briton.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 2, 2007 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  4. black or white.. wen the finish linez close, the winnerz fite it out tooth n nail.. as they say.. all is fair in luuuvve n war- n war it is πŸ™‚ of plastic heartz generating plastic smilez over plastic monies n plastic emotionz.. hehehe.. the politicians barked, the page3 gawked… the common man raged n then waterz flowed down the ganges n Ms Shilpa got a cute booty as the prize.. hahaha… aint whether if its black or white- currencies r all green- prosperity!!

    n wen the world is a global village, letz not drop bac to the pages of school book history n again cry over phree-dom struggle n kohinoor!!
    for votes they played the color card n SS cried.. dropz of jupiter from her kajoled eyez…guess the later wooed us all… n bingo!! huh… establishments of life aint that weak to be rattled by sum jaded jadez commentz… still it was a different spice that burnt a lot of calories… nothing more

    Comment by saptarshi — February 3, 2007 @ 11:34 am | Reply

  5. Ohh that was as hackneyed as can get..dear Sapt..It was not about an actress, it was say about ME, you, any Indian on that show.. “Thoda pyaar se read karo dada”..and no I dont believe it was tears for the audience..It was not staged from Shilpas side,.. that is taking cynicism to another level which stops one from being barely human.Yes the channel may have gleefully looked for a joy ride piggy backing on Jane…and they sure got the ride of their life!

    Had it been just a show would Blair, House Of commons and the Britons come out in Full support? Its surprising you know they showed more faith in Shilpa and less in Jane, while we look down our noses on Shilpa and accept even racist abuse as a gimmick!! For how long are we gonna be in Denial pal??

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 3, 2007 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  6. agreed abt the racial thing.. black n white n all red inside.. true but per se.. why label it as racist?

    who is not racist? we are all pseudo- liberal at heart.. black white divide, aint there within the color codes of indian citizens??

    don we break our heartz wen a new born is ‘dark’ n sigh in relief wen the skinz ‘fair’!!

    jade gave away all the money for charity n SS is the highest paid for in that show.. well, its all abt ‘she came, she saw, smiled n conquered..’ n so!! its commercial frustration whic back fired!!

    come on… the existence of india is not cliched @ skin shades… n we aint racially looked down upon, jobs bolo… studies bolo… its east meets west! then why do we need to burn the national skinz n say they scratched our sentimentz…

    those reality show sine curves bring in money.. footage n its just, just another wat to gain sum mileage…

    aint think this even touches the indian tri-color respect/regards/pride… n as far as SS, well.. with smilez n silverz.. shez had the last laugh… u have to have watever it takes to grab the batton..

    wud she use the money, the wealth n all those powers she has to bring glory to india- the skins which are parched in the far reaches of greater india?? who does it? sum donationz.. sum photo shoots for CRY n UNO n then again we are damned patriotic.. hahaha… aapna respect aapne paas n rite now.. where india, where we as a nation stand.. these cold potatoes won even land near.. letz not stretch the individual to the national domain when it was just a case for personal gains n ends… world of reels… shot n canned!

    Comment by saptarshi — February 3, 2007 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  7. To bring in considerations of ‘what she is doing with the prize money’ is tangentially taking off. Its of no concern to us. Is the fact that this happened on a tv show where money was involved, diminishing the affirmation of the racist sentiment so prevalent?

    I dont conform to the idea that all Indians are pseudo racists. If anything our multi cultural, lingual, ethnic background has brought in an innate sense of tolerance and acceptance. Do you really bully a college friend if he is dark? the thought and idea has never struck me. Difference in ideologies or a behavioural problem is the only apparent cause for trouble..never in India the color of your skin. It may be a preference ..but not a root cause for attack, the two are diametrically opposite. And the preference is from the males πŸ™‚

    It is all the more appalling when such attitudes reveal themselves into the living rooms the world over. If we have a fascination for the fair skin, like you state then its a matter of your personal choice. As far as I am concerned..not at all. Subjective opinions dont hold on a global scale. The sole factor for Jade was the color of Shilpas skin..she was well aware that she was being scrutinised..that is what is scary. She perhaps betted on the fact that this would endear her, since she felt she was reflecting popular sentiment. Had she any idea that it would backfire, would she have dared tp expose her real self? Have you seen her apologetic clips?

    I cannot understand the resistance to condemn an open display of racial abuse! It is for us to raise the issue whenever wherever it occurs.. Like I said in my post ‘shit happens’ is just no excuse worth the reckoning.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 4, 2007 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  8. I feel, a lot of what happened, was based on the green-eyed-monster we call: jealousy, envy…against Shilpa.

    Sometimes, these two monsterous ego-laced negative forces, compromise truth in such a great disguise, it is often overlooked as a cause for the negative slurs(can’t see the forest, for the trees, so to speak?)

    Sometimes, I feel being of ethnic darker skin; is the smaller portion of the bigger picture, of jealousy and envy.

    Sometimes, I feel we play the labels-game so very well.. that we forget, it is a game of ego-minds…and we decide to play in one court, or the other(always two sides to every thing, isn’t there?)

    It is just such a shame though really, that the majority of human beings true nature.. is egoisticly based?

    Can we ever, shed this thick-layering of skin?

    with loving kindness,

    Comment by North — February 4, 2007 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  9. Hi North,

    Yes of course envy, jealousy showed up their fangs. But consider this. The over riding feeling was ‘ How dare a brown Indian woman look as beautiful, cultured and sophisticated?” was suddenly the ‘other’female, from a lesser world, as if taking over their domain. The model Jo , I think was pretty good looking.Why did not jealousy take on such monstrous proportions with her?

    I have seen and heard some of Goodys statements.. all they stank of was an attack on Indian culture..whether it had to do with eating with hands, or washing, or curry, or poppppadum. It clearly was a mix of emotions..not the least of which was definitely Racist.

    Anjali Desai, the booker prize winner this year, too spoke at length on how ubiquitous this emotion is throughout Britain and her experience with it. There is a popular singer Apache Indian who has left Britain because of racial abuse. He did not want his children being thus victimised. It is a mirror of that society North..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 5, 2007 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  10. Yes we Indians should be proud of Ms Shilpa shetty

    Comment by Dattaprasad Parab — February 5, 2007 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  11. I think that the uproar represents what is the general mood of all Asians in Britain today. Shilpa to them was someone who was going through what they experience everyday and so this was a time for them to let their voice out.

    Comment by Neha — February 5, 2007 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  12. huh… guess its too generic a way ur lookin at it n am not trying to dilute matterz too but again.. i disagree that in littles of life we r secular wrt ‘skins’!! n not just the male side of the pop.. esp now with all the humdrums of equality.. anyway, tatz a diff issue… but again.. the difference of merits n the commercials of life will alwayz try to paint ‘us’, the people as demons.. and in a way we all r… n don say school or colleges don bully people on the ‘looks’ issue where, the colors r involved too!!

    we had a princi we called.. IAS- invisible after sunset πŸ™‚ he was coal gold! chill!! r we racists? am like two shades of black as well… but i guess i know the commercials n the mirth of life never, never hurt the core n for shilpa… it was a tough world from the mushy bollywood n she was doing pretty gud for which ade let the frust’ out… cool, she tried to get sum mileage- failed! shilpa got her dues, her appology n won it all in smilez- forgot n forgiven

    its not a racist world but the undercurrents r there everywhere from the interview rooms to the b-school selections, to the big fat indian wedding to the child birth- its there.. anyway we can feel better, we turn bad.

    and even though i don do it, i don claim innocence, this is the world n well.. i rise n fall with it. just a not-so-glorified aspect. again not on the tri-colors of this matured nation. no.

    Comment by saptarshi — February 6, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  13. Sapt..There is and should always be that slight prudence exercised between what we think and correspondingly how we act. If you think black and white, do you necessarily have to behave pro one and against the other? God forbid that we begin to perform our thought processes!! Get what I mean?

    Also in your own country ensconced in the privacy of your own life, when there is a a family, relatives, siblings, friends who may be sailing in the same boat, and therefore to a large extent sanitised to the situation, is quite different from being in a foreign land with the foreigners shunning you as if a pariah, ganging up for the world to see.

    Its not as if we as Indians have lost out on anything. Their perception of us does not alter our reality…thats not my contention!! Shilpa has come out looking laundered. But such behaviour ought Not to be condoned and if today the Brits have woken up to it, the issue is being addressed at length..Good.

    And Btw.. I think Black is beautiful πŸ™‚

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 6, 2007 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  14. yo… black is beautiful πŸ™‚ i know tat n so wen people kinda try to make it a cons issue… i cant help but smile…

    Comment by saptarshi — February 6, 2007 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  15. Hi Kaveetaa.. I did not realize the depth of the issue of racism in the UK… it is sad, that it continues anywhere.

    Comment by North — February 7, 2007 @ 6:08 am | Reply

  16. @ Sapt..exactly. Thats my contention as well..

    Look beyond the derma-graphics..Hey new term! Remember you read it here first! a la anchors of channels.:)” Remember..we were the first to report on this”..clap clap.

    It is truly sad North and if I may add belies our claim to evolution..Isnt it?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 7, 2007 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  17. Yes Kaveetaa.. sure enough!

    Comment by North — February 7, 2007 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  18. […] of Jade Goody in this BIGG Boss season 2 with Shilpa Shetty now as Boss when not so long ago the latter faced racial attacks of the crassiest level from the former at the Big Brother counterpart wh… That it helped catapult Shilpa into a league of the of a Superstar internationally softens the […]

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  19. […] Goody in this BIGG Boss flavour 2 with Shilpa Shetty today as Boss when not so daylong past the latter visaged interracial attacks of the crassiest take from the past at the Big monastic duplicati… That it helped arbalist Shilpa into a association of a Superstar internationally softens the […]

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