This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

          She was in the world of films.  For how long, one wouldn't know without some research !  She is reasonably pretty, but prettiness isn't the only criterion to get a role in a film.  Indian  cinema is a highly competitive business and one can't enter into it like you walk into a room.


          Unable to get any significant part in films, she volunteered to sit as one of the judges for some fashion and dance functions.


          Then came a reality show called "The Big Brother" in London.  She was invited.  Since nothing else was  on hand at that time, she accepted the offer and found herself the odd woman-in in a British band  of young women  She swallowed insults and  abuses; she had to rather, because of her skin and nationality.  But she stood up and fought using the same language as others.  She had the gift of the gab.  Whole of England sided with her and defended her.  And  presto, she became the winner of the reality show bagging some 75,000 British pounds.


           Overnight she had become a celebrity.  She is now the best known Indian in Britain.


           A less known Indian film actress, she  has become  the Star of the world and the darling of the crowd and  all these just like that.  So much so,  even the British Prime Minister granted her an audience.


            She shone outside the Big Brother house too.  Has been able to mix the modern and traditional  Indian clothes.   While she was inside the  BB House, she wandered in long kurta (A popular upper garment  for ladies in India)) teamed with jeans.  This combination has now become almost the working woman's uniform in the western world.


             Shilpa always selected her clothes very judiciously making sure that there  was a good dose of Indinness in what she wore.


             On the grand finale of the Big Brother show, Shilpa appeared wearing a kaftan (Another ladies' apparel) with Indian embellishment while all the  eyes of the world  were on her.


               Shilpa turned out  to be an Indian personified.  Her patriotism has set  a trend of sorts in women's clothes. A  London garment store has reported that the demand for kaftans has suddenly shot up.  "Customers are asking for ‘Shilppa kaftan'."


              Shilpa has also become a fashion setter. She has adopted a fusion of   kurtis  with long skirts.  Since women are eager to wear what Shilpa wears, she argues, that she is going in for that kind of dress which will be affordable for an average middle class working woman.


              Clothes apart, Shilpa has introduced  Indian dancing to her Western audience.and there lies another trend -set.  Recently (12 December 07, to be exact) she had organized a musical concert called Miss Bollywood at Royal Albert Hall, London.The performance was scintillating and the  mesmerized audience repeatedly cheered Shilpa along with her troupe of 40 members.  She is also setting up a dance academy in East London


              That's Shilpa shetty for you and she had made herself  an icon  in the western world and in particular in the UK. Most of Europe also  knows her very well.


              So, why not the Cheers readers  !!


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                                                                 Israel Jayakaran (Sweet grace)