The first Indian to enter the Celebrity Big Brother show, Shilpa Shetty hit the bull’s eye at the end of 26 days of tension-filled existence in the company of some unfriendly housemates. She was voted winner by 63 per cent of an estimated one million viewers.
She shrieked, "Thank God, thank God," as Davina McCall of BB announced, “You are the winner, Shilpa”. She and Jermaine Jackson were the last two left in the house after Dirk Benedict, a favourite to win at the start of the show, was evicted.
It was Jackson who sprang up first as Shilpa was named the winner to embrace and congratulate her. To his ‘you deserved it’, she said “You are not kidding”.
He was not, for when he came out and gave his interview he praised Shilpa for her “generosity”, despite the taunts and jibes of Jade Goody and her two accomplices. "You can’t mix class," he added when referred to the jibes by Jade, Danielle and Jo.
He confirmed what most believe here that Jade’s crude remarks did bring her into focus and evoked sympathy for her, but at the end of the day it was Shilpa’s restraint in the face of personal attacks and her elegant conduct that won her the title.
As she emerged wearing a long red coloured sequined kurta and greenish blue churidars with an armlet and "kamardhani" Shilpa looked pretty. Fireworks weaved a kaleidoscope in the sky as fans who had gathered in large numbers greeted her with cries of 'Shilpa, Shilpa'.
“Thank you, thank you, I love you. It’s your win,” she responded with folded hands. There were cries of “chicken curry for you”, a reference to the ruckus Jade had made over the dish Shilpa had cooked inside the house.
She left the house to a roar of applause—in stark contrast to the eerie silence that greeted her chief tormentor Jade Goody when she was voted out last Friday. Shilpa seemed shocked when told of the outcry caused by her treatment, and said that she didn't want Goody to be branded a racist.
“I really do not want to leave England putting anyone in trouble. This country has given me so much. It gave me the opportunity to make my country proud,” she said.
Some people shouted, "It's a fix". Such dissenting voices were drowned by the Indian support. Shafiq Mohuyddin from Luton said he was "appalled" by some of the comments. Carrying an Indian flag, Sukhraj Hyare from Leamington Spa said Goody, O'Meara and Lloyd had shown they were "ignorant of the Indian community".
Shilpa said: “I just want to thank them for all their support. I’m very proud to be an Indian, and I’m very proud of my colour. I just want them to know that there is no need for them to feel what they feel. As long as you carry your self with dignity, with kindness in your heart you really can’t go wrong, so it doesn’t matter what people think of you”.