For years together, Amitabh Bachchan has been the biggest force in Bollywood and Aishwarya Rai (now his bahu), the face of Bollywood, to the Westerners. But when Shilpa Shetty went on to win the reality show Big Brother in UK all that quickly changed.
When Shilpa"s publicist Dale Bhagwagar publicly admitted for the first time that what his client was facing behind the four walls of the Big Brother house was indeed racism, he fired up a gigantic hype for her in UK media. Taking advantage of the sympathy-factor in the controversy, he hammered every move of hers in the media. This further generated a storm of public emotions, which was felt in India only after the whole hoopla was created abroad.
Resultantly, by the time Shilpa emerged a winner on the show, she was an icon, 'the diva from India" who had suddenly 'replaced" the Bachchans as the 'face of Bollywood".
Next year, the actress popularly went on to anchor Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother. Apparently, the bitterness of the Bachchans was clearly visible at the next IIFA Awards (with the Big B also being its ambassador) which co-incidentally took place in UK that year. It is said that the deafening chants for Shilpa Shetty, made the Bachchans insecure and embarrassed them, as they felt terribly ignored. To add to the awkwardness, a fan of Shilpa flew a mini airplane above the IIFA awards venue, tagged with a huge flying banner greeting her. No wonder, in spite of the Bachchan"s past affinity towards Shilpa, they kept distance from her during most of the event.
Two years have passed since then, but the Bachchans don"t seem to have forgotten the embarrassment. And now, in the strangest development of sorts, Amitabh Bachchan, the biggest star India has ever produced, is gearing up to step into Shilpa"s shoes. After successfully anchoring the king of all shows; Kaun Banega Crorepati, Bachchan is said to be preparing to anchor Bigg Boss, clearly considered to be Shilpa Shetty"s domain till now.
Now why would a megastar like Amitabh Bachchan want to take over anchoring a show, which Shilpa was so popular with? One can"t help but wonder if this is sweet revenge!