“Miss Bollywood” heads west


Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty is having a big year.

U.K. audiences may know her best from Celebrity Big Brother; audiences elsewhere might also remember her from that, what with complaints about racist comments directed toward her in the Big Brother house. Shetty went on to win the series. Here’s that moment:

Shetty’s name also showed up in American newspapers earlier this year after this debacle:

And by debacle, I really mean how puffy Richard Gere is looking. Ugh. But this dip happened at a well-intentioned press conference in New Delhi that was intended to raise awareness about safe sex and HIV prevention, so I shouldn’t mock too much. Despite criticism over that moment (from conservative elements in India who don’t like PDA), Shetty’s career looks to be taking off, especially in the West.

But before I get into that, here’s a look at Shilpa doing what she does best. If you like pretty girls, dancing, and pretty girls dancing together, this one is worth watching. (Just ignore the man who falls out of the tree.)

And here’s the good news for fans of Bollywood glitz in the West: Shetty is taking glamour and dance on tour in her new musical, Miss Bollywood. Advertised as a combination of Moulin Rouge and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Bombay Dreams, the musical aims to bring Bollywood and Indian culture west. (Has anybody seen Bombay Dreams? I shudder to think of Weber’s name attached to a Bollywood-themed project — yes, sometimes I’m that musical snob — but it looks like the people who wrote the book actually have the creds to do a Bollywood project justice. I’d love to hear how it turned out.)

Miss Bollywood will premier in Berlin within the next month and play through the end of the year, then continue on to the West End, Broadway, and one or more stops in Austria Australia (oops, just call me George Bush at OPEC APEC). So there will be chances across a few continents to catch Shetty doing this:

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