"What is also extraordinary to me is as you move through the streets there is all this sort of chaos, but there is like a level of calmness underneath the chaos." said Oprah Winfrey
After two decades of remarkable work as the most watched talk show host, Oprah Winfrey has finally stepped out of her studio to explore India’s rich culture and heritage.
During her maiden visit to the country earlier this year, the African-American television personality and philanthropist explored two cities – one associated with films and another famous for its medieval monument – for a two-part series “Oprah’s Next Chapter” which airs on Discovery Channel on July 20 and 21.
Describing her visit to the country, Oprah in a statement says: “There is truly no place on Earth like India. It takes hold of your senses from the moment you arrive and never lets go. I appreciate experiencing another culture, seeing that we have different ways of doing things, but in the ways that really matter, our hopes and heart’s desire, we are more alike than different. We live in each other.”
After arriving in the country’s commercial capital Mumbai, Oprah chose to make a trip to the slum clusters where she interacted with a family of five members surviving on a salary of Rs.5,000 a month.
Oprah, who experienced a lot of hardship including living in poverty and being subjected to criminal assault during her childhood, was moved by the plight of the couple and their daughters who live, eat, cook and sleep in an exceedingly small room.
Later, Oprah accepted an invitation to visit a traditional Indian family in which four generations live happily under one roof. She not only interacts with the family members but also partakes of her first hearty Indian meal cooked with love and affection.
Coming to the city where Bollywood films are made, Oprah chose to get up close and personal with film industry’s who’s who.
Talking about Mumbai, Oprah Winfrey says: “What is also extraordinary to me is as you move through the streets there is all this sort of chaos, but there is like a level of calmness underneath the chaos.”
Her meeting with actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, known in the United States for her role in Gurinder Chaddha’s romantic musical film “Bride and Prejudice”, and her husband, at their home was a special one as she gets to meet their newly-born daughter.
Oprah says: “You may think Americans go crazy for famous celebrities. India is a class all by itself. To the billions of fans who hang on their every move, no stars shine as bright as Aish and Abhi.”
In the second episode, Oprah travels to Agra. From the city of Taj Mahal she traverses to the desert State of Rajasthan. She is simply awestruck to see the land where camels and vehicles move side by side.
A lover of architecture, she gets a royal welcome by the royal family. She travels to Vrindavan and observes how Guild for Service runs a shelter which provides a safe haven to more than 100 displaced women.
In the shelter, the displaced women receive job training and get to live in dignity. Oprah gets to meet V. Mohini Giri, a leader in the global women’s movement, who runs the Guild for Service shelter.