Jade Goody and a charm offensive

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Jade Goody in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Jade Goody in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mandira Nayar

British `star', on a short visit to Delhi, seeks to do all the right things

NEW DELHI: It is all about publicity. Shilpa Shetty may have had her 15 minutes of fame in the West with `Celebrity Big Brother', and now Jade Goody has come to India to get hers.

Ms. Goody is here on a much publicised "private visit". "I came here... not to improve my image," she said at a press conference on Tuesday evening, after having been trailed by a battery of television camera persons during her visit to slums in different parts of the city, where two non-governmental organisations have been working.

Ms. Goody said her visit was not an attempt to assuage her guilt feelings.

The money that she got from the show and the interviews after that was "dirty" and she would donate it all to charities.

Hands-on experience

"It could have been easy for me to write a cheque from the comfort of my home to charity. But I thought I would go and get a hands-on experience and see with my own eyes. I can now understand and know where my money is going," she said.


Asked if she would visit Ms. Shetty, Ms. Goody said she had been informed that she had been invited, but had no plans on this trip to visit the actor.

"I am sorry for the hurt I caused Shilpa and her family," she said.

Not on a pleasure trip, Ms. Goody spent her day visiting slums in the city.

"If I had not done the Big Brother, I wouldn't have learnt. I didn't think what I said was racist and would hurt many people. But who am I to say what is racist?," she said candidly.

Overwhelmed by the children she met at Anubhav, an NGO that looks after runaway children living on the railway track, Ms. Goody said that the visit had put things in perspective for her. Going beyond just making a public apology, she did what most celebrities hate doing exposing her weakness. "The children have asked me for things, I would like to get them. They want to educate themselves... like I need to do," she said, adding that she had given $ 50,000 to one charity.

Shilpa Shetty's take

AP reports:

Her nemesis on the show, Ms. Shetty has said that Ms. Goody would find India a tolerant and cultured country.

"Shilpa says that India is full of very tolerant and cultured people and everyone is welcome," her spokesman said.

Ms. Shetty won the TV contest after being confined in a house for about three weeks with Ms. Goody and other participants.

Ms. Goody outraged the public and sparked allegations of racism after she bad-mouthed Ms. Shetty's cooking and mocked her accent.

According to the spokesman, Ms. Shetty has moved on since the incident.

"Shilpa doesn't hold grudges or animosity against anyone," he said. "She has moved on after `Big Brother.'"

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