Shilpa Shetty... the coolest one!

Here's yet another feather in Shilpa Shetty's illustrious cap. According to the 'Cool Brands Council' in Britain, the dusky beauty is "one of the coolest things to happen to humankind over the last year".

Here's yet another feather in Shilpa Shetty's illustrious cap. According to the 'Cool Brands Council' in Britain, the dusky beauty is "one of the coolest things to happen to humankind over the last year".

Yes, Shilpa Shetty has joined an exclusive list of the 'coolest celebrities' chosen by the British public and the Council –a group of style gurus, designers and commentators from Britain. This puts her amongst the likes of world famous sportsman David Beckham, supermodel Kate Moss and the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and makes her the first Indian ever to bag this honour.

No wonder Shilpa's indefatigable publicist Dale Bhagwagar is beaming with enthusiasm. "Wow. So now, India's 'hottest figure' is Britain's 'coolest girl'," he exclaims with a broad smile. "That's some kinda temperature fluctuation, but being her publicist, I simply love it," he adds.

"Shilpa isn't aware of this list yet, but it sure would be flattering for her," quips the PR expert.

Had there been a similar list of the 'coolest' in India, we wonder if she would have found place here too? Especially with the likes of the Khans, the Bachchans (and no, we aren't taking a dig at Ash), Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji around! Coz these names are associated with all the big banners and brands, whereas Shilpa is yet to pick up the big ones post-'Big Brother'.

But expect her publicist to come up with an ace counter to this. "Shilpa was already a big name in India before 'Big Brother' happened. She has had her lot of die-hard fans; some for her acting abilities, some for her sex-appeal, some for her dusky looks, some for her perfect physique and some for her dance talents. It's just that after 'Big Brother', her popularity zoomed worldwide. It was kind of a transition of her image from actress to diva. Actually, it is her fans and public, who have put her on this pedestal. She's remained the same person. But perceptions have changed. Suddenly, everyone expects the world out of her," the publicist comments.

So does he believe, Shilpa will be able to live up to these great expectations? "I guess, she's doing fine on the progress chart. One step at a time – and strong steps, indeed. Two of her movies, 'Metro' and 'Apne', released this year. 'Metro' got her a lot of critical acclaim and proved to be a big success at the box-office, while 'Apne' did extremely well in North India. Since then, she launched her perfume S2 in UK; delved into production and made a DVD video on yoga for the UK and Dubai market under her banner S2 Global Productions; walked the ramp for Tarun Tahiliani at the Fashion Week in Delhi; and recently presented the 'One X One Difference Award' to Richard Gere at a grand fund-raising charity event in Toronto. Next month, she will premiere her broadway musical 'Miss Bollywood' in Berlin, Germany," Dale informs.

But what about films? "The Press sometimes tends to overlook that Shilpa has turned entrepreneur. It's not correct to always equate an actor's work with films. However, having said that, Shilpa has been going through umpteen scripts at the moment. Some of them from UK and others from US. She would be playing the role of Sita in Uru Patel's international venture 'Hanuman' and you'll also hear more announcements soon. She's also keen to play more impacting roles in Bollywood."

But then, many feel that Shilpa is a bigger name in the UK than in India? "That is a fact. Every Brit, from a businessman to a labourer, is aware of her today. The self-respect and dignity with which she conducted herself during 'Big Brother' has made her a household name in UK and a darling of the masses. The country looks up to her as an icon. But let us not forget that whatever Shilpa has made of herself in UK is because of her rich upbringing in India".

Well, must say, it's the right attitude that makes Shilpa 'the coolest' one.

-Sneha Hazarika (SAMPURN)

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