Mumbai: As a winner of Celebrity Big Brother, one might imagine Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty would have more than a passing interest in the work of George Orwell.
Shetty was the winning housemate in the fifth series of the reality TV show, named after the totalitarian leader in Orwell’s 1984. During the 2007 series she became the centre of an international row amid accusations she had been the victim of bullying by fellow housemates Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd.
She has now become the focal point of a social media storm after her comments about Orwell’s Animal Farm went viral in recent days.
The Mumbai Times asked Shetty for her views on the inclusion of characters from popular culture in a new reading syllabus for schoolchildren in India.
She replied: “I think having books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter as part of the syllabus is a great move because it cultivates imagination and creativity at a young age. I thinks books like Little Women would also encourage respect towards women at a young age.
“Even Animal Farm should be included as it will teach the little ones to love and care for animals.”
Her apparent suggestion that Animal Farm, Orwell’s celebrated analogy of the Russian revolution, was chiefly concerned with animal welfare, led to an outpouring of mockery on Twitter, where #ShilpaShettyReviews became the top trending hashtag across India.