Actors and actresses




The reality TV star and actress is in Leeds for the start of the 'Bollywood Oscars' where she is promoting her latest film Apne
Photo: © AFP
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Many of India's best-loved film stars will be arriving in a specially commissioned train, which was appropriately launched by the cast of new Hindi flick The Train
Photo: © AFP

Shilpa is star attraction as Bollywood Oscars come to Yorkshire

7 JUNE 2007

Bollywood's biggest names have started to descend on Yorkshire for the four-day International Indian Film Academy Awards - known as the Bollywood Oscars - which will be watched by some 500 million people around the world. And taking centre stage in Leeds on Wednesday was Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty who's in town to promote her new Hindi-language film Apne.

Surrounded by adoring fans the Tamil Nadu-born actress - who is apparently considering buying a house in the UK - managed to look unflustered despite her luggage not arriving. "I'm in dire straits right now," she said. "My bags haven't arrived, so I've no make-up, nothing. I've begged and borrowed but I had to be here - I couldn't not come."

And the former reality show contestant, who received a heroine's welcome, seems very taken by her first trip up north. "This is the first time I've been here," she said. "I really love it - it's so green. I am so happy people have been kind enough to invite us here." In addition to attending Saturday's awards ceremony in Sheffield, the actress is also due to host a party in Leeds on Friday night to celebrate her 32nd birthday.

Also attending the awards - which take place in various northern cities - are Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, revered in his native country as "The Big B", his actor son Abhishek and his new wife Aishwarya Rai.

Among the highlights of the next few days will be a cricket match involving some of India's best-loved thespians. Many are arriving in York on a specially commissioned train which was unveiled at London's Kings Cross Station on Wednesday by stars of Indian thriller The Train, including Geeta Basra, Emraan Hashmi and Sayali Bhagat.

In addition to UK-based fans - Britain is now the second-biggest market for Indian movies - 30,000 overseas Bollywood aficionados are expected to make the journey to Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, York and Hull for the awards, which kick off on Thursday. Previous venues for the event have included Amsterdam and Dubai.

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