MUMBAI: When 58-year-old Oprah Winfrey came down to India in January this year to capture a slice of life, little did she realize that ‘her perspective’ would end up showing the country in poor light offending most Indians. She did a special two-part TV show on The Oprah titled ‘Next Chapter: India’. The programme was initially shown in the US this April, but premiered in India over the weekend. And after the telecast here, her show has been dubbed ‘myopic’, ‘unaware’, ‘ignorant’ and even ‘snobbish’ and ‘snooty’.
The programme shows Oprah’s first visit to the country, where she met people in the slums on one end and Bollywood royalty on the other. She also engaged in a sari fitting with a top designer. The episode opens with shots of crowded roads filled with painted elephants, snake charmers and cows roaming the streets. This very much set the tone for how she views the country.
[pullquote_right]Oprah questioned “I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?” [/pullquote_right]
Oprah used the word I am going to ‘experience’ India, and public’s outcry was, “What is India some alien land on Mars?”
In another scene, Oprah visits the Hegdes, a family of five living in a 10-by-10-foot room in a slum in Mumbai. “When I stepped in the door I was thinking, ‘OK, where is the house? Where’s the rest of the house?’ And then I realized I was already in it,” Winfrey says in the episode. A spokeswoman for Harpo, the company that produces ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’, said in a statement, “The intention of the program was to explore the beautiful culture and spirit of the country.”
Indian celebrities took to reacting through Twitter:
Shobhaa De: “Oprah’s Last Chapter! That’s what angry Indians r calling the much hyped bt ridiculously shabby show. Oprah has lost her groove. Honey, pack up!”
Actress Sandhya Mridul: ‘Dear @Oprah yes many of us still eat with our hands just as many of you use your hands to massacre people in a movie hall!’
Mini Mathur: ‘It’s time to unfollow @Oprah.’
Actress Maria Goretti : ‘it is so sad that someone as inspirational as @oprah just did not get the pulse of India, her loss completely ..’