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What’s cooking in Bollywood'

According to a cook book being promoted in Britain on the strength of the Bollywood connection, Shah Rukh Khan loves tandoori chicken, the way it’s done with a “spicy coating and smoky flavour” by chef Jitendra Kumar of Taj Land’s End.

Hrithik Roshan is partial to phirni, while Jaya Bachchan has provided a Bengali recipe, prawns in green vegetables (she should soon be able to sit back and let Ash do all the hard work).

Rahul Bose loves shaami kebabs made according to a recipe passed to him by a close friend whose mother prepares the “best shaami kebabs” in the world.

Such intelligence is to be found in The Bollywood Cookbook by food and travel writer, Bulbul Mankani (published by Kyle Cathie; £18.99), which reveals what sustains 19 of India’s screen legends. The book has a foreword by Shyam Benegal.

The girl of the moment, Shilpa Shetty, has offered her very own recipe for spicy French beans. This was done long before her entry into Celebrity Big Brother.

It is served hot, with fish curry and rice. After all the ingredients are prepared, Shilpa suggests covering the pan and simmering gently for 10 minutes.

We are told that Shilpa’s mother, Sunanda (who is in London to collect her daughter), “has a clever tip to know when the dish is done. She puts a cup of water on the saucepan lid and waits until the water evaporates”.)

Shilpa has been spicy enough on Celebrity Big Brother, telling the American actor, Dirk Benedict, who thoughtfully offered his pyjamas to the Bollywood diva who had packed all her clothes in anticipation of an eviction which never happened: “You can’t get me into your bed, so you are trying to get me into your clothes.”

Waxing lyrical

In between reading the favourable reviews of his KBC debut, Shah Rukh Khan will have to find time to do, at least, one two-hour sitting for Madame Tussaud’s, which hopes to have his waxwork model ready for a gala unveiling in April.

“It could be in London or in Mumbai,” says Ben Lovett, spokesman for Madame Tussaud’s. “As ‘King Khan’ continues to break all Bollywood box office records, we are thrilled that he will take part in a sitting with Tussaud’s Studios’ sculptors in February.”

Numerous photographs will be taken of Shah Rukh, the size of his head (and ego) measured accurately and discussions held with him about the right wardrobe for the model. The hair will be implanted, on the model that is, strand by strand.

This is just a coincidence but Shah Rukh is following Amitabh Bachchan into the museum which also has a model of Aishwarya Rai. They have proved to be two of the most popular exhibits, with guests queuing to have their photographs taken alongside the two stars.

Shah Rukh’s model will be “interactive”, too. That of the Australian singer, Kylie Minogue, voted Britons’ “favourite Aussie” in a poll last week, gives off the fragrance of her perfume, Darling.

After Shah Rukh’s triumphant takeover of KBC, the superstar could be forgiven for wanting to exude the aura of smugness.

There is no plan yet to put Shilpa Shetty in Madame Tussaud’s but she could be a good candidate for the future, seeing she is now just about the most famous Bollywood actress in Britain, if not the world.

ROLE MODEL: Keira Knightley

Notoriety rules

The route to success in contemporary Britain for many young people lies either in becoming a footballer or a WAG (wife or girlfriend of footballer).

Had Danielle Lloyd, 23, not forfeited her Miss Great Britain title, she would have gone on to represent her country — in Shilpa’s words, “a scary thought”. But it was more important for her to set out to become the girlfriend of the West Ham footballer, Teddy Sheringham, 40, one of the judges at her beauty contest.

Sheringham’s son is only four years younger than Danielle who has declared her ambition of marrying his father. It was precisely because Danielle was stripped of her title (she also broke the rules by posing for Playboy) that she was invited to be a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

As such, she will be role model for many young girls who believe the path to fame and fortune lies not through studying hard for a degree in English or mathematics but gaining an acceptable degree of notoriety.

There is almost an understanding between models and actresses and the paparazzi who pursue them for the celebrity-fuelled tabloids and magazines. The latest trend is for some young women to be photographed, accidentally on purpose, getting in and out of cars without their underwear on.

The influence celebrities exercise over impressionable young people is huge. This is why Britain’s most talented young actress, Keira Knightley, 21, a real celebrity, has sued the Daily Mail. The paper had allegedly suggested she had not been honest with her fans, who might also develop either anorexia or an eating disorder by trying to copy her skinny body shape.

As for Jade Goody, it is the media which turned her into a celebrity after she appeared as a poorly educated and overweight 20-year-old on Big Brother back in 2002. With estimated earnings of £8 million since then, she has been able to buy a big mansion and big limousines, and have two children with a TV presenter now discarded in favour of a toyboy of 19.

She intends to go to India to say sorry in person now that the Indian government has issued her a visa. Reports that her career is over may be premature. Although achievement sells well in modern Britain, notoriety often sells better.

At my local newsagent, I bought three magazines for teenage girls, New!, Now and Star, which ran cover stories hailing “The End of Jade”. In subsequent weeks, there could be cover stories on, “Can Jade really reform'”, “Jade in India”, “Indian healing the Jade way”, and “Jade’s recipe for chicken tikka masala”.

Rang de Bafta

Since all our attention was focussed on the failure of Rang De Basanti to make it on to the Oscars’ shortlist for the Best Foreign Film (it’s ironic that India is represented by Deepa Mehta’s Water, which could not be shot in India), it has perhaps escaped our attention that the Rakeysh Mehra-directed movie did secure a Bafta nomination in the category, “Film not in the English language”.

It will be a surprise if it wins against Apocalypto, Black Book (Zwartboek), Pan’s Labyrinth and Volver.

The Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards are the British equivalent of the Oscars.

We can be sure Indian films will win at the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) awards in Yorkshire in June this year.

Tittle tattle

As with the trans-Atlantic relationship, India and England are two countries divided by a common language — English. Shilpa Shetty’s conversation is peppered with “Shut up!” (at least six in one hour). What is acceptable in Bombay as friendly banter, “Chup kar, yaar”, sounds less polite in England — it’s used when someone really wants the other person to “Shut up!”

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