Paris Hilton at Mumbai airport on Monday. (Fotocorp)
Mumbai, Dec. 3: Gordon Brown should thank Mumbai for exacting revenge on his behalf.
Several Mumbaikars today mistook Paris Hilton — who once famously, and apparently in jest, mixed up the then British Prime Minister with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay — for Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Hurley.
One man even confidently said she was Hillary Clinton.
None in the 500-strong crowd that jostled for a glimpse knew the identity of the blonde who paid a visit to the city’s favourite elephant god at Siddhivinayak temple this afternoon.
But Hilton, who once described herself as an “iconic blonde — like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana” were — shouldn’t take too much umbrage. Last week, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, was mistaken for Boris Becker and the “King of England” at a temple in New Delhi.
Brown would probably be chuckling.
After her Gordon gaffe — if gaffe it was — Hilton had explained that she got confused because she had eaten at Ramsay’s restaurant earlier that day. “I know exactly who Gordon Ramsay is, I know exactly who Gordon Brown is… I just say jokes but they think I’m serious which I think is funny…” she had said.
Ballu Shinde was, however, dead serious. The stall owner entrusted with the shoes and sandals of members of Hilton’s entourage was sure the visitor was the US secretary of state. Hilton, he thought, was kind of an abbreviation of Hillary and Clinton.
Hilton, who wore a saffron stole printed with Sanskrit shlokas around her neck and a saffron bindi on her forehead, walked barefoot for at least 20 metres to enter the shrine.
Narayan Kale, the priest who helped her with the puja at the temple’s sanctum sanctorum, said she prayed to Ganapati Bappa eyes closed and hands folded. “We gave her prasadam… she accepted it devoutly with both hands. Then she went to the two giant silver mice (the god’s mount) in the temple and whispered her wishes into their ears.”
Hilton landed around 7.30 this morning after a trip to Goa and checked into Land’s End, preferring the Taj Group hotel to her family-owned Hilton International. She also visited Ashray, an orphanage for vulnerable children, where she danced to Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One number Chhammak Chhallo. “I loved her hair and the hair band she wore,” said Pooja, a nine-year old who garlanded Hilton when she arrived.
“She brought gifts and toys for each of the 40 children. The kids were delighted,” said Cherie Pereira, an official of CCDT, the trust that runs Ashray.
Hilton and her boyfriend, Spanish model River Viipera, sat through a cultural performance. “I am so happy to be here and meet you all. It is holiday time and Christmas is coming. I hoped you liked the presents,” she told the kids.