Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty really ought to know something about the works of British writer George Orwell. After all, she starred in both Britain's Celebrity Big Brother and its Indian version, Bigg Boss, which reference the unseen and threatening authoritarian figure in Orwell's novel 1984.
Shetty has been ridiculed on social media after she referred in a newspaper column to Orwell's Animal Farm, which is an allegory about the rise of Stalinism in the 1940s. Taking the title at face value, she wrote that the book could teach children about caring for animals. It wasn't long before tweets emerged suggesting that To Kill a Mockingbird is an instruction manual, Fifty Shades of Grey a colouring book and The Life of Pi a mathematics text.
We should give her a break. After all, which one of us has not pretended to have read a book or seen a film simply to impress others? And haven’t we all said or written something that we’ve later regretted? At least Shetty’s intentions were admirable.