*Oprah Winfrey is currently in India till Jan. 22 to shoot an episode of her new OWN series “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”
The talk show host arrived in Mumbai Monday and was welcomed at the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel with a traditional garland, while eight visually challenged boys from the charity Happy Home sang a song “Swagatam” (Welcome) in the ancient Sanskrit language.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, her packed schedule kicked off Monday night with a private visit to the home of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan whose actor son Abhishek and actress wife Aishwarya recently had a baby daughter. The star couple appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” a couple years ago.
“The gracious Oprah Winfrey visits our home, to meet us and bless the baby… warm hearted, endearing… And Oprah in sari, looking lovely! ”, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted Monday night.
Wearing an orange and golden saree gifted by Aishwarya, Winfrey was then driven by the Bachchans to an exclusive private party in her honor hosted by top socialite Parmeshwar Godrej.
The sit-down dinner was attended by some of Bollywood’s leading names including actors Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor and Abhay Deol alongwith actresses Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta and Lara Dutta, among other Mumbai high society figures.
Winfrey’s interaction with Indian celebrities created a minor online buzz. “Met #Oprahwinfrey an awesome woman… spent an unforgettable magical evening in her presence!” well-known director Madhur Bhandarkar posted on his Twitter account.
“Tonight was dinner at the Godrej House wid Oprah Winfrey. Nice 2 see her wear a beautiful Sari :),” actress Preity Zinta (who also hosts her own TV talk show) tweeted.
According to reports, Winfrey’s agenda includes a three-day visit, from Jan 20, at the Jaipur Literature Festival where she is expected to shoot a major portion of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” The India segment is to include an interview with well-known new age author Deepak Chopra to be filmed at the Jaipur City Palace, home of the Jaipur royal family who will also host a special evening for Winfrey and Chopra.
In addition, Winfrey and her accompanying crew are shooting another special, India Experience, which will take them to the Taj Mahal in Agra, the holy city of Rishikesh near the Ganges river, the capital Delhi and Mumbai.
Winfrey landed in India from South Africa where she attended the first ever graduation ceremony of 72 students of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, OWN announced three new series Friday about female firefighters, matchmakers unleashed on a small town, and what constitutes normalcy.
“Lives on Fire” follows female firefighters in California who battle fires even as they keep the home fires burning. “Lovetown, U.S.A.” features matchmakers who visit Kingstown, Ga., to try to match up singles.
“Are You Normal, America?” is a game show in which contestants try to guess what their fellow Americans do, and how common different behaviors are.
The network announced the show at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. The new shows come as OWN tries to improve its audience in its second year, which kicked off with “Oprah’s Next Chapter” scoring the network’s best ratings yet.