Bollywood star mobbed as she is honoured

AWARD ceremonies are usually pretty staid affairs, none more so if it’s a university when some academic or other is receiving an honorary degree or such like.

But the tradition of laid back approval went out the window last week when

Indian beauty Preity Zinta, the Bollywood screen star and humanitarian, received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London.

The newly crowned Dr Zinta was mobbed by hundreds of adoring fans at the Docklands campus, signing countless autographs and taking time out to be photographed with many in the crowd.

And she got unending applause as she was called to collect her award from UEL Vice-Chancellor Patrick McGhee.

She is well-known in the Indian media for openly expressing sometimes controversial opinions on a range of issues, including the role of women in Indian society, In 2003 she was the only witness not to retract in court her earlier statements against the Indian Mafia during the Bharat Shah case, for which she was awarded the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award.

She revealed to being “incredibly humbled” by the award of and pledged to use the accolade to forge a positive relationship with the university.

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The screen star and social campaigner told journalists: “In my career I have always won awards for films. This is the first time I’ve received something for my cultural contribution or for my humanitarian work, so this is always going to be extremely special to me.”

She added: “I hope I can continue to be part of this university in times to come.”

Mr McGhee said: “Zinta has earned this award, she will wear it with distinction, and it was not given lightly.”