South Asia

Michelle Obama a 'hit' in India

Michelle Obama dances with children in Mumbai
Image caption Michelle Obama has been named the 'dancing queen' for her moves on the floor

While the US president talked trade and politics during his visit to the Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai, First Lady Michelle Obama won hearts and minds.

In Delhi, she walked through the crafts museum with a group of schoolgirls, taking turns to hold each one's hand.

Mrs Obama told the girls to study hard and said she liked to exercise because "women have to stay strong".

Over the weekend in Mumbai, she danced to Bollywood music with commentators declaring her "an undisputed hit".

Photographs of the 46-year-old have appeared in the press showing her wearing a range of outfits from a sober grey tunic to a bright turquoise dress.

Most papers were complimentary about her clothes style.

Videos of the First Lady dancing have been repeatedly aired on Indian news channels, with one leading station describing it as "the defining image of the Obamas' maiden visit to India".

India Today magazine drew attention to her "emotional appeal" with a headline saying, "Michelle steals Barack thunder".

"Obama appeals to the head, Michelle touches the heart, despite her formidable intelligence," the magazine said, praising her "inordinate warmth" and calling the couple "a perfect team at work".

Earlier in Mumbai, she won hearts when she participated in a Bollywood-style boogie with children at a centre run by a charity.

Describing her as a "dancing queen", the Economic Times newspaper said: "Twice in two days, the First Lady demonstrated that she could swing to desi beats with the best of them.

"While the anticipation around the First Couple's visit had mainly centred around the president, it's Michelle who has turned out to be a pleasant - and decidedly graceful - surprise.

"Her spirit and spontaneity have provided a breath of fresh air in a visit that could easily have been stultified by protocol," the paper said.

Indian author and commentator Shobhaa De described the visit as "a charm offensive".

"She succeeded spectacularly," Ms De was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.

"What came across in her interaction with average Indians was her ability to think on her feet and respond intuitively."

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