Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why India needs a Paris Hilton.... !!




Like millions of viewers across India,I am an absolute sucker for reality shows on television. Especially the ones featuring B- and C- grade ‘celebrities’ making complete asses of themselves (and us!), while getting paid for their monkey tricks. But the one reality show I would love to watch in future involves a creature who is unique and compelling in a way that defies logic or reason. That show would be ‘‘The Search for India’s Paris Hilton.” I’m certain Ms. Hilton herself would gladly play judge if the money is right. For she, more than any human being on earth, has mastered the unsubtle art of playing the celebrity game – and winning! Paris is a cultural phenomenon. Paris parties 24x7. It is a full- time , highly- paid job. Paris makes serious money jetting around the world (from Tokyo to Timbucktoo), attending glamourous soirees thrown by complete strangers.The big bucks she makes exceed the fat pay cheques pocketed by corporate honchos with a string of degrees to their credit. Her party calendar is so over- booked she requires an entire team of social secretaries to sort out her dates. Since she has to make a living out of attending parties, Paris also needs the services of various stylists who create daily ‘looks’ for her. These specialists come at a hefty price – but in the case of Paris, it is her only investment in the multi-million dollar Paris Hilton Industry – which produces, packages and sells just one single product – Paris herself!
What makes Paris special? Is it the bottle blond hair? The stylish frocks? Sexy shoes? Crazy quotes? Size zero figure? It is of course, all this … but that still does not explain the hold she has over her fans spread across the world, who follow her every move in a manic and obsessive way. The minute Paris steps out in public, her pictures are all over cyber space. She is perhaps one the most watched person on earth, along with Barrack Obama, or more accurately, Michelle Obama. That is quite an achievement for a person whose calling card probably states “ Party Girl’’ as her profession. Deconstructing the Paris phenomenon, it is somewhat difficult to figure out why Paris and Paris alone , makes big bucks by merely showing up somewhere. Why does her presence generate acres of publicity? It is said by awestruck Paris-watchers that any host who manages to get Paris to a party, hogs instant international paparazzi attention and ups his\her own glam quotient overnight. It’s a win-win situation for both. So, what has Paris herself done to create such a powerful brand? Analysts say she cleverly used the Hilton name to project a rich-bitch image that appealed to an ever - growing aspirational class across the globe. Through shrewdly-scripted reality shows on television, she capitalized on people’s fascination for the lives of the rich, famous and ditzy. Paris is no dumb blond. But she used the dumb blond platform to promote herself worldwide – and it worked!Today, she can sell anything from perfumes to couture – even though she flopped miserably as a movie star and popstar. And despite sleazy sex videos of Paris with an ex-flame being all over the net at one time. Notoriety did not kill Paris.
In India, the celeb game is being played by rank amateurs. Apart from high flying Bollywood stars and top cricketers, most of the others hankering for a picture on Page 3, are left languishing on the sidelines after an initial burst that sees them getting featured on a nauseatingly regular basis. Their claim to fame can be the acquisition of the latest ‘It’ bag, or a particularly daring designer gown. They thrown open their wardrobes for glossy photo shoots, provide crass details about the lakhs spent on a clutch, pose vulgarly with their labels on display, and boast about their designer gear.The few who had cracked the formula earlier, are the has- beens of today who have reduced themselves to jokes by resorting to silly tricks in order to stay in the public eye. Page 3 photographers have the most amusing stories to narrate about the modus operandi of these aggressive wannabes who court them with designer chocolates, cakes and flowers. Page 3 reporters also laugh over the obvious manner in which they are wooed by desperate socialites who embarrass them on their birthdays and anniversaries. But those who are really, really serious about playing the celeb game invest in hiring p.r. agencies to boost their personal ratings via daily ‘leaks’ and feeds. If readers wonder how reporters happen to land up at supposedly private parties at precisely the right time, there is always a friendly p.r. person providing key details about the venue, guestlist, even menu!! Bollywood stars are brilliant at exploiting this strategy, be it ‘surprise’ birthday parties or even midnight proposals on bended knee. Certain corporate types are also known to chase Page 3 journos and demand why their pictures were not used! The truly desperate stop at nothing – even gate- crashing glittering events armed with gigantic floral displays. Once inside, they stick to the host, making sure at least one picture gets clicked with the VIP. Art shows have become the latest hunting ground of Page 3 chasers. The regulars go from one gallery to the next, drinking free wine and hogging canapés –paintings are the last thing on their minds. There is a whole tribe of these freebiewallahs who preen and pose for the cameras and offer soundbytes to any and every channel. You can see them muscling their way into a venue and standing put next to the chief guest till the camerapersons leave the premises. Often, they time their arrival with camera crews and vanish the moment the all-important photo-ops are over. Fashion shows, boutique openings, fashion weeks, restaurant launches – this is their turf. Publicity is their oxygen.
But till such time as a desi Paris Hilton emerges and the world gets hooked, local celebs will continue to languish as pale imitations of the real thing.

***************************

Guys.... here comes a shameful confession. No, not of the Tiger Woods variety, sorry to disappoint you! But.... but.... I missed my flight to Melbourne! And I only realised it when I was five minutes away from the airport last night. It can happen,Okay? I am numbers challenged and I got the a.m. - p.m. thing all wrong. In other words, I got to the airport twelve hours too late. But, you know what??This glitch gave me the much needed breathing time to catch up with myself, and attend to routine, boring, domestic stuff. I'm now leaving tomorrow morning, inshallah. God wanted me to be here for some reason today. Shall let you know as soon as I find out.

38 comments:

pissed with politics!! said...

http://dareindianpolitics.blogspot.com/ check this out its more meaning ful than what shobha writes!!

gaelikaa said...

I never would have thought that 'being a celebrity' could be a profession.

NIM said...

too bad about the flight. :(

However I don't think we need a Paris Hilton. If you watch Mtv Roadies then more or less every 'wannabe' person there is a Paris Hilton. Or even Bigg Boss. The only difference is that she pays to be in the spotlight(and recovers pretty fast) whereas these buffoons have no consistency!

Peter Williams Amalraj said...

Ma'am.. i don't think you have to glorify the so-called celebrity game played by Ms.Hilton.. She's no superlative than the B and C grade celebs of the reality(goofed-up) shows.. Just because of the paparazzi attention she gets (or presumed to have got), it doesn't mean she's someone to be proud of..


This is one of the worst write-ups from you after that pointless comparison in "Why Aamchi Mumbai is like Rani Mukherjee".. I've been following your blog since i came to know about this from your articles in "The Week" almost a year back.. since then i had been much impressed by certain articles and equally unhappy with occassional craps like this :(..

Though I liked your take on most issues when it comes to supporting(more appropriately justifying) Rani Mukherjee(dil bole hadippa), Freida Pinto or Paris Hilton.. i view them to be hypocritical.. Hope a better article from you the next time..

Pallav said...

Paris Hilton is definitely a brand. She is one of the most searched celebrities in Google. Her name is enough to sell anything from perfumes to bikini. I completely agree with Shobhaa ma’am. This is reality and we can’t escape from this. I am not a great fan of Paris Hilton but I do like Kim Kardashian who is equally popular in the West. Thanks!

Pratap said...

So you ARE human after all Shobha! You missed your flight by merely mixing up the am/pm :-)

Have a safe flight tomorrow and a wonderful trip. Look forward to reading all about it. With pictures of course!

Sparkling said...

Notoriety did not kill Paris.

I guess that is her ONLY claim to fame - till date! Why just hysteria? Guess they're still expecting an encore!

ZB said...

This is an Awesome article and this is why we visit ur blog. Keep writing. I agree with you completely. After watching David letterman show with Paris Hilton, i thought she was superdumb.But i do admire her for the image she has created. Afterall she is not what most people think of her. I feel she is that rare shrewd, smart and ruthless( read: thick skinned) businesswoman.

And i feel Tiger woods should be given another chance. The poor guy needs a bit of sympathy. He is human after all. loved reading this TC:)

Pooja said...

From This month to Feb end just be calm , okay i will explain there are sensitive months for all of us .For 7 person (your birthday falls on 7th jan)your sensitive months are january,february,july and August of every year during these months things may not go your way ,so the best way to avoid anything wrong is to avoid negative emotional attitudes,stress,overwork and practice serenity. Practice of serenity should begin one month before your sensitive months begin i.e (Dec),jan, feb,(june),july, August.After a while practice makes perfect you will be able to dilute or even negate negative influences in any area of life be it health or otherwise. Just go back to past and check when did you have major problems personally or professionally you will be surprised most of them (the serious one )would have occured during the months stated above.Hope the info will be of some help to you.God be with you always!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Missing your flight! Now that is a TRANSGRESSION!

I think the word for the day ... nay word for the month... should be "transgression". It is a deliciously all encompassing word! So much said, so economically :)

Politicans especially should use it a lot.

*Aham* said...

u missed the flight... i missed exams the same way... but then.. i laugh at myself... a hearty laugh. blessed are we, that we can laugh at our mistakes. and reason with it.

Mast Che... Amchi De.

**************************************


reality shows... i was called for one such show... some similar show. I was okay with it.. until they called me to an audition and asked me to act a queeny. they presumed gays would be queeny. (petty minds, store big myths... )

I was quick to understand that this was a dig at my sexuality.

And I am no rohit verma... so i moved out...


previously we had sex flicks "reshma ki jawaani" on ganga jamuna theater. now we have to just switch on our tee vee.

Simble!!

jus me... said...

what about Rakhi Sawant? She comes quite close eh?

Haddock said...

Like millions of viewers across India,I am an absolute sucker for reality shows.................
How can you fall for such utter crap.
Can't you see, they are all staged and pre planned.

Read what I have to say in my blog titled "The Indian Express"

BB said...

As Spiderman said, "With great power comes great responsibility". I was expecting more serious/literary writing in your recent blog posting (just like you expect Sachin to score centuries).

BTW, do you have any opinion why Media is not so generous when Sehwag is about to make history (as they are for Sachin)?

narendra shenoy said...

I never thought of this as an industry! Superbly written piece as usual.

And a quick aside. I've been reading a lot of stuff dissing you for various things, including one which archly said your writing is 'mostly attitude and not argument'.

In my case, that is precisely what I like in your writing. It is almost like having a conversation in person. And with a real person at that.

Watertight arguments and logical conclusions are great but it is our feeling for something that makes us human.

Love your stuff. Please, keep going on!

pissed with politics!! said...

http://dareindianpolitics.blogspot.com/ gutsy blog

mahatru said...

Nice post though already read it in Sunday times!!!

Sorry to hear that you missed your flight :( But it is quite incredible that even an attention to detail (not only urself but others too) and smart woman like you can make such mistakes...btw hoz your new cell phone doing!!!

Regards
Entertainment blog

Mukesh Bhatia said...

Wow that was one subject which needed a justice from a persona like you. You gave it a perfect one. I would say Mr.Amar Singh would be one Paris Hilton of India, if this search is not gender specific.
We got to see him in every celeb nights, though least connected.
Feel really sorry for your Aussie flight. This happens with a persons.

Mrinalini said...

You should take part, youd win hands down.

& your writing gets flakier as we speak..take the time to listen to what your readers are saying man!

pissed with politics!! said...

do you want someone who listens to the reader??? then visit this blog http://dareindianpolitics.blogspot.com/ forget shobha de. join me for meaningful writing

cmpershad said...

`That show would be ‘‘The Search for India’s Paris Hilton.” '
Why! Our very own RAKHI SAWANT is there:)

parul said...

Hello...I am a reader from Melbourne who is currently reading Superstar India....Love the feel of the book.....Hope I catch a glimpse of you here:)

Vaudeville of exhilaration said...

I presume many in India share the same reputation as dat of Paris Hilton..And this is how the media and celebrity world functions..So, if a reality show commences in search of India's Paris Hilton,hell lot of ppl are gonna watch..Anyways,these stuffs appear quite funny to me.

numerounity said...

Interesting analysis. Still could not get who will be India' Paris Hilton? :)

India may not need a hilton but a someone like me or young ppl who can bring change...but wait a minute west bengal ko change karna mushkil hi nahi namumkin hai!

Kusum Das said...

The paris article was interesting read in last sunday times's issue.love the wit of Shobha De

pissed with politics!! said...

dareindianpolitics.blogpot.com interesting political issues

anonymous said...

so what was the real point here???? we need a Paris Hilton coz indians suck at playing this dirty celeb-publicity game professionally???? Ms. De ! I am not suggesting that you should live upto what we expect from you but still...you are meant to do lot better job...

DIABLO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orzo said...

I don't get this article. Are you arguing for 'Why India Needs a Paris Hilton' or 'Why the World Needs a desi Paris Hilton? Regardless... Why does anyone need another Paris. Is one not enough?

ridima said...

paris hilton may or may not be dumb. though she definitely capitalises on her fame however more than her engineering her image its the media which does her marketing for her!! anyways we have our rakhi sawant who herself is a non stop atom bomb , something than you can love or hate but cant ignore!! she screams down at you from every reality show her life is like a long reality series!!

ridima said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DIABLO said...

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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