Saturday, May 19, 2012

Are desi celebs ready for celebrityhood??

This appeared in the Asian Age today....

Are Indian Celebs ready for celebrityhood...?

What happened at the Wankhede Stadium between Shah Rukh Khan, assorted officials, private body guards, cops, a 53-year-old security guard and a bunch of kids, has been extensively covered across several media platforms, and I’ll not bore you with details . But the latest incident involving a top Bollywood star and local authorities indulging in a pretty nasty public scrap , is definitely worth commenting on since it raises several issues related to our handling of celebrityhood. The very notion of çelebrity is comparatively new to India. Çelebrity, as opposed to fame. Fame is generally linked to achievement, whereas celebrity is a far looser, broader term that embraces notoriety equally. Unfortunately, we have yet to make that distinction when we describe anybody and everybody who has ever had a brush with publicity, as a celebrity. Worse, those very people start believing in their own, inflated sense of importance. I have heard obscure deejays and small time models strutting around at events aggressively demanding, “Get me into the VIP lounge... I am a celebrity.”Quite forgetting the first rule of celebrityhood : If you are indeed a bona fide celebrity, people should recognise you instantly without your having to hit someone on the head with it. Then comes another nauseating desi habit – pompous idiots who try and jump queues bellowing, “Don’t you know who I am?” The classic response to that is, “No, I’m sorry I don’t. Is there someone in the room who can help this person? He doesn’t know who he is?” Our obsession with famous people is understandable. In the old days, the only people who were recognised were politicians. Then came the first generation of Superstars from the film industry,( it wasn’t Bollywood back then), followed by cricketers. That was it. From Pandit Nehru,Dilip Kumar to Pataudi, India’s celebrity roster was pretty slim. What we are seeing today is a totally different ballgame. It is manufactured and media driven with humungous amounts of money involved in promoting certain individuals and protecting them more than other ordinary mortals. Which is why I wasn’t at all surprised when a co-panellist (on Arnab Goswami’s over-heated show, the night of the infamous brawl),glibly educated India on the importance of homegrown celebs. The guy who controls mega deals on behalf of his celeb clients,briskly counted five individuals in the country who represent Brand India internationally ( SRK,Salman Khan,Amitabh Bachchan,Sachin Tendulkar and Aamir Khan). He sported the look of an injured puppy when he asked, “These are our icons... and you want to demolish them?Destroy their brand equity?There are billions riding on these guys.” I nearly wept! Eventually, there was no moral argument left. It was only about safe guarding the financial interests of five individuals in a country of a billion-plus people. And to hell with other issues. Bizarre beyond belief.

Then came the “My daddy, best daddy’ arguments from the SRK groupies on the panel ( most had a financial stake in standing by their man). “He did what any father would do if his daughter was being manhandled,” was the chorus.Now, manhandling is a very serious charge, and if SRK can establish it, the outrage building up against his abusive conduct may peter out. That shouldn’t be too difficult to do given the witnesses and the cameras on the grounds. Equally, let us look at the other side of the coin - it is unfair to accuse SRK of drunken conduct, if that is hard to prove – which it definitely will be, since SRK was not subjected to an alcohol test the same night. So what this is going to lead up to is a whole lot of huffing and puffing on various channels, with brainy film industry types saying they’d rip someone’s head off for touching a child, and other equally sober comments. What is not as amusing is the attempt to polarise the situation by bringing Marathi parochialism into it. I have received nasty reactions from anonymous ( but, of course) viewers asking whether I , as a Maharashtrian, was upset with SRK because of his comment on a Marathi abuse that he said was so terrible he refused to repeat it on camera. I was also asked whether I was enraged by the loss of Mumbai Indians to SRK’s team that night. Hello! What if I said a la Rhett Butler, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”Which is perfectly true. I remain indifferent to cricket and I wish I knew more abuses in Marathi!

God knows where this is going. At the time of writing there are fresh charges rolling in from SRK’s camp. More serious ones. If the security guard ( who has been with the Wankhede stadium for 25 years) is proven guilty of ‘molestation’, that’s the end of this man’s career, and maybe his life.But the public will still be in the dark as to what causes Indian Idols like SRK and others, to lose control in public and then insist they are the real victims because of their celebrity status. He pretty much trotted out the same reasoning recently when he was questioned at the airport in America. Perhaps, he has genuine reason to feel martyred and put upon. It happens. One can forget the upside of celebrity in a flash. All the perks, all the privileges, everything that goes with the elevated position. As a family man who has always placed his children above all else, SRK will no doubt find countless supporters, especially in the film industry and the IPL world, where he is heavily invested, financially and otherwise. Perhaps, he should also consider investing in counselling and anger management, so that if someone or something does provoke him in future, he will do what most others would – report the matter instantly to the police and let the law handle it. Oh... a couple of basic Marathi lessons would help, too.

11 comments:

RajaGopalan said...

Hello Madam, in the hindsight of what has happened at Whankahde on the other night, i feel the matter is blown out of proportion, dragging the issue in different direction to polarize and make things worse. The issue could have been handled amicably in much better way between SRk and MCA....Your article brings out what is the best could have done averting unnecessary issues....Thanks for the fine article

Valli said...

Very well said! Finally the underdog gets some support in this celebrity crazy place!

The Opaque Prism said...

Well,I had seen the discussion and only one or two apart from you were talking sense. The MD of Precept was too say the least, idiotic. So was the police officer. I too am appalled at the way people suddenly make it into a marathi vs. non marathi issue.
But seriously, did it deserve the kind of coverage!There are several serious issues bigger than an actor's melt down.

darkling said...

so much of media coverage and i am still confused about what the guard had exactly done to term it as 'manhandling' and why on earth wud he do that in a stadium full of people,ryt in front of Sharukh's eyes.celebs arnt the nly prob we face today.celeb-kids or the mini celebs think they can rule the world as well,with their demands and tantrums.I wonder what next?Bungee jumping frm Qutub minar or maybe Taj mahal for their wedding.All these people think they r way above the law!!

Pooja Rathore said...

you have gone in depth with the matter and found the culprit- provocation,anger.I liked your take and it rested not on "why" such things happen but on "How" the same can be dealt with .You suggestion about anger management is very wise..hope the scorpion Khan takes it seriously and helps himself before its too late!!!

SuKupedia ™ :) :) said...

if SRK was really protecting the kids there... then I just hope that no kid there witnessed his wonderful behaviour...abusing and being aggressive in front of kids is definitely a no...and if no kids were involved...then what is it with SRK cooching in front of videsi police (read US security) and all fuming in front of the desi security...

Tsomo85 said...

We need a break from all these drama or else pretty soon there will be nothing left to enjoy. I feel so sorry for that elderly security uncle. I saw his picture & doesn't seem like he would treat little girls badly from any angle but oh well,,, Thank god! We don't really give a damn. I've no energy to poke fun or criticize any of these film stars & politicians. Let them be who they're & we are not in charge of their mean behaviors. Life must be hell inside the love triangle of politician/journalist/film stars, all in the sense of "do you know how important I'm?" I pity anybody from these world, at the end of day all for nothing but known only above the neck to earn names, fames & competitions. Good luck pissing each others face to set the scores.

Anil Kumar said...

I wonder why the intellectuals in this country can not see the dark side of IPL for so many years. I have said this for last 3 years and my rude language is no secret. I have previously asked ShahRukh Khan alias SoorKhan to bring her mother as cheerleaders with a thong and her nipples hanging out of the bra, Mallya can bring his wife after making her drink his own wine and Neeta Ambani can showcase her own bhosadi to cut their costs of cheerleading and save money. I dont mind even if they look fat and ugly.


Anyone who has some descency will not like his family to watch these sluts from bollywood and provocative dances in match venues and in Sony's studio.

Cricketing legends like Bedi and worldcup winning team members Kirti Azad's fast to control this obscene tamasha in the name IPL is a good step in right direction. I think the same views are echoed by Madan Lal and other cricekters. The only people who choose to defend this are those who are being paid hefty slutty money - Shastri, Gavaskar, Siddhu's reputation is that of PURE GREED - with Arun Lal another Bengal player leading the pack.

I have said this all along - Media is CHUTTAD in this country where they always use the terms as King Khan or Bollywood Baadshah. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT THESE PEOPLE WHO HOG THE LIMELIGHT ARE PARASITES OF THIS COUNTRY and the only way to get rid of such people is sprinkle some insecticide to cleanse the soul of mother India.

Parag Ghate said...

ask yourself. you are one too!? are you ready for celebrityhood.

Renuka said...

You sound mean in suggesting SRK to learn some marathi. Will you enroll in every language so to be able to understand their abuses Thats just sarcastic!

You sounded sensible until you suggested him to enroll in Anger management courses, but after that you proved that you dont have that sensiblity. Its just one of those cases you pick up to vent out your grudges, so it becomes politically correct in the public eye.

Dare you print it!

NAT said...

In my earlier comment I mentioned that I hold no candle for SRK or any of these so called VIPs for reasons we are all aware of. However in this case one must give him credit for voicing (shouting out loud)his opinion on the manhandling of the Children who had accompanied him for the game. Like I said before that we are so used to keeping quiet on these issues that the culprits take undue advantage and keep committing and harassing the weak.
If I may bring up an incident wherein one of your books you mentioned that while you and your Family were boarding the launch at the gateway of India to go to Ali baug, a misfit touched one of your girls in the wrong place. You were (naturally) wild and chased the rascal around on the boat, even though your Daughter said to forget it. While reading the incident I felt good that even you who are so popular and a VIP in your own way could actually seek and want to punish the rogue. It is this type of attitude of giving tit for tat treatment,that will put some fright into these rascals, as no police neither any authorities will help out. They could care a damn and that is why we are where we are. We should not fool ourselves that all is well and honky dory out in our lives.