Over the last few days one has been inundated with details about the weddings of Shilpa Shetty and Eesha Koppikar. What they and their grooms wore, who designed their outfits, where they shopped, where they will go on their honeymoon. When they return, presumably, there will be stories about the new homes, followed by speculations about their ‘being in the family way’.
This celeb obsession is getting out of hand, really, and it can’t be blamed on the reader or TV viewer, because very few of them really care. And these two actresses are not exactly superstars. In the past there were weddings of real superstars – Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh, Rajesh Khanna-Dimple Kapadia, Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Bhaduri—but the media did not go gaga.
There is a difference between what the readers/audiences have to know and what they need to know. But now it is just a stream of trivia, for which a section of the media covers itself with disgrace. Photographers climbed over walls to get a shot of Karisma Kapoor’s wedding, went berserk outside the venue of Ajay Devgan and Kajol’s marriage; followed Aamir Khan to Panchgani, when he didn’t want them there. And the big tamasha outside the Bachchan bungalow when Abhishek got married to Aishwarya Rai was completely against the dignity of the media. It is not within the call of duty and nobody wants the snippets and ‘exclusive pix’ they so diligently ferret out, by standing outside star homes to record who came to their parties with whom, wearing what. If this much effort was expended on real exposes, it would be good for the country.
If the stars wanted their celebrations covered, they would invite the media, but when privacy has been requested, then why scale walls, crawl through hedges and line the streets outside star homes. No wonder stars treat the press like pesky insects, only to be wooed when there’s a film to be promoted. And because such a demand for celeb lives has been artificially created, celebs now think that they are idols on a pedestal: you cannot say their films are lousy, you cannot say they have acted badly, you cannot print correct figures of their flop films, you cannot even report on their shenanigans or there could be hell to pay. So all stars are saints, their films are hits, their lives are perfect. Everybody is happy. But the reader/audience still doesn’t need to know their shoe size or what they ate for breakfast. Just try ignoring one starry event and see if the circulation/TRPs really dip!
And look at the way the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa was ignored, because no big star besides Ben Kingsley went. It’s not about films any more, just about film stars… even flop film stars.