Monday, April 27, 2009

Akshay, Katrina and Singapore's Billu Barber

Ever since ST Life! correspondent Deepika Shetty wrote about Bollywood film director Priyadarshan's shooting schedule in Singapore, she says that her life has become miserable.

"Since last week, my mail box has been filled with requests, my cell phone has buzzed so many times that I've been forced to switch it to a perpetually silent mode. Random folks call my office line pretending to pitch stories, when all they want is a brush with the stars" she writes in her ST blog. "Acquaintances have re-surfaced almost as dramatically as they had exited from my life. I have open-ended invites to lunches, to dinners, to drinks, even to salons to get my hair done."

Well, perhaps Deepika did not realise that there is price one has to pay for being able to be up, close and personal with celebs! I was not surprised at all at the reaction she got. "People are generally star-struck and the reaction you are getting is bound to happen when it comes to Indians and Bollywood stars" I told her.

Given the topic, I have two points to make here:

1. In the age of YouTube, when theoretically every one could be a star, why are people still so star-struck? Stars used to be demigods but in the age of Blogs and Twitter, they come across as savvy businessmen plying their trade. Let them be, folks--that's what I want to tell people! Let the stars do their job. Watch their craft, if you have to, but with a distance, and let the journalist do his or her job in peace. What's the point of basking in reflected glory by being photographed with actors?

Many actors and filmmakers now connect with their fans through blogs and other social networking sites. You can connect with Shah Rukh Khan, for example, on Twitter. Why not do that? You can even send him a direct message!

And since so many Indians are so web savvy, can't anyone do what Natalie Portman is doing for Hollywood with her social networking venture, MakingOf!

2. I have seen that some newspapers (even in Singapore) have their journalists pictured with stars (Hollywood/Hong Kong/ Musicians) and these stories (with the star struck journo standing by the side of the stars) getting published with a clear regularity. Their writings are also so fan-like. I believe that when a journalist is interviewing someone, for that moment, he or she is on par with the interviewee. The job needs certain seriousness--if you are not serious (in purpose) you are not being fair with the interviewee who is giving you his/her time. Displaying the behaviour of a fan does not suit a journalist. In private life, yes, (in a blog, yes) but not as a journalist of a serious newspaper.

Is my opinion too old school?

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