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Celebrity Woes

September 2, 2008

Our government officials can be remarkably overzealous while carrying out their duty and they often target well-known people. Well, at least when it comes to raids by tax officials or harassment at airports by either immigration or customs. We ordinary folks can be thankful that we are…well, just ordinary.

American Ken Haywood would certainly be thankful for it. He had a Look-Out notice issued against him by the anti-terror squad but managed to slip out. Do you think that if a Look-Out notice had been issued against Shilpa Shetty she would have slipped out? Remember that incident at Mumbai airport when Shilpa was detained by immigration? She had a Supreme court order to allow her fly out of the country but even then she was harassed…and that too in a trivial case! All because Hollywood actor (Richard Gere) had kissed her on the cheek in public and a crank had filed a case against her, for something that Shilpa wasn’t even responsible for!

Another example of over-zealousness: An old Look Out circular was fished out by an immigration officer at Delhi airport to deny entry to human rights campaigner and former Pakistani minister Ansar Burney. He isn’t a celebrity, but he sure is a well-known figure.

These officials are on the lookout for some cheap thrills which they get through media attention and/or by  engaging with a celebrity or humiliating a powerful person.

I thought of writing this post when I read about Shilpa’s effigy being burned, that too because she was blamed for rejecting candidates for the Big Boss Reality show. Some people assumed that just because she is hosting the show she’s also the producer/director/owner of the channel or show, and that she has the power to decide who participates. It’s ridiculous, but just shows how people attack celebrities without thinking.

Are film stars hounded by income tax authorities?
When it comes to individual tax-payers, celebrities fork out crores of rupees in taxes every year (even though they always do try and evade). However, I feel that business people, whom we know to be equally rich, escape the tax net more easily. Even taking into account the fact that they get tax breaks (legal), they manage to use legal loop-holes to evade taxes and also manage to keep out of the glaring eye of the taxation authorities.

Film stars are in the limelight…that’s their job. And because of that they may come under greater scrutiny. Amitabh Bachchan was slapped with an income tax notice when he was in hospital…but apparently he was targeted because of his closeness to the politician Amar Singh. But his is not an isolated case. Raids on film stars’ homes are common. Film stars’ luxury cars being impounded is also an on-going exercise. Whether it’s Suneil Shetty’s Hummer, Sanjay Dutt’s Porsche or Sushmita Sen’s Land Cruiser. It sort of gives us the impression that it’s just film stars who evade taxes on luxury cars. Sure, the media may be to blame and industrialists’ luxury cars are probably also regularly impounded. We don’t know.

I hope this doesn’t sound as if I’m batting for film stars. I am a middle-class person just like you and get all worked up when I hear of people cheating. I just feel that the law should treat everyone fairly. And no I am not of the belief that such and such person should not be targeted because some others are getting away with it…not at all. If someone is guilty, he need to be punished. Just catch everyone, that’s all I am saying.

Well, maybe I am wrong, maybe film stars and celebrities are not targeted unfairly. In fact many people feel that being a celebrity has its advantages, as in the case of Sanjay Dutt. He was indicted for purchasing an AK-47 from terrorists but is now out on bail. Many feel that he got away because he is a celebrity. But I think things are a little different when it comes to police cases…here influence and status helps. It could help Salman Khan escape from the various cases he has got embroiled in. And in fact many high profile people get away even if they mow down people on pavements with their cars, kill wild-life or murder people. It almost happened in the Jessica Lal murder case because the accused was the son of a powerful politician.

(Photo of Shilpa Shetty is from and the second one of the photo-shopped policeman is copyrighted to me)

Related Reading: People don’t fall for celebrity endorsements
Kids get influenced by celebrity advertising
Celebrities and politicians have something in common – narcissism! (Humour)

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50 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2008 12:30 am

    hmm…..sounds like my beloved my country in action.

  2. September 2, 2008 1:07 am

    Oh my god immigration India is a nightmare. Leaving India and entering India is always a terrible experience. Dealing with gruff and officious passport people. No smile, no welcome. They make you feel like a piece of sh**. They treat people who are obviously going to work as labour even more terribly. I remember some people ahead of me in the line at IGI who were going to the Gulf and they were treated so badly. Indians always complain so much if they are treated badly abroad but they are treated worse off at their own airport. Once an immigration officer even tried to go heavy on me because i had a cutting in my form and then he asked me if the passport I was traveling on was my own or my brothers. I simply told him that “My face had not changed as much as their forms had”. In any case its best if someone teaches some of these people some manners.

    Overall I have had a good experience at immigration, but yes I have heard some bad stories too. I have had bad experiences with airlines though, a general devil may care attitude so to say. I find airline officials are extremely rude and unhelpful. But yes I am sure that labour is treated badly by officials. We have this terrible snob mentality in this country. – nita.

  3. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:37 am


    My two kaudis worth:

    //…I am not of the belief that such and such person should not be targeted because some others are getting away with it…If someone is guilty, he need to be punished. Just catch everyone…//

    — Isn’t it more effective to just make an example of a few really big fish? It sends out signals all the way down the line. In any case most of them (the page 3 types) are just parasites that need to be weeded out and. Do you honestly think they serve any purpose in society?

    //…maybe film stars and celebrities are not targeted unfairly.//

    — Not “maybe”, “most certainly”.

    //…many people feel that being a celebrity has its advantages…//

    — They’re dead right, it sure does.

    //…as in the case of Sanjay Dutt…got away because he is a celebrity.//

    — Er…who?

    //…things are a little different when it comes to police cases…here influence and status helps. It could help Salman Khan escape…//

    — Again…who?

    //…many high profile people get away even if they mow down people on pavements with their cars, kill wild-life or murder people//

    You are dead right. But somehow your primary villains seem to be the police, not the scum who do the mowing down.

    //…almost happened in the Jessica Lal murder case…//

    — Wasn’t she one of page 3 “beautiful set” who, just for that reason, hogged massive media attention? For whom the redundant scum of her set, well permed and dressed in gleaming white Fab India kurtas and candles bought (or rented) specially for the occasion, held exquisitely choreographed wakes at India Gate? Wasn’t she a hyped-up barmaid at an unlicenced booze joint in the glamorous part of Delhi, the equally page 3 owner of which was never charged with the crime of selling booze without licence? Didn’t the said Lal female have a sister who cashed in on her sibling’s spectacular death to become a media star, who, in one TV interview, described some people who approached her to do some kind of “deal” as being “very lower middle class”?

    And at the same time as all of the above was happening, a young, honest, but unglamorous IIT engineer was murdered for exposing fraud carried out with public money, and was quickly forgotten after being paid token lip service?

    Anyway, to cut a long comment short, most celebrities, specially film “stars” who are harassed deserve it. After all they use their (largely dubitable, media-created) status all the time, throwing their weight around and behaving obnoxiously in public. So what’s wrong if once in a hundred times the underdogs score?

    There is a vast difference between a person who achieves celebrity status by genuine achievement in any field of endeavour, and one who does so just be shaking his/her booty and getting paid obscene amounts for doing so (@%$#!).

    Vivek, I don’t agree with the net-the-big-fish to set an example line because it can result in injustice, …but I guess many do believe in it. And I am quite surprised that you thought that I implied my primary villains are the police, the strong words I have used imply just the opposite, it shows my anger:

    mow down people on pavements with their cars, kill wild-life or murder people.

    …but yes I think the police are the culprits too.

    About Jessica Lal, it was just an example and it was easy to pinpoint the killer, a powerful person. This does not mean I have more sympathy for her as compared to the IIT grad. I have not even implied that, as the point I was making is how powerful people get away with killing. The point here wasn’t about the victims.
    And when it comes to throwing one’s weight around, I rather think the politicians and beaurocrats do it far more. That is in fact what I was trying to say, that film stars become larger-than-life villians, and whether they have talent or not depends on the individual. I want to mention one thing…I have got some comments using really filthy and sick words against film stars (I have a few posts on this blog on a few stars) and it never fails to surprise me that people can hate an Aish or a Shilpa with such venom (all these filthy comments are against female film stars) without having ever met them.. – nita.

  4. September 2, 2008 7:03 am

    Well, if they made mistakes it doesnt matter if he/she is a celebrity or not but madness it is if people burn stuff for kissing!

    over-reaction, that is the point I was making! – nita.

  5. September 2, 2008 7:43 am

    I think I agree with Vivek mostly. I am afraid most of the Indian elite (including us) have double standards. We salivate over our so called ‘celebrities’ who no one apart from us celebrates.

    ToI on New Year’s day, ran a front page article about 4 (drunk, rich) kids mowing down a laborer. The half-page story had two lines about the laborer. And the article made it look like the BMC, not these drunk brats were to blame for this !!! 😡

    So dont trust the media when it comes to celebrities, they grossly over-estimate their suffering …

    Vikram, we may “salivate” as you say but the tax man doesn’t, though the police and the politicians do. And I’m afraid the common man does too.
    And ofcourse, the poor victims don’t make it to the front pages of newspapers. But you see, this is a double-edged sword. If you get on the front page as a victim, you can get on the front pages as a perpetrator too. Does it make it right? Does this mean that they deserve it? Is it the fault of the stars that the media hypes up their life? Or do the film stars deserve to be punished heavily, more so than the average man, because they have had the success and limelight? – nita.

  6. September 2, 2008 8:34 am

    “about Shilpa’s effigy being burned, that too because she was blamed for rejecting candidates for the Big Boss Reality show”

    People in India do have ample time to get all worked up over a TV show and burn effigies when there are so many other issues at hand. What good is a tv show going to do to India that people are so worried who is participating and who isnt!!! I’m appalled by this news.
    As for celebrities being hounded, I agree with u that everyone should be treated fairly.

    Crazy isn’t it, to burn effigies for these reasons! We are going mad as a nation. – nita.

  7. ulag permalink
    September 2, 2008 10:22 am

    I think the police go out of their way to “leak” reports to the media about celebrities they nab or scrutinize to prove their impartial credentials and that everyone is equal under the law. Sadly this zealous nature of theirs is lost when it comes to solving murders and collecting crucial forensic evidence and building water-tight cases. Somewhere i feel that this mind-set of publicity seeking sensationalism is spilling over to their work where they try to make the most lurid tabloid-worthy theories and adjust the facts according to that.

    And launching protests for the most frivolous and trivial issues with the backing of political parties is the new instant-publicity-stunt. Recently there were protests about Bipasha Basu because allegedly she had claimed that she wouldnt mind having some lunch or dinner with Vijender once he returned from Beijing because he was a big fan of hers. This comment had the self proclaimed moral police up in arms protesting this “date” as it was an “insult to our cultural values”.

    Sadly I haven’t seen this enthusiasm for protests or PILs from anyone regarding bad roads, poor infrastructure, pathetic law & order situations, decrepit government schools, electricity shortages, lack of drinking water etc.

    And you’re right when you say that most businessmen escape this scrutiny. There are so many medium-scale businessmen who make profits in crores with small industries in car-accessories and ball-bearings etc. and these are the kind of people who staying in the shadows horde up crores of black money and get away with it.

    Glad you got the main point I was making – that businessmen escape the scrutiny!
    I didn’t know about Bipasha…these moral police btw equate “date” with either “khajur” or “fornication.” There is no inbetween for them. – nita.

  8. September 2, 2008 10:25 am

    The demonstrators just need something to do! So they “do” it at every opportunity they get, justified or not is another matter!

    And in India, why only celebrities, even the common man gets harrased for the trivial things!

    And this same zeal would not show where it is actually needed!

    zeal in govt. servants today is sadism. – nita.

  9. September 2, 2008 11:55 am

    Its a two way traffic…

  10. September 2, 2008 12:10 pm

    really dont know how i feel about this hmm.

  11. September 2, 2008 1:03 pm

    If you are an Indian film star you need to worry about the Income Tax officials, but you can get away with murder?

    I hope Vivek K wasn’t being Sarcastic in his comments because I had a huge satisfied smile after reading them.

    As for you “batting” for the stars, well the common man faces the SAME problems too! It is just that he/she does not succeed in grabbing as much media attention. I am glad that at least in some way our “beloved” cricketers and film stars get what they deserve. More of the same, I say.

    I wonder why it is so politically incorrect to defend film stars. I am constantly defending the poor on my blog…but I don’t do it to sound “correct” or because they are poor. I do it because they are human beings like the rest of us. Celebrities are human too but I think at heart a lot of people hate them. I don’t hate any people as a group. – nita.

  12. September 2, 2008 1:36 pm

    Every coin has 2 sides to it.

    Being a celebrity certainly has lots and lots of advantages and disadvantages.

    Even if they sneeze, it makes it into news..again some say they are public figures, they cannot have any public life?? I question why can’t they?

    Yesterday Shilpa’s car was pelted by Aathavale supporters, for none of her doing.

    Sometimes I feel celebreties, dont even mind being into controversies, or going through a little ordeal, helps them gain sympathy and popularity.

    “Bad publicity is publicity too.”

    balanced comment I must say! 🙂 – nita

  13. September 2, 2008 2:17 pm

    /Shilpa’s effigy being burned/
    I think effigy business will be profitable in India, so is distributing rocks, flags etc to protestors.
    Also like Marriage Planers we could start something called the Protest Planers. The politicians/whoever who wish to stage a protest could just logon to the computer and pay. The company will bring the required participants, stones, effigies for the protest.
    This sounds like a real profitable business.


    Like you said, just because the film stars are in the limelight, they get targetted by the media in case of a tax evation etc. I am sure politcians would be evading more tax than those actors.
    The actors can declare their wealth, while the politicians never can. Also the actors have made that wealth legally (not paying tax is turns it into black money). For the politician, its black money all the time.

    Yeah, I wonder which are the companies manufacturing effigies and what commissions they give to have an effigy burnt! 🙂 – nita.

  14. September 2, 2008 2:46 pm

    Mr Khadpekar

    \\ In any case most of them (the page 3 types) are just parasites that need to be weeded out and. Do you honestly think they serve any purpose in society \\

    They (film stars) serve very important purpose in the society, and that is entertainment..which is very basic human need..i’m not going to speak about how great artists some of them are, but restrict myself to the service they do for the society in the form of entertainment.

    Those who think filmstars dont serve any purpose in the society must be believing that films too dont serve any purpose and all film industries throughout the world are useless..

    Everybody is entitled to his/her opinion, but this one is quite strange

  15. September 2, 2008 2:52 pm

    @Nita: I didn’t say there was anything wrong with you defending the movie stars. What I was trying to say, is that it isn’t just the celebs that are harassed by corrupt authorities. The point I intended to make was that this is a reality of the Indian system. Unfortunately the battle is uphill for the common man. This was no reference to you “picking sides”. My usage of “batting” might have given you that impression, and I apologize.

    @Xylene: I am no expert on the financial systems but I don’t think non-payment of tax is black money. Non-payment of tax is just a defaulting of money owed to the authorities on white money. Black money isn’t really taxable because the authorities don’t know you have it. I might have made some mistakes in trying to explain this, or have gotten it completely wrong, so I hope someone will clarify/refute my statements soon.

    why-so-serious? 🙂 But seriously, I am glad you know that I am unbiased and that I am all for the implementation of the law, whoever it is. That is quite clear in my post. I am just against an over-doing of it, whoever it is, rich or poor. I believe in fairness to all – nita.

  16. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:02 pm

    @ DD:

    //I am glad that at least in some way our “beloved” cricketers and film stars get what they deserve.//

    I don’t think it’s quite right to lump the two together.

    Cricketers, whatever negative feelings one may have about them sometimes, need genuine talent and a lot of hard work to get where they do. Film “stars” (as distinct from “actors”) don’t.

    Of course both are objects of stupid, frenzied mass adulation, but when our cricketers do badly (“letting down the country” etc.) they are subjected to a lot of unwarranted and unfair rough treatment (by people who themselves probably cannot tell the difference between “leg-bye” and “square leg”). Film stars, on the other hand, can get away with anything.

  17. chirax permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:02 pm

    I think this goes both ways .If “These officials are on the lookout for some cheap thrills which they get through media attention and/or by engaging with a celebrity or humiliating a powerful person.” then reverse is also true, I mean the same celebrities when not being Harassed enjoy the Preferential Treatments at (Airports, Malls, Hotels…)and God Like Receptions everywhere. They don’t want to wait, they don’t want to be treated like “AAM ADMI” so I will not feel bad for Shilpa as the Parasite Behavior is Duplex.

    true they have double standards, but I still feel that when it comes to harassment they shouldn’t be harassed. I also don’t think that airport officials or whoever should give them preferential treatment of any sort. But it happens, that’s the reality, but I just don’t agree with it, that’s all – Nita.

  18. chirax permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:12 pm

    If this interests you: I was at the Delhi Airport few months ago and I was just about to be ushered through the security check. Suddenly what I see is some celebrity news reporter from CNN IBN (I couldn’t care less about her name) rushed through a fairly long line(Where people are standing for more than half hour), right to the security, making everyone feel like an idiot (I mean did we not pay for the ticket?). I was pissed, because being on Television does not give her right to to be a VIP. Did I miss something here? I thought VIP’s are important people, an actor, an anchor or mere news reader should be treated just like us. Its there job for god sakes.

    I detest these kind of things Chirax. But the officials are also to blame. I wonder if they take money or something. I am sure they get their “orders” too…also I think it is a shame on the part of the news anchor to do this. There was an incident I wrote about on this blog where a famous columnist, tavleen singh, refused to pay a fine for her dog shitting!She wanted preferential treatment! I hate this kind of thing. And you won’t be surprised to know that she left an abusive comment on this blog against me as a person (on that post) which I deleted. Just shows their character. The post is here. – nita.

  19. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:13 pm

    Mr. Mittal,

    While you quote me correctly (including my poorly edited sentence ending), your interpretation is wrong. In my scheme of things, page 3 types are just famous for being famous. And I do believe they serve no useful social purpose.

    As regards “entertainment” each person is entitled to his/her view on what constitutes entertainment and what does not. If the stupid antics of “stars” (as distinct from “actors”) represent entertainment for you, let’s agree to disagree.

  20. chirax permalink
    September 2, 2008 3:22 pm

    @Vivek Mittal: They (film stars) serve very important purpose in the society, and that is entertainment..”

    Would like to know, Which Film, What Purpose?

  21. September 2, 2008 3:42 pm

    @ Chirax

    that was sad to happen..At Delhi airport itself once i saw Kris Srikant..but there wasn’t any fuss at all..yes few people now and then were requesting autographs

    Mr Khadpekar

    Yes “stupid antics” of stars are entertainment for me and many others throughout the globe


    \\ Would like to know, Which Film, What Purpose? \\

    That’s a strange question..if you dont think films are a popular mode of entertainment..that’s your choice

  22. September 2, 2008 4:43 pm

    Wow! If you can get hounded by the authorities for being kissed on the cheek by Richard Gere, imagine what they would do if you kissed him back! They probably have prison camps for such miscreants. 😀

    well, we haven’t got that bad as yet but at the rate we are going, I won’t be surprised! 🙂 – nita.

  23. September 2, 2008 5:13 pm

    well i still haven’t finished atlas shrugged….but well am really into the idea…that people with the money (who earn it properly and not steal ) are looted …it makes sense…

    I read atlast shrugged a long time back…don’t remember the details, but only saw it as a story. – nita.

  24. September 2, 2008 5:46 pm

    Ah burning effigy on issues like Shilpa Shetty one is really weird! Wish such people could have focussed on larger and better causes than these trivial issues!

    wierd and crazy! – nita.

  25. September 2, 2008 6:07 pm

    It is important to examine whether these “high profile” so-called witch hunts are based on some knowledge of wrong doing or is it just to gather cheap publicity.

    Let us take the case of those fancy imported cars on which relevant taxes or duties were evaded. I am not sure if there was a single case where the alleged owner of the car was on the right side of law and had documentation in place. This includes both celebrity and non-celebrity cases

    Let us look at the case of the most “expensive gift” – the Airbus jet gifted by Mukesh Ambani to his wife. It was fraudently put in a different category, so that customs duty would be reduced by Rs. One hundred crore or more. This turned out to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg when they found many more aircraft imported, for personal use, without payment of requisite duties.

    The fact is that the rich (industrialists or celebrities) do blatantly violate rules as the cost of managing the aftermath is much lower than the cost of compliance. Many a times they would just manage the system in advance so that they can just slip through.

    Now we have the case of pretenders and other also-rans. They are the ones who resort to high decibel responses.

    The media will pounce on such opportunities and blow up the whole matter. They believe that their job is to manufacture news – sensationalise it – distort truth or speak half truths – conduct a trial through SMS – and pass the verdict. They are the sole judge and the sole lawyer involved in this farce.

    No wonder, they have become demi-gods and demi-gods have bloated heads as our blogger friend – Chirax discovered at the Delhi Airport.

    Why blame the poor officials for doing their job???

    And, there is nothing wrong with exemplary punishment as Vikas Khadpekar advocates.

    Well, I think businessmen get away with a lot of wrong-doing too and you yourself gave an example of it. I wonder how many businessmen are caught. That was the point I was making. Also, I wonder if you mean that celebrities should be made examples of? In that case I don’t agree because it automatically implies unfairness and giving lighter punishment to others. Everyone should be dealt with according to the law.
    But I am truly surprised by the comments on this post. I knew that people hate celebrities, but not this much, to want them to be made examples of. Why them? If it is a question of making rich people examples, even then, why not others who cheat? Why not rich businessmen or rich sports people or rich others who commit the same crime? Is it because people want to see celebrities suffer? Surprised, that’s all. – nita.

  26. chirax permalink
    September 2, 2008 6:11 pm

    @vishesh: I have finished atlas shrugged. I think your frame of reference is wrong here, if you think “Ms. Shilpa” earns the money, now she’s hardly an actor or creative person. She is also a moocher.

  27. September 2, 2008 8:40 pm

    Let me elaborate on just one para from my post….

    The fact is that the rich (industrialists or celebrities)……..

    My emphasis is on the rich – who can and do manipulate – and this covers all including celebrities and non-celebrities, business men, sports persons et al.

    Let us look at – Why exemplary punishment? This is a well accepted concept and is meant to a) send a message to all concerned, and b) shame the defaulter.

    The idea is that wealthy citizens who are well informed and advised, having a certain standing or level of achievement in their lives are not expected to be wilful defaulters / law breakers.

    The pain of being shamed is far greater than a monetary punishment and could be a sufficient deterrent.

    I am not gunning for celebrities nor do I have an axe to grind. Mine is only a comment on your post based on what I have seen.

    Your point is, however, well taken.

    Okay, if you are saying that all rich people should know better, yes that is a valid point. As you said, just their name appearing in the papers is an additional punishment. I was just saying that why are celebrities being hounded and not businessmen. – nita.

  28. September 2, 2008 9:35 pm

    And I was thinking that emigration was the real problem! 😉

  29. September 3, 2008 12:10 am

    Sometimes being sadist is the only way to release the pent up frustrations about your own miserable life. That is what the people who indulge in nonsensical acts derive from them.
    And as I said earlier also in one of your posts – In India, give someone a 100Rs note, and he will burn his own effigy. 🙂

    And what would you say about those who want celebrities to suffer? – Nita.

  30. September 3, 2008 12:33 am


    I think ‘you live by the sword, you die by the sword’ applies here. Those, who court the media when the going is good, are going to find it hard to get rid of the same media when the going gets tough.

    Trial by media is not just a peculiarity of India but also true in the UK and the US. Too bad it is unfair but in this whole celebrity thing, many other ‘unfair’ things can be pointed out (such as income disproportionate with ‘talent’ if such a word can be applied to some air- and bone- heads..).

    As it happens, I watched Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” again this weekend. One line sums the whole cult of celebrity very well. Spoken by the character, Robin Simon, wife of Kenneth Branagh’s Lee Simon: “You can tell a lot about a society by who(sic) it chooses to ‘celebrate’.”

    Shefaly, even though it is the reality, I don’t agree with it. I think we need to be humane and human. Whether it is a celebrity or an industrialist or even a slum-dweller, all are human and if they have committed the same crime, they need equal punishment. I believe this firmly, and feel about it strongly. Justice is justice. – nita.

  31. September 3, 2008 1:25 am

    strange logic we indulge in. “They need the media when things go good and enjoy fame, and privileges that we normal folk don’t have. Serves them right when the same media feasts on them”

    I guess this is how we justify that something wrong isn’t really that wrong … and thus no need for our conscience to be pricked (or no need for others to prick at our conscience).


    Thanks Arun, I can never feel the “serve them right” way, not even about people I hate. But wait a minute, who do I hate? No one! 🙂 In any case, a conscience cannot be selective. – Nita.

  32. Nitin Mahajan permalink
    September 3, 2008 3:30 am

    I hate these celebs as much as Vivek K does,if not more.Not for manipulating the media or anything like that,but lowering the standards across the board.But people get the celebs[& governments]they deserve.As long as there are dumb ass mofos out there, who lap this Bollywood rubbish up,there will be dumb ass celebs to service them.Now I don’t think there is anything wrong if anyone makes their money by shaking their behind[In fact I could have a lot of positive things to say about a perfect behind]
    but that should not be the reason for treating them any differently to others.

    my my what a sweeping statement! Guess I am a dumb ass then Nitin. I am proud to say I love bollywood movies. And I think quite a few of their actors and directors are good. Really brllliant in fact. Quite a bit of the new bollywood cinema these days is brilliant, aimed for the dumb ass middleclasses like us! Er, me! 🙂 But thank you for your last line. – nita.

  33. September 3, 2008 6:51 am

    Burning effigies is just waste of time and resources. Wake up people, there are bigger crisis at hand that everyone has to deal with. I guess being a celebrity has it’s price to pay.

    Typical world crisis. It is so sickening some times to think that we are easily punished for tax evasion, but some how, the rich & famous gets away with some “loop-holes”.

    price to pay, but that doesn’t make it right. – nita

  34. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 3, 2008 6:53 am

    @ Shefaly:

    //…income disproportionate with ‘talent’…//

    I entirely agree with the sentiment underlying that. But you will always have people accusingly asking: “who are you to decide on what is talent.

    On a more serious point, thanks a million for that [“(sic)”] in your last sentence. It is reassuring at a time when the very foundations of what I was taught as “good” English seem to be crumbling all around me.

  35. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 3, 2008 7:04 am

    @ Nitin Mahajan:

    //…I hate these celebs as much as Vivek K does…//

    Please! It is not all celebs I hate. Only those who need page 3 to establish their celeb status.

  36. nehru mantri permalink
    September 3, 2008 7:17 am

    I wouldn’t mind if the police arrest these actors “on the spot” for bad acting citing robbery with bright lights. That’s our pick, though. Endure the acting or the idiocy of the law enforcer who insists on making a caricature of himself. Wish one of them tried a little harder.

    I guess that’s said tongue-in-cheek. (I hope!) If you are serious, let me add, people like me don’t endure. They love it. Idiocy is after all in the eyes of the beholder. I guess you see only english movies, well I do love english movies too but they have their c-grade crap, and if I have to choose, I prefer a c-grade hindi movie to a c-grade hollywood movie. If I have to choose, that is. Overall I just like to see nice movies and quite a few of them are made in Hindi. I love them. – nita.

  37. Nitin Mahajan permalink
    September 3, 2008 7:47 am

    @Vivek K
    Sorry.Yes those Page 3 types.Thats what I meant as well.
    Sorry Nita.That statement was a weak attempt at humor,not to be taken seriously at all.No disrespect intended. 🙂

    don’t worry Nitin, none taken. Your statement was too sweeping to be taken seriously. I am a proud bollywood fan. That’s one of my sources of entertainment. I thoroughly love the “low-brow” movies as well, I guess the child in me comes out. I don’t always need my brain along and infact at times the brain can get in the way. 🙂 And I admire these actors who can make me feel so happy in those few hours. They deserve every bit of the limelight they have and the money too. They do not need to be made victims of overzealous officials because these actors are simply working, doing their job to provide entertainment for people like us. Kudos to them if they do it well. – nita.

  38. September 3, 2008 10:34 am

    @ Nita:

    “Whether it is a celebrity or an industrialist or even a slum-dweller, all are human and if they have committed the same crime, they need equal punishment.”

    I did not say anything about justice or unfairness.

    My point is simply that while an ordinary person’s crimes may go unreported in the media, so-called celebrities’ misdemeanours do not, primarily because the latter cultivate media for their own purposes. They are made examples of, because the society they serve chooses to revere them so, just as they are hailed as good examples when they excel in their fields, say by winning an Oscar or a BAFTA. It is a foolish expectation on their part (and ours) to be able to benefit from all the upside without suffering any of the downside.

    Wanting to be known is a tricky business to balance with privacy and fairness (not very different from blogging, where opposing opinions to downright psychotic behaviour will all be encountered once we choose to put ourselves out there).

    Okay. I get that, I agree it would be foolish for me to expect fair treatment if I were a media personality. And yes your point about blogging is also valid. However, all I am saying that it isn’t right. I am just trying to persuade people that it isn’t right. Because it is a fact that many of the public think that it is, as is evident from the comments. – nita.

  39. September 3, 2008 2:55 pm

    “Whether it is a celebrity or an industrialist or even a slum-dweller, all are human and if they have committed the same crime, they need equal punishment.”

    This is what law states, but courts don’t follow it.

    In an accident involving car and a scooter, where the scooter rider was wrong on 3 occasions:
    1. He was driving in a wrong direction on one way road.
    2. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
    3. He was carrying total of 3 pillion riders on the scooter.
    The supreme court still ruled the case in favour of the guy on scooter(who had died), irrespective of whether he was wrong or not.

    And in similar incidents/accidents like this, the court of ‘so called’ law always favors the party with lower social status or from low income group.

    Here there is no celebrity involved and cases like this make it to the little columns on page 4-5 of newspapers, but the treatment is same. And while celebrities do take advantage of their celeb status to even out these kinds of unfair treatments, the guy in car belonging to higher income group than the guy on scooter, hadn’t(assumption).

    Normally, a FIR of negligent driving is lodged against a person with a bigger vehicle, even if the person with a smaller vehicle does not have registeration, third party insurance and other documents, licenses that are compulsory + even if he was the one negligent.

    So, treatment remains the same all over India, the only difference is celebrities are covered by media and a common or not so common man isn’t.

    You have raised a very significant point Anshul. I have thought of this too, for example if a car knocks down someone and just suppose it is not the fault of the car, the driver could still get lynched. There is mob justice here, that is the reality. I am all for stringent punishment for those who accidently kill people (yes, I am for the culpable homicide conviction) but only if the driver has driven negligently. Yes, injustice is often done….but actually if one looks at it, 9 accidents out of 10, it is the bigger vehicle who is the culprit. Don’t you think so? And if that one person is innocent, the law errs on the side of the wronged. That doesn’t make it right. It’s wrong, but these kind of injustices happen. Take the dowry law. The benefit of the doubt is always given to the woman and men who are wronged rage against it. It takes a very fair judge, and one with brains to make the right judgment. – nita.

  40. September 3, 2008 3:24 pm

    @Nita: Incase of accidents, where people are not mowed down while they were sleeping on the divider or pedestrian footpath, the probability of both the people involved in the accident being the culprits is 50-50.

    You will often see, riders of smaller vehicles(two wheelers) illegally crossing the divider, riding on footpath made for foot/feet not wheels :), or even bypassing the red traffic light. In comparison how many times have you noticed a 4 wheeler doing so?

    I won’t mention here two wheels carrying something like 6 people(which is illegal), since it might lead to discussion of a different issue.

    You will also see people crossing National Highways with speed limits upto 100km/h or no speed limits, to piss on the other side of the road. On the lighter side, if they realize that a screeching vehicle is coming from 100km/h towards them, they won’t even need to go to other side of the road to their task. 🙂 Automation 😉

    hmm, although I have driven both, a two-wheeler and a four-wheeler (now). When I was on 2 wheels I drove carefully but found the most problems I had stemmed from 3 wheelers (rickshaws) and heavy vehicles (trucks) in terms of bad and dangerous driving. Now in a 4 wheeler I see what you mean, 2 wheelers (in pune for example) drive dangerously and the responsibility is totally on the four wheeler driver. however heavy vehicles, trucks, vans and 3 wheelers drive equally if not more dangerously. I am more wary of those. And they can kill more easily than a 2 wheeler. that is what the court takes into account. anyone driving the heavier vehicle can do more damage and therefore has to be more responsible. Up to a limit, I am okay with it. – nita.

  41. September 3, 2008 3:25 pm

    Typo: *Other side of the road to do their task….

  42. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 3, 2008 4:59 pm

    @ Nita, Anshul:

    It is a general principle of life that the individual who wields more power — whether steming from position of authority, physical strength, or control over mechanical equipment — is expected to be more accountable and to exercise greater caution in the use of that power. It is not a simple matter of who is right and who is wrong.

    If I am driving a car on the road, I am morally obliged to not only make no mistakes but also to anticipate the mistakes of others on the road, particularly when those “others” are in a weaker position than I.

    As an aside, I know of an incident from the 1970s involving the big boss of a major industry. He had a passion for fast driving on any good-surfaced, straight and clear road. One day, on a state highway, he ordered his chauffeur into the back seat of his car while he took the wheel, and soon crossed 80 kph. Driving through a village, he knocked down and killed a little boy who suddenly darted out from behind a parked truck to cross the road.

    The chauffeur was persuaded to take the rap and the three or five years in jail that followed. The company protected his job with all routine increments, took care of his family, and reinstated him after his release from jail in a new job that required his training in new skills not involving driving.

    My outrage at the real culprit thus going scot-free is somewhat ameliorated by the fair play of the company. But it still hurts that the one who was really guilty got away with not even a token punishment. Admittedly he was an outstanding manager and technocrat — one of the mere two or three in India in those days with his particular expertise, but still…

    But I thought I was saying the same thing. 🙂 – nita.

  43. September 3, 2008 5:22 pm

    @Vivek Khadpekar: My first comment on this post says “Its a two way traffic…”

    So, I agree to what you say.

    @Nita: Although discussion went in the direction of two and four wheelers, but I assume everybody is treated quite fairly/equally with unfair treatment. 🙂 Leave alone celebrities.

    I have already crossed my comment’s-word limit on blogs for this week 😉 , else I would have added more to Vivek’s comment. 🙂

  44. September 4, 2008 5:24 am

    “It takes a very fair judge, and one with brains to make the right judgment. – nita.”

    That’s his job. 9 out of 10 just isn’t good enough. You wouldn’t accept 9 out of 10 from an engineer designing your car, or 9 out of 10 for someone making your toaster. If I had a 9/10 record at my job, I’d be fired.

    Also, you say the actors/celebs need to be given equal treatment in the eyes of the law, same as the ordinary man, who probably has the odds stacked against him. I don’t think that is fair at all. I am all for making an example of them. The reason is quite simple. A lot of these celebs/politicians/businessmen are role models. The second they enter the limelight, the forfeit their “ordinary” status and new sets of expectations can be levied against them. These actors and celebs are in a position to influence society and hence their actions must be held to the strictest scrutiny, especially if it involved criminal offense.

    Celebs all over the world, and more so in India (only because I have spent a much larger part of it there), seem to think they have special privileges. They love the media coverage when it helps boost their careers and when it sensationalises their sub-par movies, or when it helps them get off the hook after running over people on the street, or “hunting” endangered species, but for some reason when it gets a “little too much”, they bitch and moan at the lack of privacy. As far as I am concerned, if you can deal with it when it helps you, you HAVE TO deal with it when its painful.

    it may be their job, but few people do it! However, I don’t think I have implied that I expect 9 out of 10 from anybody, whether a judge or an engineer. Actually my post is about the fact that celebs should get the same treatment as other rich people, but except for 1-2 commentators no one has got the point! Even though I clearly stated so. True I casually mentioned something in the comments, but that is casual conversation, but yes if you say that I believe in justice for all, yes I do. I don’t have all my arguments on this issue now, as to why I believe in equal justice for all, but may be one of these days I will write a post on it. In the meantime we can agree to disagree. – nita.

  45. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 4, 2008 6:30 am


    You have put it extremely well. Just a couple of points beyond those already covered:

    Your 10/10 expectation is valid in the context of people whose work genuinely matters in society. But for those (like Hindi phillum “stars”) whose sole claim to fame is that they shake their booty before a camera in exchange for ridiculously large compensation, why even think of any such grading system. They are expendible. I question even their right to exist; the right of their genes to exist.

    The other absolutely inexcusable thing is the manner in which they, by their very existence, disrupt ordinary day-to-day civic life.

    I have been held up more than once at the AIIMS crossroads in Delhi on my way to the airport just because some minister was expected to come visiting at the hospital.

    At an important archaeological site, after paying the entrance fee, my guests and I were denied access to the most important part of the complex because the bum-shaking song-and-dance sequence of some shit-Hindi phillum was being shot. I was the only one who protested. There were several other ticket-buying visitors who were in raptures because they were “allowed” to stand and watch the proceedings from a distance.

    (That was one shit-Hindi phillum — I have better things to do than trying to recall its name — of the subsequent progress of which I specially kept track. I am delighted to report that it bombed at the box-office. I hope its producer and director committed suicide — the very least they owed to society).

    Vivek, I get the impression (like I got from your previous comment) that you are only against Hindi film stars. If I am wrong, do correct me. nita.

  46. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 4, 2008 8:13 am


    I am generally against everything that is [1] cheap and vulgar; [2] popular-appealing-to-the-least-common-denominator-of-intelligence-and-taste; [3] therefore loudly and gaudily inflicted with impunity upon everyone; [4] Hindi-filmy.

    The quintessence of all those attributes is to be found in Hindi phillum “stars.” I draw a distinction between “stars” and “actors.” The latter have genuine talent, even though it is sometimes sadly wasted on shit-Hindi phillums. Equally sadly, sometimes “actors” become “stars” in the eyes of the public and of the journalistic scum who defecate the P3 tripe. But the sincere actors never take leave of their senses when they become “stars.”

    In sum, then, your impression is not wrong. However, you don’t seem to have noticed that I have been conveying these views on this blog since much before my previous comment that you refer to. Only, please note my loaded use of the word “star” in quotation marks.

    Hmm, I did notice but I always give people the benefit of the doubt. 🙂 – nita.

  47. nehru mantri permalink
    September 4, 2008 9:39 am

    I was joking and I wouldn’t argue your counter point. As a matter of fact it is precisely for people like you that the Indian movie industry must feel obliged to raise their standards and ask themselves if indeed the current fare is the best they can offer. While I do see English movies on occasion (mostly on TV) I am not necessarily biased for it. I saw some chinese movies(subtitled) that were really good and very natural. For as long as I saw Hindi movies it was mainly for the songs and what remained after the movie were still the songs for me. I have not stopped listening to the songs though it pales when you know it has been lifted from somewhere else as increasingly seems the case lately. However I do agree with the gist of this post.

    It’s already happened Nehru. The standards have risen. We have a new wave of films for the middle class and I love them! You can go through my reviews and you will get the idea. However, if people want to paint all films with the same brush (either because they don’t see hindi films or don’t see films) I can’t do a thing about it. 🙂 Also, I don’t like the average chinese movie, can’t relate to it. However some are excellent. – nita.

  48. September 14, 2008 7:14 pm

    Well… this article is more perceptive and had judged things based on unconfirmed news articles and here-says and not all on facts…. That is how I view this… 😉

    Looks like we have to review our priorities…

  49. September 22, 2008 7:17 pm

    Celebs are always soft targets, case in point the recent Raj-Jaya fiasco.

  50. Nisha permalink
    February 5, 2009 11:01 pm

    Nita, I read Jack London’s “White Fang” when I was a child and one part in it just came back to me.

    It was about how in a pack of sled dogs all the followers wish to be the lead dog as it runs in front but at the same time hate it for its position and take every opportunity to bite it. But the lead dog in his turn runs so fast only because if it slowed down it will be bitten. Then, if the next day another dog is promoted to be the lead, the earlier leader forgets his pain and is just one of the pack, attacking the new lead dog himself.

    I don’t know why this long ago read story came in to mind when I read this article of yours and the following comments, but there could be some connection 😉

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