The Celebrity Circus
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'CELEBRITY' has to be one of the most overused words in the English language. It used to denote a state of being, then it came to announce a person. Eventually, it has become a word that describes fame: pointless, unsupported, vulgar fame.
A celebrity is a tired, empty, mindless cliché. It is routine, when it was once meant to convey something far from it — it used to evince something extraordinary and glamourous. Its overuse has rendered it banal, a half-compliment, and the recipient of it is an apology for being recognised. So, who wants to be a celebrity now?
A rich suburban housewife with designer handbags, whose only accomplishment in life is to appear in society magazines. A struggling artiste (she could be an actor, dancer, model, anything so long as she's famous) who lives in her parents' one-bedroom house in Mulund. A hairdresser to the stars. A world-famous porn star aching to break into a Bollywood jig. An aging somebody trying to stay in focus by attending art show openings.
A recent eye-opening article on Poonam Pandey goes to show how the culture of making money works when your name appears in the news. Pandey, who sensationally stated she would streak the stadium if India won the cricket World Cup, had to keep her hat on and eat it. But now, every time India wins a match, her name and promise is recalled. Pandey has no real job or credentials, but she has spin doctors and a website. Her embarrassed parents blur into the background. And yes, while she does make some news, she cuts a sorry figure.
"Main bhi celebrity hoon," hollered the now-forgotten Rakhi Sawant to anyone who listened. Her silliness-for-fame earned her a Jerry Springer-esque TV show that no one watches. It hasn't made half the impact her Big Boss avatar did, when Rakhi didn't have to (only) go potty mouth or slap her buttocks to earn eyeballs. Sunny Leone may cut ribbons for a few stores but let's see her cut into a mainstream Bollywood heroine. Fat chance.
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