“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
Films and film stars are an indispensable part of the Indian lifestyle. If a corporate honcho parties with Shahrukh Khan, then the village barber in the same city will be singing his songs. Every Indian wants to know about their favorite movie stars, whether it’s a beggar from the streets or a multi millionaire. Popular faces of the film fraternity are discussed in our dining rooms, classrooms, offices – practically everywhere! So, it is safe to say that films, actors and filmmakers make the perfect masala for selling hot crisp news. Switch on Zee news at 10 at night and you are bound to catch some movie being discussed. Are movies really that important in an Indian’s life or has the media made it so?
[intlink id="1452" type="post"]Peepli [Live][/intlink] has raised important questions about the media and their tendency of blowing things out of proportion. It makes us stop and think about the state of news reporting in the country. Where can we draw the line between real news and crafted sensationalism? Read the [intlink id="1519" type="post"]movie review of Peepli Live[/intlink] to know more about the movie.
It is very clichéd to say – ‘It is all made-up by the media.’ When an actor or actress says something like this, we somehow side with the media, and not the stars, whom we love. Most often we get to hear this in regard to break ups and alleged affairs in Bollywood. But sometimes, it really does go overboard.
False Reports and Half Truths
A recent example is the allegedly false report that was reported in Mumbai Mirror a few months back about the Bachchan bahu, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It was stated that Aish was having problems in conceiving as she has tuberculosis in the intestines. The report also stated that Amitabh Bachchan is pestering his daughter-in-law for a ‘grandson’. The so-called proof that they mentioned there was that Aish has visited the maternity ward of a certain hospital quite often now. Before this news, the media had declared her ‘pregnant’ a number of times before.
For a moment, just think if this was an article published for your family member. How would we react? Just because this news was about a famous personality doesn’t make it any different. Is the media licensed to cook it all by itself? Are they not forgetting their duty to report the facts?
Another shameless example, coincidentally related to the same[intlink id="1504" type="post"]Bachchan family[/intlink] is rather callous. When Mr. Bachchan got ill recently and was rushed to the hospital, he had trouble getting out of the ambulance itself, with the media hovering around him, despite it being an emergency. They flocked at the gate of the ambulance clicking pictures of the superstar lying down in a sub-conscious state on a stretcher and his son Abhishek by his side, like any other normal human being would be at that point of time! Was it human to behave like that?
A sad, sad comment on the ‘modern’ Indian society
If you think this wasn’t enough, how would you explain the lip-lock MMS of Kareena and Shahid? Instead of putting an end to the unworthy controversy and respecting a lady’s dignity, the media became a platform where it was advertised and sold like hot cakes. Did anyone think that the two were sharing a private moment that is now-a-days so common in the metropolis? Can our Bollywood stars not behave like normal people, without having watchdogs on their every move? On a positive note, this does show that we as a nation are absolutely free. We have the freedom to squander the respect of public celebrities on national television without giving two hoots to anyone’s dignity.
The media never stood up for the actresses who had fought their way online to put an end to the porn videos being connected to their names. They never came forward to promote the social work that these stars do. In fact, more often than not, the media takes pleasure in reporting scandalous moments. The social deeds of our film makers and stars apparently are not ‘news-worthy’.
Alternative Roles of the Media
Why can’t the media come forward to help Salman Khan raise more funds for his NGO ‘Being Human’? Have they ever talked the rehabilitation centers and cancer hospitals being aided by the Dutt family? Above all, if the actor talks of it himself, they say that he or she is trying to gain attention for an upcoming release or is trying to gain political momentum!
However, putting the entire blame on news channels and the media would be incorrect. In a society which has repressed sex and public affection as if it was terrorism. Two people kissing is so much more dangerous than carrying a sword or a gun in our country. Ironically, India is also known as the land of Kamasutra and the Khajurao temples.
This is and will be an ongoing debate between the film fraternity and the media. However, as responsible and educated citizens of India, we have to change ourselves and our opinions. We need to have an educated and open-minded view about everything that is shown on television because in the end, “it is all about the TRPs”. Has the fourth estate of our country ripped off its conscience? Have we, as an audience, forgotten that our favorite stars are also human, just like us; with families and friends, just like us? Where should we draw the line between news and sensationalism?
Do let us know through the comments section below!