Shah Rukh Khan once told, "People often tell me about my inability to move out of house without getting mobbed and sympathize for that. They say, so sad and how difficult it is! But I know these guys are ready to give the right hand to be in my shoes". This could easily be construed as arrogance of a Superstar. But this is not! This is plain truth and nothing but truth.
Almost an entire generation of this nation will be willing to be in SRK's shoes. What about me? I am not ready to give my right or left hand or any limbs or any other part of my anatomy. That will further lessen my chances of attaining stardom. But, I will be bluffing if I say, "I don't want to be as rich and as famous as Khan". You love him or hate him, but the fact is SRK is perhaps the second most popular Indian today!
My daughter is going through her sixth standard exams. On the last day of school, she came with her autograph book. Her friends had written the routine kid stuff. Then she showed me a white paper with an indecipherable thing that looked like a signature. Against character, she had preserved it well and hence I was curious to know what it was! She told me that was an autograph of a 'famous' singer. I had never heard that name and I still can't remember it, but for my daughter, that was a Celebrity.
My mother often wonders if there are any 'Normal People' in Mumbai at all. Looking at the surplus of entertainment channels overflowing with serials infested by hosts of actors, even I think she has a point. Look at any Cinema or television awards ceremony and we can see an entire auditorium or sometimes even a stadium full of stars and celebrities! Every channel will have an awards ceremony and there are millions of awards given away to thousands of people. It seems as if the world is brimming with celebrities!
It is neigh say impossible today to step out of your house without bumping into some celebrity. They are there, everywhere; be it Cinema, Super market, Hospital, Restaurant or even Railway-station. During a single Sunday evening outing, I came to know of the celebrity status of four young people thanks to my daughter. She seems to know them all.
Other problem we face is an offshoot of this "Celebrity syndrome". Everyone resembles one or the other celebrity today, and sometimes more than one! Facebook has an application that helps you to find out your celebrity look alike. This magnificent program even gives you the accurate percentage of your resemblance to a celebrity. Since long, I have heard people talk about my resemblance to Kannada actor Ananth Nag and later Ramesh Aravind. But the Facebook application says I resemble Sharman Joshi up-to 87.3%! What an exact excess of information, thanks to the Information era!
The Celebrities are people like 'You, Me and Hum!'. They too have likes, dislikes, moods, emotions, problems and then menstrual periods. It often never occurs to us that the stars too can have "Bad hair days" or "Off Color days". One small event of show of emotions from a star and the people and the media go to town and even to jungle with the story. They will do exclusive 'Breaking News' of Star Tantrums! I can relate to a certain extent to Amitabh Bachchan's anger towards those people who had written some nasty things about Aishwariya Rai, his beloved daughter-in-law.
I have met some celebrities purely out of accident. Kannada actor Late Vishnu Vardhan and Malayalam actor Late Cochin Haneefa were two among them. Both were fabulous persons and I really admire them for their down to earth nature. I have also met Jagathi Sreekumar, Manoj K. Jayan, Navya Nair, Urmila Unni, Director Lal of 'Harihar Nagar' fame and Director Rafi of 'Punjabi House' fame. All these people were perfectly normal human beings. Late Lohitha Das was another celebrity who was absolutely charming. He was forced to do a stress-test twice due to some technical snag. Forget about tantrums, he didn't even complain. Sanjay Dutt was another chap without much of 'Star Airs'!
In the final analysis, the celebrities are people just like us with some additional gift and a lot more name, fame and of course money! So on the verge of forty, yours truly still wants a share of the star-dust if it comes without having to struggle! That is the key-word, "Struggle". We all envy the stars and celebrities, but never look at the struggles they would have endured to reach where they have.
So I believe we have to give it to the celebrities; the small, the medium, the big and the all time greats! We have to respect them and leave them alone to live their own life; because like us, they too live only once! So live and let live!