Caveat emptor
Caveat emptor

Serious question: Who takes celebrities seriously?

Celebrities are just someone we throw chump change at for a few minutes of entertainment. That’s all. To take them for harbingers of equality, justice, and peace is delusional.

Cobrapost in an exposé cleverly titled “Operation Karaoke”— revealed 36 current and erstwhile Bollywood celebrities willing to pimp political parties for large sums of cash in exchange. Most of them promised that they will make an effort to make it seem like it’s their personal opinion.

The 36 celebrities exposed by Cobrapost are: playback singers Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Kailash Kher, Mika Singh and Baba Sehgal; actors Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Sood, Ameesha Patel, Mahima Chaudhry, Shreyas Talpade, Puneet Issar, Surendra Pal, Pankaj Dheer and his son Nikitin Dheer, Tisca Chopra, Deepshikha Nagpal, Akhilendra Mishra, Rohit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Salim Zaidi, Rakhi Sawant, Aman Verma, Hiten Tejwani and his wife Gauri Pradhan, Evelyn Sharma, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra, Poonam Pandey, Sunny Leone; comedians Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal, Rajpal Yadav, Upasana Singh, Krushna Abhishek and Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar; and choreographer Ganesh Acharya and dancer Sambhavana Seth.

These celebrities, respectively have millions of following on popular social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The Cobrapost trap-witness promised these celebrities money ranging from INR 2 lakh per tweet to INR 50 lakh per tweet.

In its 60-minute documentary film, Cobrapost shows celebrities ranging from Shakti Kapoor to Vivek Oberoi willing to abuse their social media platforms to help political parties sell propaganda masquerading as “celebrity endorsements”. 

Though there is nothing wrong in celebrities endorsing “political parties”. Celebrities monkey around selling one product or the other, why not political propaganda? It is their democratic right to endorse any party of their preference – and to get paid for it makes it a sound deal. So, we are confused about what this “exposé” is really about, except that such endorsement is misrepresentative and dishonest? But then, how many do you really believe that scores of women will cling onto your person once you use a particular brand of deodorant.

Bottom line: Caveat emptor

One look at contemporary Bollywood and you know they well might already be doing it. The entertainment industry is by nature spineless. They will not stand for justice, they will always choose to flow with the popular narrative. The stakes are too high to risk enmity with any political faction, especially the rising one. To expect show-biz celebrities to opine on political issues is foolish. The clarion calls for them to “take a stand” on issues of policy or economy or politics is naive. Fans of popular celebrities should stop getting their little hearts broken about it and should stop tweeting “Didn’t expect this from you!” at their favorite celebrity.

One cannot fault show-biz celebrities for the grand delusion that any intelligent person will take them seriously given the popular culture of celebrity worship in India. It is by force of this delusion that celebrities have entered the political fray and some even have established their own political parties.

It is unto the public and the fans to not take these celebrities for anything more than glorified shaved monkeys dancing around for some chump change. Just as you buy anything only after making up your mind, in a democracy, you should do your own homework before you go to the polling booth to cast your vote.

Celebrity activism is one big joke. Collect the change and go.

 

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