I chanced upon actress/artist Suchitra Krishnamoorthi’s blog yesterday. Going through her blog posts, I was struck by how ‘normal’ a person she came across as. By ‘normal’, I mean ‘not one of those typical celebrity types’, more like one of us, regular middle class folks like you (I assume) and me. She talks of struggling to cook for her husband and reacts to her young daughter’s witticisms like any ‘normal’ mother would. And we’d never have known this side of her were it not for her blog. Even now, a wicked voice inside me asks, are you sure she writes her own blog?
Come to think of it, a lot of our biggest celebrities come from modest backgrounds, but once they are successful, their lifestyles change dramatically. Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Sachin Tendulkar, the Ambanis, at some point in their life all of them must have walked the streets of Mumbai without inviting a second glance from anybody. Today, they wouldn’t dare to roll down their car windows for fear of being mobbed.
Perhaps the change is only a facade, perhaps at heart they are the same simple folks they used to be. Madhuri Dixit claims to do the dishes in her home in the US. Having lived here, I am inclined to believe her claim. But wait, what about cleaning services? Surely when I can be tempted to try them once in a while, she, the former Queen of Bollywood, wouldn’t think twice about using them all the time? She must have one maid exclusively for the dishes, the evil voice inside me speaks up. Which is a grave injustice to the charming lady, if she is indeed being truthful in all her interviews!
That’s the problem really, our image of celebrities is shaped exclusively by the media, magazines, cynical movies like Page 3 and lately, chat shows like Koffee with Karan. And the media is almost always biased. Its either sycophantic, potraying the star as the latest avatar of Ram or Sita, the Raja Harishchandra of Kalyug and the new millenium’s Einstein, all rolled into one, or its bitter, lambasting every action, good/bad/sane/crazy, of the poor star. (Think Salman Khan!) How is the aam junta ever to know the truth?
On a side note, did all our stars get A+ grades in all their school essays? Notice how well they write whenever they moonlight as columnists? I won’t even go into how well-groomed, well-dressed, well-read, knowledgeable etc. they appear on chat shows. And so warm and friendly with each other, too. Sigh! There speaks the evil voice again.
I often fantasize about befriending a celebrity, finding out the real person behind the facade. I am sure many other star-struck folks like me do the same. Considering the chances of that happening are extremely remote, a celebrity blog is a practical way of realizing our dreams, I think. My favorite is of course my favorite contemporary movie star, Aamir Khan’s blog. Aamir comes across as a very down-to-earth, open-minded and intelligent person. I love the way he discusses his conceptualization of Bhuvan’s character, or explains how he chooses his movies. Amazing stuff.
If you are as star-struck as me, check it out for sure! Others, please to excuse!