India – Celebrity Worship And Ostentation Ad Nauseam

December 12, 2015

By Padmini Arhant

Recently the High Court in Mumbai – the city where Indian film industry (Bollywood) is represented delivered a verdict in the high profile criminal case. 

The hit and run case with Bollywood actor Salman Khan faced charges on manslaughter and four others severely injured in the incident that occurred in 2002.

The driver under the influence of alcohol having lost control rammed over people on the curb side leaving one person dead and four seriously hurt in the incident.

The drunken driver identified as the Bollywood actor Salman Khan at that time by eyewitnesses including the actor’s personal bodyguard in the initial police complaint set the stage for long legal battle between two sides – the victims –  the unknown and poor individuals vs. celebrity with net worth over $200 million.

In the thirteen years of legal wrangling and circumventions by the accused notwithstanding witnesses deaths having provided sworn testimony before the magistrate, the court drama in typical Bollywood style was brought to an end favoring none other than the defendant.

The defendant was acquitted of all charges and hailed victorious in Indian tinsel town. The film fraternity and admirers along with fans apparently rejoicing the outcome.

Yet another Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan aka SRK contemporarily dealing with investigations on financial transactions contributing to INR 100 crore rupees i.e. $10 million loss to Indian ex-checker or treasury welcomed the decision in the criminal case of his counterpart Salman Khan claiming the conclusion positive for the silver screen performer.

Just two months ago, the Bollywood actress turned politician currently representing the ruling BJP and NDA government – Hema Malini’s car collision with another vehicle near the national highway in Northern region resulted in the death of a four years old child and her family sustaining life threatening injury.

As per the family’s account – the passerby (a doctor!) having witnessed the horrific incident escorted the celebrity with minor abrasions while neglecting the family including the child that was in need of emergency treatment.

The celebrity Hema Malini received top notch medical attention in private facility compared with the ordinary family left on the highway for more than two to three hours without any sign of rescue attributed to the child’s tragic loss of life.

The actress cum politician Hema Malini held the distressed family responsible for the fatal scene.

Celebrities in Indian society – entertainment domain predominantly film industry and sports arena besides the powerful entities in politics and economic sector held above the law.

Celebrity worship ad nauseam promotes social inequality deepening economic disparity.

Celebrities entering politics upon diminishing stardom is not uncommon.  Actors turning politicians and vice versa is the tradition.

The movie and sports personalities are major attractions for political parties aimed at complicity to policy not necessarily in public interest.  The tasks of mobilizing disenchanted electorate made easier with glamor and glitz distraction.

Unfortunately for the average citizens – the segment in the lowest economic strata looking for opportunity to drift away from continuous struggles, cinema is the means for escapism.

When people in the poorest socio economic background make nobody into somebody evolving as celebrity, the source behind celebrities’ fame and success not only forgotten but also taken for granted in the ever increasing frenzy over superficial display.

The rich, famous and influential ability to wheel justice in their direction slighting evidence based facts in criminal cases made possible by corruption culture and undue fanfare to celebrity status.

Film stars are the creation of collective contributions beginning with make-up artists, costume designers, choreographers and multitude expertise as behind the scenes operatives not to mention the lyricists, screen play writers, musicians and technology oriented techniques under capable director that leads to the final product.

The glory assigned to main characters ignoring the crucial team in movie making and subsequent hype is distortion.

Above all, the show without audience would be zero despite overestimated hero.

Unless bias and adulation set aside with civic funded institutions across the spectrum such as judiciary, police, prosecution and forensics immunity to incentives compromising fair trial, the victims would be denied justice in the real world.

Perhaps the people especially the poorer sections in society facilitating empowerment of those trampling on their rights to fairness and equality awakening to reality would balance the scales in the court of law.

My condolence to families and survivors affected in the society’s intoxication to ostentation prevalent in the form of entertainment.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant








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