The life of a celebrity revolves around two things: money and fans. Both these things are extremely transitory in nature and are extremely dependent upon the mercy of others, especially media. The media, whose hunger for money is much stronger than what an individual celebrity possesses, obviously gets motivated by other factors, which are under the control of some other power groups, who derive their power from multiple tools, including money. So, in effect, the life of a celebrity gets controlled by these other powerful groups. These interest groups can be the forces, the government, the corporates, the religion, etc., acting alone or in combination depending upon the local factors. Any effort by a celebrity to oppose such control leads to his/her media bashing and an obvious loss of fan-following. Unlike a ground-level politician or a ground-level activist or a religious leader or a preacher, a celebrity is never in real touch with the people. He/she inspires neither fear nor sympathy in the minds of the people: An Amitabh Bachhan is loved till an Amar Singh is ready to pay his debts, else he is a fool; ditto for a Micheal Jackson or a Shoiab Akhtar. Irony is such that a celebrity even inspires a certain degree of envy in the people, and the sadistic side of the masses enjoys media bashing of a celebrity. The biggest loss to a celebrity is the tradeoff he/she makes between money and his/her personal space: His/her personal life becomes available for public scrutiny for no good reason. The situation worsens when a celebrity is not wise enough to understand his/her deplorable situation and starts considering his/her artificial status as powerful. In such a case, he/she uses his/her artificial status for gaining loose favours from the system. These favours don’t affect the power groups and, thus, are allowed; however, the moment these favours start challenging the establishment itself, they are denied, and the denial is often accompanied by a series of mild punishments or a single stroke harsh punishment. This becomes difficult for a celebrity to absorb, and such sudden realization causes frustration, depression, and, sometimes, even suicide. The same is the case when a celebrity tries too hard to oppose control. In such a case, the power groups increase the control over the celebrity using plethora of tools like psychology, sociology, criminology, etc., however, oblivious to the knowledge of the celebrity.
But, all is not bad; there are positive too. A fame gained over a period of time through real performance is reflective of sustainability, and there are celebrities who achieve this. They check the role of media to a manageable level; they chose their partners carefully; they are good businessmen, who understand strategy; they use money not only for buying luxuries for themselves but also happiness for others; they network deeply enough to help them manipulate situations, but they generally keep aloof; they nurture other interests for a rainy day; they learn as many languages as possible, and they don’t expect anything from their fans. However, such celebrities are very few; if they were more in number, the things would have been better because celebrities are generally good people.
©2007 Ankur Mutreja