In what appears to be a case of nonchalant celebrity callousness, Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja denied serious charges against him and his security personnel for beating up two IT guys on camera on Sunday. Brushing off the incident as a “minor scuffle”, camera-loving Teja is currently attempting to wriggle free of controversy. The Telugu star also accused the media for morphing pictures of him overlooking his body-guards roughing up the techies.
"If someone really wants to prove that I manhandled the two, then let him or her submit the CCTV footage and I will take responsibility for the blame,” he challenged the media. His explanation for the “scuffle” was that his body-guards were merely attempting to clear the way of the techies who were “creating a ruckus in the middle of the road.”
Scuffle or no scuffle, Teja’s case revokes many a celebrity moments of rage caught on camera. The accusations may be a bit quick to tangibly declare him guilty of being unconcerned, but the larger question is that of the constant clash between the media and the stars.
The incident brings two key questions into perspective. Is it easy for celebrities to go scot-free? And moreover, are stars getting too candid on camera?
Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja in a roadside scuffle
Take celebrity biggie and every movie-goer’s romantic hero Shah Rukh Khan as an example. The post-IPL brawl between King Khan and security officials that was taped at the Wankhede Stadium last year led to a huge controversy about whether the actor was drunk, whether he should be banned from entering the premises and whether his take on the issue makes a better case than that of the security personnel.
SRK claimed that he deserved to receive apologies on the part of the security rather than make them for they had allegedly manhandled his children which enraged the star. SRK received both scorn and support from his lovers and haters. The footage did its rounds and the matter remained a controversy.
Bollywood actor and IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan brushes aside a security guard blowing a whistle to direct children accompanying him off the playing field at The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. AFP
His case may be in a grey area, but other stars have chalked out their misconduct more definitively. Hollywood actor Reese Witherspoon, for one has most definitely put her PR person in a tight spot with her recent drunken brawl on camera. Witherspoon is seen screaming at a policeman for arresting her husband and her for drunken driving. “I’m an American citizen” she declares brazenly and establishes her celluloid prowess by telling the policeman that he's “about to find out who I am” on the surprisingly appalling footage. Moreover, she tries to soften her case by feigning pregnancy.
Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are regular names on the list of repeat offenders. Erstwhile Two and a Half Men protagonist, Sheen was caught misbehaving on uncountable number of instances on camera. So much so, the creators of the sitcom had to get rid of their main character, preferring to gamble with the story than deal with Sheen’s constant tantrums.
Pop-icon Lohan is always on the celebrity gossip pipeline for her unthinking drug abuse and abusive behaviour in general. Lohan, famous for delivering slaps and punches on unsuspecting people tops the list for celebrity misdemeanour. Her constant need for rehab and her post-rehab drunken footages have turned into a repetitive cocaine-high blur for entertainment news enthusiasts.
With reason or without, celebs are increasingly being seen on candid cameras, portraying a disturbing picture of celebdom. Judging them by paparazzi shots may not be entirely right, but the emerging trend of taped tantrums is food for thought for sure.