Neha Dhupia’s shocking experience: Does being a celebrity make you a commodity? | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Neha Dhupia’s shocking experience: Does being a celebrity make you a commodity?

Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia, who was in a car accident recently, was flabbergasted when the people around, instead of helping her, wanted selfies and autographs. Does being a celebrity in India mean that you exist only to fulfil the wishes of your fans?

bollywood Updated: Aug 13, 2017 15:51 IST
Rishabh Suri

Being a celebrity isn’t a cakewalk. You’re admired by millions, your looks create trends, and your life is glitzy. But there’s another side to it and that’s ugly. A recent incident proves that. Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia, who was in a car accident in Chandigarh recently, was shocked by what followed: onlookers and passersby, instead of coming to her rescue, hounded her for selfies and autographs! This recalls countless such instances where celebrities weren’t seen as normal human beings.

When we contacted Neha for a comment, the actor said, “I am really not in a state to talk because of the pain [after the accident]. Please contact my team.” However, in a recent interview, reacting to this fan craze of clicking selfies with famous faces, Neha told us, “I think it’s a newfound obsession that people have — just keeping up with things to put on [their] social media [accounts]. And then they want to put themselves up with people who have some sort of a name and standing, and it increases their social media worth.”

Actor Amitabh Bachchan, too, had earlier tweeted about one such incident, in which people at the cremation of his close friend had no respect for the dead; instead, they were more interested in taking selfies with him.

Film director Hansal Mehta says, “This is an unfortunate reality. People today are more interested in showing videos of such incidents and taking photos. Our devices have detached us from human interaction. Selfies are a part of an entire disease that has been created by our relationship with our devices. My only hope is that people stop looking at their phones and start looking at [other] people more humanely.”

‘Selfies are a part of an entire disease that has been created by our relationship with our devices. My only hope is that people stop looking at their phones and start looking at [other] people more humanely.’ — Hansal Mehta, film director

Several celebrities agree with the viewpoint that people expect a ‘celebrity’ to behave as one even when they’re in a vulnerable and /or tragic situation, as Neha recently was. “I am unsurprised,” says actor Swara Bhaskar. “We live in the times of such insensitivity as a society that when there’s something untoward happening in front of our eyes, we don’t try to stop it — instead, we stoop to voyeurism and start taking photos and videos. This callousness is now a cultural affliction! So I’m really not surprised, though I’m very sorry for Neha!”

Actors Rishi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan have also condemned such insensitive behaviour on previous occasions.

Actor Taapsee Pannu says that celebrities should be treated as “public figures” and not “public commodities”. She says, “I’ve never gone through such an extreme situation as Neha, but certainly, fans sometimes do ask for selfies at inappropriate places and time. They say, ‘We watch your films, so you have to get this selfie clicked’. I reply back, ‘It’s your choice if you want to watch my films or not.’” Taapsee adds that this is part and parcel of being a celebrity, but the public ought to have some consideration. “Sometimes, I shove some of these instances under the carpet, thinking I chose this life,” she says. “But coming up and waking us up at 4am on a flight isn’t humane. After our working hours, we are normal human beings, too!”

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