Back in the day, things were simple. Celebs were revered like gods. They made few appearances, kept their private lives private, signed autograph books and smiled their thanks to any compliment that a fan dared articulate.
Today, however, celebrity and fanhood have changed. Stars are not rare; they’re everywhere – giving soundbytes to bloggers, responding to tweets, having a salad at the same Juhu café you frequent, working on the treadmill at Bandra’s Gold’s Gym, en route to Siddhivinayak Temple with thousands of pilgrims early Tuesday morning, or boogieing Friday night away at Royalty. It’s easier to meet them, hound them for autographs, and to mob them for that one glance, one photo, one reply, one reaction that you can brag about on Facebook later.
Increasingly often, adulation is crossing the limits of decency and fans are turning demanding, distasteful and downright rude. Celebs share their horror stories...
Raageshwari actress, singer and contestant in Bigg Boss 5
Days after Bigg Boss 5, a woman claiming to be “her greatest fan” began contacting her. “She seemed sweet, but soon turned patronising. She told me I should wear racy bikinis, do item numbers so that I get the stardom I deserve and hurl abuses to get ahead in life.
BRUNCH TIP: If the stars want your advice, they’ll ask for it
Fans often crossed the line after Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster. "I met a fan in Delhi who said he adored my performance," she says. "I thanked him and went about my work until two weeks later, I found him waiting for me under my building in Mumbai. It totally freaked me out. He’d even managed to get past security. It was my worst moment of fear."
BRUNCH TIP: Don’t be creepy. Your intentions may be innocent, but celebs have every reason to fear the worst
Shreyas Talpade, actor in Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal
Recently, a fan contacted Talpade and sent him an invitation to her birthday party at her home. “I took it lightly and went about my shoots until I reached home at midnight,” he recalls. “She called me again to confirm if I was coming. When I politely refused, she got worked up and started abusing me. If that wasn’t enough, even her father reprimanded me, called me names and said I had no
manners. I was made to look like a joker for no fault of mine. That’s not fair.”
BRUNCH TIP: No star has the time to hang out with you. Get real!
The hunky actor has had many female fans knocking on his door and calling his hotel room at odd hours. Those are petty annoyances compared to the time one girl wanted an autograph and didn’t have any paper. "She pulled down her top and asked me to sign her breast," he says, shocked. Of course he refused!
BRUNCH TIP: Eww! Don’t make a public spectacle of yourself. It earns no respect. All you become is a nameless anecdote like this one
Geeta Basra, actress in Zilla Ghaziabad
When she refused to help one of her “writer fans from Madhya Pradesh” with her book on NRIs in Bollywood, the fan didn’t take it well. “I helped her as much as I could, but started distancing myself when she started getting personal,” Basra says. “When I stopped responding to her messages, she actually threatened me. One evening, I lost my cool and shouted at her over the phone. There hasn’t been a single call since then.”
BRUNCH TIP: Showbiz is hard enough without a celeb having to realise a fan’s dreams as well
Sandhu had no place to escape to when fans began bothering him on a flight. "A group of six to seven came up to me one by one requesting pictures," he says. When a flight attendant intervened, one member pointed out how Sandhu’s TV character was a two-timer, and suggested the attendant try her luck!
BRUNCH TIP: Don’t confuse a star’s reel image for real image. Respect their work
Amrita Puri, actress in Kai Po Che!
Some fans have bugged her even in a doctor’s waiting room. “One guy asked for an autograph, then went on to narrate his dreams of entering Bollywood and Hollywood!”
BRUNCH TIP: A celeb within earshot doesn’t mean he/she wants to hear your sob story
Hiten Tejwani, actor in Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV)
His nightmare began when a 20-something boy came up to him “invited me to coffee, insisted on a picture, handed me flowers.” So far so good. “The problem was that this happened every day. Finally, I called security. Later he told me that it was a Truth or Dare bet.”
BRUNCH TIP: Remember that a star can file a harassment case
Warsi’s interaction with one fan began as a hilarious exchange. "This guy would send me fun videos in which he’d dress up and enact my characters from my movies." he says. "Initially it was all in good humour, but as days passed, the tone and content changed. He managed to get hold of my number and started calling me incessantly. He even harassed me to give him a break in the industry. I was close to giving him a piece of my mind, instead, I just blocked him."
BRUNCH TIP: If you want to make it big, do it on your own steam. A star is not obliged to give you a break just because they noticed you. No one is!
Neha Sharma actress in Yamla Pagla Deewana 2
Sharma had a scary experience when a group of bikers chased her car. When she stopped to face them, said they only wanted pictures with her. “It was a huge sigh of relief.”
BRUNCH TIP: You like a star so much you’re willing to risk their life? Not smart. Not cool!
From HT Brunch, July 28
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