What happens if you leave the man you loved… And in retaliation, he vows to destroy you? What if he transforms into a ruthless tormentor, robbing you of your freedom and driving you to insanity… And even threatening your safety?
That’s what happened to Meera, the Aishwarya Rai of Pakistan (who starred opposite Ashmit Patel in Mahesh Bhatt’s Nazar, some years ago), recently. Last year, she landed at her mentor Mahesh Bhatt’s home at 2 am, claiming that a fan was stalking her.
A few days ago, she called him up again insisting that the ‘fan’ had entered her Lahore home and tried to kill her. The ‘fan’ turned out to be the actress’ estranged husband.
Back home, Priyanka Chopra, at 17, had to get her bed barricaded with wrought iron rods, after a man broke into her house one night and was peeping in through her bedroom window. Recently, at an awards function in Singapore, Asin spent sleepless nights, courtesy a man who followed her all around and even managed to get into the hotel where she was staying.
A couple of weeks ago, Kangana Ranaut had a showdown of sorts with her stalker outside her gym. The man, in his 20s, had been following her all over town and finally handed her a letter when she confronted him.
Clinical Psychologist Dr Veena Chakravarthy, says, “When it comes to stalking celebrities, it’s a sort of love or obsession they have for their screen persona, not the people themselves. They want to get to know them better and understand them.
Most of these stalkers have low self-esteem or suffer from an inferiority complex. So they want to be around famous people and show off to their friends that they know them. It gives them a false sense of importance in society.”
But most people believe that stalkers only target the rich and famous, not the average person. And stalking may not always be physical. Stalking a person over the phone is also common. And now with the Internet having invaded our lives in a big way, cyber-stalking has become rampant.
Amrita Rao actress
A guy had once parked himself in a phone booth outside my house. He just wanted to have a glimpse of me. I got to know this from the security man of the building. I didn’t know how to react. I’d never faced a situation like this before. A week later, he called up on my landline at 7 am. My dad answered. The stalker told him that he was a huge fan of mine. My dad spoke to him nicely and assured him that he would fix up a meeting with me. Eventually, I met him on one of my film sets. I didn’t want to meet him outside and had purposely selected a place where I felt safe in the midst of a lot of people. He clicked many pictures with me. He even showed me a collage of my photographs that he had made. He was very emotional. I asked him to have lunch. He was happy. While leaving, he gifted me a guitar.
Hansika Motwani actress
A man started sending me love letters and even following me home. This went on for almost three months. I was only 17 then and was scared to even step out of the house. My friends knew about it and they managed to follow him one day. It turned out that he worked out at the gym I went to and was much older than me.
One day, I confronted him in the gym and asked him if he was stalking me. He admitted to his doings. I was slightly taken aback by his honesty and requested him to stop it because it was upsetting me a lot. He apologised and promised me that he would stop. He told me that he liked me a lot, specially my smile, and hadn’t meant to harm me. He seemed to be a decent man. His attitude put me at ease. He lived up to his promise. To date, I haven’t stalked anyone. I don’t have the guts to do that (laughs).
This was almost 18 years ago. There was a guy who insisted on calling me Anais. That was the name of the perfume he sprayed on his body. This was his way of being close to me. He was a follower of Osho and would send me material on his teaching. He would even call me throughout the day. My answering machine would be clogged with his messages. My family pleaded with him everyday to stop it. It was freaky and traumatising at the same time.
My cousin Divyani was working for Videocon. Once, during a trade fair, suddenly she heard a familiar voice outside her stall. She realised it was the same guy. She coaxed him to reveal his name. It was Raut. We found out that he was working at a telephone exchange. That’s how his incoming calls couldn’t be traced. He would attend all my shows and even bought my bikini at a movie magazine auction.
Once, while driving with my sister at Churchgate, I saw a man running towards my car. A bike knocked him down. He got up and continued to run towards my car. Next, I heard my sister screaming and telling me it was Raut. Then he stuck his face close to the car window, opened his arms wide open and displayed my bikini. He even landed at my place with the bikini when my mother was at home.
Finally, I mustered up the courage to speak to him. I thanked him for being such a great fan and explained to him that if he pursued me any more, I would lodge a police complaint. He told me that Farhan (my ex-husband whom I was dating then) wasn’t the right guy for me. But eventually, he stopped stalking me after I married Farhan.