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Star-struck enterprise

What does a celebrity actually do? Andy Warhol, the original celebrity painter and Marshall Mcluhan, Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Well, say Hello magazine and Ok, and the future is here!

entertainment Updated: Mar 27, 2010 00:34 IST
Abhinav Bindra

What does a celebrity actually do? Andy Warhol, the original celebrity painter and Marshall Mcluhan, Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Well, say Hello magazine and Ok, and the future is here!

At present, I am also supposed to be a ‘celebrity’. So I wonder whether I’ve really done something? Earlier, you pursued a passion that clearly brought you joy, obviously some pain and thankfully a sense of achievement. Now you have reality television. And reality by definition cannot be counterfeit and staged.

Can ‘emotional ataychar’ really happen second-hand? And, if you are being cheated on, do you dial a TV channel? Or do season after season of swayamvars really just leave behind ‘celeb survivors’ in their wake, only to be quoted repeatedly and referred to as so and so contestant from season 1, 2 or 3 of show ‘xyz’…

With the mouth-to-mouth combat that passes of as entertainment these days, I feel rather chewed up by the byte culture. Witness the neo-achievers who are famous for being famous and who are breathlessly quoted all over.

At least when Warhol painted Campbell’s soup caps there was a nudge at irony, now we just sallow all the regurgitated pap. The haute celebs just seem to do ‘fun’ (regulation word) things, say the obligatory ‘mwah’ (somewhat dampened by swine flu), appear on Page 3 and do the talking heads thing on TV.

We used to have heroes — still have some such as Tendulkar, Dhoni, the painter Raza — who give an incredible performance. Genius is fleeting and indefinable, yet those of us touched by it, privileged to have witnessed it, cannot forget it. It moves us, gives us hope and makes us strive. I wish we could redefine celebrity culture as a little more than pop-con.