By now, the star-struck many have become rooted firmly in the Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for the uninitiated) camp or outside of it. But even the neuters agree that the attitude of Jolie's bodyguards in Mumbai is anything but admissible and should not be condoned lightly.
Here too, Indians who are just as enamored by the actress whose iconic status has more to do with her image than many of her movies, as their counterparts in India have been rudely awakened to the fact that it takes just one statement to unravel the deeply embedded and flawed sense of discrimination in some people, (in this case her British bodyguards).
In India to shoot "A Mighty Heart", a movie that ironically is based on the aftermath of inhumane racial disparity and its ramifications, last week Mumbai police arrested Jolie's bodyguards after they allegedly misbehaved with parents and students at a local school.
The brouhaha took place when the gates of the Anjuman-e-Islam school, which had been closed during filming of some scenes, were opened to let parents in to pick up their children. Reportedly, Thomas McAdam, Robert Dunn, and Michael Brett are the three bodyguards who were responsible for the misbehavior and were apprehended by the police.
Even though they have been asked not to leave the country for one week as also deposit the normative bail guarantees amounting to $545 each, this seems to be scanty reprieve for men who called parents "bloody Indians" and "bloody Muslims" in addition to pushing and shoving them in full view of eyewitnesses, including their own children and that too in their own land, their own country, their own home.
Whether the actress ought to be blamed for the fracas is something that is hotly contested by people. Although she is not directly responsible for the misdemeanor of her guards, the fact that those entities get away with just about everything leaves ample room for discussion per se.
Celebrities all over walk the thin line when it comes to their personal safety and the lengths to which they go to assure it. Their claim: If it isn't the paparazzi then it is some crazed fan chasing them to the corner of the earth for sometimes, something as trivial as a glimpse.
Hollywood denizens are prone to this phenomenon more starkly because of their global presence as also the money that spins on their photographs, videos, news bytes; the rarer, the better. Naturally, more often than not they insist on having the best (read the brawniest, rudest, roughest, even the toughest when it comes to their demands) sentinels guard them and their loved ones. Contrarily, often unbeknownst to them, these guards then become their eyes and ears, and often as we have just witnessed their mouthpieces.
While it may be misplaced to blame Jolie for something that her bodyguards did, the act itself shows how fractured some part of the so-called western sensibility may be, regardless of how good appearances are. Surface veneer is easy to parade when one has enormous wealth and fame as succors, but truly it is little acts rather than huge PR actions that hold more impact.
Often people are circumscribed as Asians, Caucasians, Hindus, Buddhists, Scientologists, Kabbalists, Shiites…sometimes such common tags are just as misleading as the ponderously toted similarities between people that 'fall into' the said niches.What the Mumbai incident denotes is more than disgusting prejudices rife in some people still; it is even bigger than being a shameful attack on Indians and therefore India (bloody Indians!); it is more appalling than an attack on someone's belief (bloody Muslims!); it is staggeringly wrong because it symbolizes mindless clubbing of derogatory connotations to a nation and a belief system.
The solution; better trained bodyguards, better understanding of a nation and its workings, better infrastructural regulations, better management…
Surely not a bloody tirade.