Beware gossip-mongers, celebs can take you to court
Many like Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar have threatened legal action to stop gossip-mongers from spreading false news about their personal lives.Updated: Aug 04, 2009, 20:00 IST
There are stories and rumours galore about film stars, but celebrities are no longer willing to tolerate gossip that will affect their relationships. Many like Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar have threatened legal action to stop gossip-mongers from spreading false news about their personal lives.
Recently an article titled, "Career more important than family", published by a website infuriated Aishwarya so much that she issued a statement saying she would take legal action against those who are spreading rumours about her.
According to Archana Sadanand of Imagesmiths, who handles the publicity for Aishwarya, a celebrity's life is in the public domain but circulating untrue statements about them affects their personal lives.
"Yes, a celebrity's life is there in the public domain but writing things that are untrue and attributing false statements to them affect their personal lives and in such cases the best way out is legal recourse," Archana told IANS.
"A rumour is a rumour until it takes the shape of newsprint or media space... when we authenticate any such information by broadcasting, we in a way are adding to our readership or viewership.
"But we seem to forget that a life, a person is attached to such rumours and in most cases these rumours have a snowball effect," said Archana, whose client list also includes big names like Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan.
In the past actors like Saif Ali Khan and Akshay too have threatened legal action against gossip-mongers.
Saif was at the receiving end when The New York Post reported that he had thrown attitude in a local bar and was thrown out. He then threatened to take the newspaper to court.
"I'm considering taking legal action against the paper. The article is slanderous and completely baseless," Saif, who was shooting for Siddharth Anand's Tara Rum Pum then, had said.
Akshay too decided to act against those spreading rumours of a discord in his married life with Twinkle Khanna.
Akshay and Twinkle's spokesperson released a statement that said: "They will not stand for false and malicious reporting by any publication any more. They have sent a legal notice to the publication concerned for the false report that they published on July 24, 2007, and they will take them to court."
Akshay also threatened to sue a British tabloid for giving false "details" of his and ex-girlfriend Shilpa Shetty's personal lives. It was published soon after Shilpa won British reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" in 2007.
"I will never talk about a lady in those terms, this is totally baseless, I've never spoken to the said newspaper and I will seek legal recourse," Akshay was quoted as saying that time.
Said Rajnigandha Shekhawat, another publicist: "Rumours can take a completely nasty turn sometimes with absolutely no bearing on the truth... I think it's fair if the actors threaten to sue."
"However, rumour-mongering is a big part of a celebrity's life and most of them are now aware that there is no escaping it," said Rajnigandha, whose clients include Shahid Kapoor, Sonal Chauhan, Vir Das and Purab Kohli.
Even southern actors have come down heavily on people circulating false news.
Recently, when Tamil actress Trisha was accused of entering into an unsavoury argument with former India cricketer Hemang Badani at a hotel, she issued a stern denial and said that certain "vested interests" have been spreading rumours about her.
"I won't keep mum from now onwards. Whosoever writes or says anything bad about me, I won't mind taking them to court," she had said.
Many feel that stars seek legal help not just to safeguard their personal lives but also to protect their image.
"Actors survive on image, it's their bread and butter. So how can they take somebody trying to tarnish it so lightly? And in the clutter today, image has become more important...It's part of the marketing strategy of celebrities," said Neelam Gupta, who handles the publicity of singer Sukhwinder among others.
But rumours about stars have always done the rounds. So are celebrities becoming more impatient now?
"I don't agree. I've heard of stars in the 1980s going and beating up editors of film magazines! That's something I haven't heard of in recent years," said Rajnigandha.