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Showbiz relationships in public glare

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Download 'Kyun ho Gaya Na' WallpapersIt's been a season of scandals in showbiz and the paparazzi are making a killing of it!

Amisha Patel sued her father for resource mismanagement; an unknown starlet charged filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar with rape; and model-turned-VJ Nafisa Joseph ended her life over a soured relationship.

And it added sharpness to the journalists' pens as they wrote prickly prose in parody of the protagonists.

The bizarre Madhur Bhandarkar rape episode triggered a series of SMS jokes such as 'Madhur Balatkar' and 'Tarzan The Rapeman'.

Have Indians finally developed a sense of humour? Or, do we simply enjoy watching celebrities squirm?

The Nafisa Joseph episode, which captured headlines, rubbed shoulders with Madhur Bhandarkar's alleged rape charges bringing into sharp focus the stress factor people in showbiz suffer from if they are unfortunate enough to fall in love in the public eye.

It isn't as though the paparazzi is to blame for the unreasonable amount of light shed on the private lives of public figures. Most often, the people involved in these romantic liaisons do so with the flash bulbs on.

Download Mahima Chowdhary  WallpapersIronically, Leander Paes and Mahima Chowdhary chose to remain mum about their relationship through most of its course and decided to come out of the closet only at the end-titles.

Most couples, however, choose to conduct the entire brouhaha of their relationships in full public glare, replete with details of e-mail exchanged between them with moms and dads adding their sound bytes.

Who's responsible for dragging celebrity relationships down to the depths of voyeurism? Partly it's the sensation-hungry media. Nowadays Page 1 reads like Page 3. And the headlines on news channels sound like screaming hoardings of the latest issue of a film glossy.

Most celebrities feign to loathe what they call a blatant invasion of their privacy. But of late they have themselves changed the guidelines. Now TV cameras, which were earlier not allowed into private bashes, have become an integral part of celebrity dos, just like champagne.

Recently, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and a group of showbiz celebrities threatened the hostess of a high-profile party with legal consequences when the event was scheduled for telecast. They claimed they had been filmed with secret cameras when they were letting their hair down.

The hostess has another story to tell. "They knew they were being filmed all along. It isn't as if any one of them is camera shy. They just want to be paid to be seen making a public appearance."

Download Fida WallpapersEven Salman Khan, who appears to hate the media, makes sure he's seen living up to his image in public by either making snide or sensational remarks. At a recent press get-together he dropped a bombshell by saying that he was the surprise element in the film "Fida".

Till then, the media had been in the dark about Khan's presence in the film. When it made news in print and on TV, it turned out to be a false alarm -- one of those typical "Salman jokes" that backfire periodically on the media.

Private affairs in showbiz became a media affair from the time Vivek Oberoi called a press meet in Mumbai on All Fools Day last year to tell the world
about the way Salman Khan had threatened him the whole night about Aishwarya Rai. A TV channel played Oberoi's statements round-the-clock, like a cricket commentary that had lost its pitch.

Preeti Jain's allegations against Madhur Bhandarkar are directly linked with the Oberoi-Khan combat on-camera. That incident had thrown up the way the media could be used to generate public excitement about private relationships.

Now of course, celebrity relationships have become public property.

Mahima and Leander had a good chance of mending their broken bridges.

Now they can't. They're on record.


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