Bollywood, Please Spare Us Your Dumbness and Stupidity

Bollywood, Please Spare Us Your Dumbness and Stupidity

by Tushar Gupta - Friday, December 20, 2019 01:22 PM IST
Bollywood, Please Spare Us Your Dumbness and StupidityBollywood actors during a CAA protest rally in Mumbai.
  • Bollywood celebrities are free to express their beliefs. But much like their scripts, their opinions are void of facts and realities.

    They do not belong to the front pages of newspapers or prime time debates.

First, they began by saying how the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now an Act) was going to threaten the citizenship of Muslims in India. They followed this by saying how the bill on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a document that does not exist, combined with the CAA would take away the citizenship of Muslims.

When the above two lies could not be sustained, they took to witchcraft and wizardry and stated their delusions and assumptions about the CAA and proposed NRC as facts on social media before getting together for a protest, swiftly coordinated by their public relations agencies in Mumbai yesterday (19 December).

Now, one does not expect the Hindi film industry, or its digital extension, to be intelligent or be mildly intellectual.

This is an industry that celebrates biopics on terrorists (and their sister) that coordinated the Bombay blasts of 1993, that takes pride in insulting any and every Hindu tradition in the name of art, and one that puts the laws of physics to such miserable use that if Issac Newton were to somehow see it, he would have begged the church to strangle him to death.

However, in the last few years, social media has enabled them to go beyond the realm of newspapers and glossy magazines. Now, they communicate directly, to their audience, or their fan bases that host mindless trends on Twitter for a few hundred rupees, only to bring an opposite actor down on the day of a movie release.

This communication has allowed them to voice their opinion on every matter. It is essential for any healthy democracy to have enough room for everyone to voice their opinions, even if they come across as dumb as a David Dhawan drama.

Now, with the PR agency ecosystem, supplemented by the millions of followers these celebrities have on social media, they ensure that their opinion is the one heard more, covered more, and eventually, considered far more important than that of a common social media user, even if its intellectual value is far lesser than that of a Karan Johar ‘romcom’.

Thus, a condescending reply to a user who may point out real facts becomes a ‘befitting’ reply for the news websites. An artiste, blessed by nepotism, and who cannot put two and two together to call it four is portrayed as a thinker. With the PR agencies doing their thing in the background, these puppets for hire make out tweets void of any ground reality.

After all, it was a significant section of this industry that warmed up to the likes of Arvind Kejriwal before shutting shop because they turned a blind eye to women harassment in their own backyard.

After all, this is the same industry that has an elaborate documented history of having producers from Dubai for movies that starred the costliest actors to ensure that black money was converted into white.

After all, this is the same industry that sat in the lap of India’s most wanted, backed a TADA convict, that talks about animal rights but dances around an actor, begging for roles and recognition, infamous for his animal hunting habits and instances of domestic abuse.

From leading actors to comedians, and from web series stars to character artistes, they all cherish the idea of a protest, for that is that one event that ensures free media attention.

For an industry that is obsessed with the idea of having their airport departure and arrival fashion covered, these protests are not an occasion to impart knowledge or appeal for peace but to grab eyeballs because a release is soon due. They are here just to watch the world burn for an additional few crores in revenue from their next movie because that’s who they are.

The CAA protests have once again exposed their idiocy. Not more than 1,000 in number, prominent web series stars took to Instagram to declare Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

For the ones unaware of the web series or the concept of it, these are 12-40 minute ads on YouTube, weaving a story around a product they try hard to sell. To put it simply, these are glorified digital advertisements.

These web stars, some as prominent as their Bollywood counterparts, ran all the rumours they could find on CAB, CAA and NRC. Some, in the garb of delusion, even declared the CAB to be same as CAA while some couldn’t tell the difference between CAA and NRC.

While memes do add to the much-needed humour online, memes peddled with baseless facts add to the misinformation and fear-mongering. A comedian lately recognised for getting a Congress minister as a stand-up comedian for a show on Amazon Prime mocked the concern of the citizens for a bus that was burned.

On finding themselves to be wrong after the government released a set of FAQs yesterday (19 December), the web stars then chose to quote their feelings as facts. One can expect their next set of actions to include liberating India from the tyranny of Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah using dog-filters on Instagram through the Chinese smartphones they are paid to endorse in the most desperate manner.

However, they were not alone.

Ironically, Bollywood has a significant chunk of artistes who like to compare India with the likes of North Korea and Syria. A metro station shut from them is equivalent to a state being shut, and a pocket of the city without telecom network for them is equivalent to India between 1975 and 1977.

Perhaps, their lack of commonsense stems from the lack of meaningful cinema they have created, and in these pointless protests, they find some validation for their existence.

Some Bollywood celebrities went ahead and shared graphics that not only got the facts wrong but even the map of India wrong. Some, who are animal rights activists on the night of Diwali and beef lovers for the rest of the year asked for soft handling of protesters who were burning buses for fun and threatening school kids to forward their communal agenda. Some merely tweeted what their PR agencies thought would be the best for them.

One could go on and on about the lies and digital deceits of these celebrities, but nepotism and Bollywood’s echo chambers have awarded them far more space than they actually deserve, and thus, naming them would almost be redundant.

Movie stars, anywhere in the world, hold immense importance in public life, for a lot of people look upto them. It is no different in India. Following their lead, ‘woke wannabe idealists’ on social media, some with post-graduation degrees, added to the spread of misinformation.

On being questioned by their counterparts about the lack of truth in the graphics they were sharing, some chose to snap ties, some chose to make the cow-urine jibe, and some simply realised that they were protesting against something that did not exist. As long as it sounds woke (slang for cool, acceptable in a society plagued by peer pressure) on social media, it finds a voice, irrespective of how dumb it is. While the CAA protests, the millennials confirmed this notion.

These celebrities, actors, artistes, and everyone in the entertainment ecosystem, have a right to voice their opinion, even if it means calling the surgical strikes fake, calling a constitutionally elected government a dictatorship, peddling fake news, or comparing their cliched masala movies with the work of Christopher Nolan.

They are not entitled to, however, shoving down their delusions in the form of PR agency generated opinions upon us, the masses, the voters, the regular people (in the words of an actress blessed by nepotism and glossy fashion magazines), for we have chosen the government.

They are free, and they must be free, to express what they believe in, but much like their scripts, their opinions void of facts and realities belong to the trash can, and not the front page of any publication or prime time debates.

Spare us your dumbness and idiocy, Bollywood. Spare us!

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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