Jaya Bachchan is in the news a lot recently, and it is not for any movie projects. She has launched a single army war against Mumbai paparazzi. The wife of Bollywood’s Angry Young Man – Amitabh Bachchan – is also an angry woman. Not against an exploitative system, but against the poor paps on the streets.
The 74-year-old actor has been consistently losing her calm at paparazzis. A recent video showing Jaya Bachchan chasing away paparazzi outside the Bachchan residence ‘Pratiksha’ is going viral on social media. She is heard calling the paps ‘intruders’, as her bodyguards say Ae bhai, band kar; to photographers.
The incident took place during the Diwali puja organised by Amitabh Bachchan. But this is not the first time Jaya Bachchan has lost her cool in front of paparazzis.
Earlier during the Lakme India Fashion Week, she snapped at a photographer who stumbled, “I hope you fall.” In fact, there have been innumerable instances of Jaya being the real-life version of Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai (1980).
From Parliament to airport and even college fests, Jaya gets visibly agitated and lashes out at photographers for simply doing their jobs. It is almost as if she woke up one day and decided she didn’t like the fact that paparazzi took photos of celebrities.
Someone please tell Jaya Bachchan, privacy in Bollywood is so last century.
A history of being angry
Jaya Bachchan lost her cool at a college fest in Mumbai in 2016 when people were taking pictures of her at a public event. “It’s very annoying,” she said, adding that she has the freedom to decline being photographed. “I am trying to chat here.”
I believe she conveniently overlooked the fact that event organisers do share terms and conditions with celebrities, particularly celebrities of her stature. If she really wanted to avoid being clicked, she could put her foot down and request a photography-free event. If that is denied, she did not really have to turn up at all.
When you are part of an event that is essentially open to the public, especially something like a college fest where youngsters are understandably excited to see celebrities up close for the first time in their lives, it is simply showing off privilege to no end.
The same was narrated by a photographer who for decades has been photographing all the MPs as they step in or out the chambers. “She is the rudest person ever, and has even screamed at young school kids who come to see how Parliament works.”
Recently, Urfi Javed, aka Uorfi, who is known for her unconventional fashion choices, was spotted on the streets of Mumbai handing out sweets to the paps. She poked fun at Jaya Bachchan and laughingly yelled at the shutterbugs, ‘Ab main bhi chillaungi sabke oopar… intruders’.
To be or not to be papped
The paparazzi culture in India is not new, but it is fast becoming a huge industry of its own, that shares a symbiotic relationship with celebrities. In fact, especially for the younger stars, they serve as another marketing device by taking photos/videos of them leaving gyms, restaurants, dubbing studios, or even their homes.
Even in the instance at the Lakme Fashion Week, Jaya was with her granddaughter Navya Naveli, who has a massive fan base of her own despite not having taken up acting projects. It’s only natural that the paparazzi who stumbled wanted to photograph Navya with her grandmother, with whom she also co-hosts a podcast called “What The Hell Navya”.
Like it or absolutely detest it, the paparazzi’s livelihood depends on the photographs he takes of celebrities during the day. There will undoubtedly be debates about heckling or going too far in the name of taking pictures. But well, when you sign up to be a Bollywood star, being papped is part of the deal.
Even people on social media are not impressed by Jaya’s behaviour, especially the manner in which she has reacted to paparazzis in recent times.
Comments on the video range from cheeky comebacks like Amitabh should have stayed with Rekha to questioning why exactly the star is being rude to people who are trying to earn their living. Many are of the opinion that she should not be given any attention, courtesy her obvious lack of manners.
Maybe Jaya Bachchan should take a few lessons from the rest of her family, who are often described as ‘gracious’ about getting clicked. Instead of becoming viral meme material with her rage, one What The Hell Navya podcast could have the granddaughter teach Jaya how to say no with grace.
(Edited by Tarannum Khan)