Saturday, 25 June, 2022
HomeOpinionPoVWhy Indians don’t need filmy magazines for juicy Bollywood gossip anymore

Why Indians don’t need filmy magazines for juicy Bollywood gossip anymore

Bollywood stars’ political views on the Narendra Modi government to romantic getaways of celebrities, you will find it all on your phone.

Text Size:

There was a time when Indians learned about their favourite Bollywood stars’ love affairs, multiple affairs, extramarital affairs, domestic fights, street fights in the form of gossip. And the source for such gossip used to be magazines like MayapuriFilmy Duniya, CineBlitz and Stardust. But something has changed now.

The nature of celebrity gossip has been overhauled — and that’s because media has changed. No magazines are needed when you have Instagram, 24×7 paparazzi and Twitter. Political views on the Narendra Modi government to romantic getaways of celebrities, you’ll find it all when you just pick up your phone.

The celebs are not hiding anymore or leaving it for entertainment magazines and websites to manufacture gossip. Be it the relationship between Arjun Kapoor and Malaika Arora, Anurag Kashyap and Shubhra Shetty, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, or the marriage of Milind Soman with Ankita Kunwar, or the Arjun Rampal-Mehar Jesia split — much of it is out there. So, what about gossip?

Also read: Lights, camera and action: How Modi govt relies on drama to survive just like Bollywood films

Industry that manufactures

Gossip, nowadays, is manufactured as a pre-film release stunt. And a 24X7 hungry media laps it up even though it knows that these pieces of information are linked to an upcoming movie or some big announcement. But the media runs it anyway because it is hungry for content.

There are ‘agents’ of Bollywood stars who specialise in letting gossip out — so-and-so is getting married, these two actors (usually part of an upcoming film) are having an affair. There are more salacious rumours now about what happened on the set of a film. And everything suddenly dies down once the movie has been released.

They have even tapped into that section of people whose interest in Bollywood stars is mainly on socio-political terms. So Irrfan Khan delivers a controversial statement about Eid just before the release of his film Madaari and later tells people to “not let TV and media colour your opinion”. The new generation of gossip mongers are no longer the ‘close friends’ of the celebrities; they are the modern-day millennial professionals working with them. They bring out the best and the worst of political opinions of today’s celebrities.

Also read: Art, life and Bollywood’s role in violence against women

Some are withdrawing too 

The other side to the gossip world is that a lot of Bollywood stars have withdrawn from making any political comment because the few times they have made their opinions public, the storm kicked up by it has been a nightmare for them. After the 2015-16 fiasco, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan have almost stopped speaking on any social or political matter, despite being goaded by the media through repeated assertions like ‘the great silence of mighty Khans’. Saif Ali Khan tries his hands on retelling history and gets burnt every time. Recently, he tried to ‘understand’ the history of Tanhaji and was brutally trolled.

A friend working with a second-rung star said that the celebs have strong opinions on all political matters but they are being calculative. Some are worried that ‘past gossip’ might suddenly resurface if they took a stand on recent subjects. They carefully watch all that is unfolding with Swara Bhasker, Richa Chadda, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Naseeruddin Shah, Javed Akhtar, and Anupam Kher among others.

A big star is learnt to have lamented on the sets of a movie that Bollywood used to be a secular place, quite like Hindu mythology — ant mein sab achha ho jaata hai (everything works out fine in the end) — but it is slowly turning into a Greek mythology — the tragedy will keep striking.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular