​Aishwarya’s ‘Son’ Needs A Shrink​

It takes all sorts. We now have a ‘fan’(more like a too-fan) claiming he is  the  biological son of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Ah, the elder brother Aaradhyaa never knew about.Neither did her mother. For that matter.

Really,could we just laugh over this kind of grotesque  idolization where hero-worship is turned  into  an obsessive disease? Didn’t we have an elderly couple  claiming to be Tamil actor Dhanush’s parents?Dhanush, poor chap, had  to spend crores worth of money and time in the courts proving the wizened imposters  to be  nothing but gold diggers.

Stars should by now know how to deal with persistent fans. But some times they are  at a loss as to how to fob off attention  without seeming  rude.Once I was  with my dear friend Mrs Jaya Bachchan for lunch at the Marriott. Normally she invites me home.  But that one time the house was being renovated. So we went out.

Soon  two amiable women saw her smiled and made bold to approach our table for a  picture.

Mrs Bachchan froze  . “Can’t you see we are having our meal? Could you  grant us some privacy please?”  The women moved  off hurriedly with an apology. But I  am sure they ceased to be Jaya Bachchan’s (and probably the  other  Bachchans’) fans thereafter.

I remember earlier  at the same venue years ago when KareenaKapoor (then not  a Khan) had brought Shahid Kapoor to meet me. Every few minutes kids would show  up asking for a picture. Every time the couple(yes, they were a couple then) would oblige. But then the kids went away and came back with their parents,and their parents’ friends, and so on.

We  hardly got a chance to talk. The entire evening we spent withShahid and Kareena  getting clicked with strangers.

 Is  this right? I remember  seeing Meryl Streep  talking about fans on  a talk-show where she said they would earlier come for autographs at restaurants, but  now they want pictures on their mobile phones, and they expect you to pose until they get that PERFECT PICTURE for their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

I once saw singer Anuradha Paudwal travelling alone being houndednn the airport. Just why she was travelling alone and  why she should get mobbed ,was beyond me. But here’s what happened: she was approached for a picture by a well-fed man , and she obliged. Then the same man came back with his family of (well-fed) wife,  parents and children. She smiled and obliged them  with pictures. Then others who were watching the  click clique,began  to crowd her. That’s when she  got up and left.I don’t know where she went.

 It’s not easy being a star  …unless you are Lata Mangeshkar. She is  the only public figure from the entertainment world who gets treated with the distant reverence she deserves.When she entered  a restaurant everyone in there got on their feet reflexively …everyone. And then they  kept standing until we sat  down.  Not one  person approached  our table for a picture or an autograph.

I’ve seen admirers and and devotees of  the Melody Queen stand for hours  outside  her home Prabhu Kunj on  Pedder Road in Mumbaijust to get a glimpse of her. They  never try to come near her or to talk to her.They just look at her as devotees do at an idol of MataSaraswati in  a temple.

 But that’s what makes her Lata Mangeshkar. Thanks  to constant interactive  exposure stars have lost the aura that separated them from their fans.Today a Salman Khan or a Shah Rukh have fans screaming at them with infuriating familiarity, calling them by their nicknames  ‘Sallu’ and ‘SRK’(they both hate  being addressed that way).

 The solution is to let fans come near, but not to the point of taking over  the stars’ lives. Mr Bachchan’s Sunday darshan at his residence where he  greets(never meets) fans in the compound of his iconic bungalow Jalsa,  at an  appointed hour is  the  closest a  superstar can get at solving the problem that has plagued  the star-fan relationship since the time Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand would gets chased down even to the loo with no bouncers to cordon them from getting mobbed.

But then those stars were never mobbed. They were worshipped.

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