MIDWAY: In the name of fame

Have you ever wondered about the ethical standard of celebrities who appear on cheap commercials: those of candies to cars, baby food to booze — et all?

Have you ever questioned yourself if these people, so admired by the public, realise the significance of the message they give to millions of fans? Whenever I do, I invariably come to the same conclusion. That, for fame and fortune, people will be ready to do virtually anything. Otherwise, why would any Bollywood heartthrob endorse products like hair oil and chocolate that, I suspect, he knows little about? Or why would a Hindi soap diva choose to promote a Nepali tea?

They either believe that they have the licence to fool people or that once famous, one is free of all responsibilities towards the people.

As long as they get good money, the celebrities, it seems, agree to do virtually anything. If one has tried and tested a particular product and finds it satifactory, it is in the interest of the people that they promote it because people tend to trust the celebrities.

In this regard, linking one’s name with a product one knows little about is not only unethical but also irresponsible.

Everything seems to be commercialised. Love has been pared down to lust; respect for elders dwindled by the disregard for their experience and wisdom; empathy replaced by egomania. Sex and violence sells. Everything. Books, movies, music, even sports. A svelte model might have no idea about the chemical composition of a particular brand of soap but she doesn’t flinch from baring all to promote it. Famous sportsmen don’t mind making an idiot of themselves for a few bucks, either.

Anything for fame seems to be their motto. Once people start recognising your face, who gives a whit about how you got there? Paris Hilton, in her bid for fame, made sure she was photographed in the company of popular people. When that didn’t work, she made sure that people kept talking about her by putting up her raunchy antics on the Internet. This was the perfect fodder for much hoopla — exactly what she wanted!

To wit: anything goes as long as it keeps you in the limelight. Once in public glare, one can always mend one’s image by a grand publicity stunt.