We all love to know what is going on in our favourite celebrity’s life be it Ranveer and Deepika getting married or Kareena and Saif having their second child, and one of the prime sources to find that out is through the paparazzi photographers. Though the pap culture in India wasn’t full-fledged, it has grown immensely in the last few years and has also at many times touched petty levels, completely violating celebs’ privacy.
Pap culture or the Paparazzi culture is a profession in the media field which involves photographers clicking pictures of celebrities to give the audiences a sneak peek into their personal as well as professional lives.
Being a public figure comes with its own baggage. Almost every part of the celebrity’s life is broadcasted and there is very little privacy left. Being a public figure demands the celebrities to be ethically impeccable, always dressed up to look good for the cameras when in public places, to force a smile, pout, pose and wave the minute they step out of their house/office/sets even though they might be going through a bad day. Most of the time, when we get busy watching celeb gossips or hitting like to all the pap videos we come across on Instagram, what we forget to understand is that though a public figure, they too are entitled to the right to privacy just as you and I are.
There have been many instances where the celebrities, in spite of calling out the paparazzi photographers and requesting them to not click pictures, have been clicked. A very recent example of this was of Anushka Sharma asking the photographers to stop clicking pictures of her and her husband Virat Kohli while they were sitting in their balcony. Choosing to go deaf ears, the paps did the exact opposite. That’s when the actress condemned the act.
We all are aware of what a ruckus the media created with the whole Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty case. The media went all out to snap pictures of the actress completely invading her privacy and her private space leave aside the brutal character assassination she was subjected to. Even worse and traumatizing was when Sushant Singh Rajput’s last picture laying lifeless on the bed was released. None of the true fans, friends and family asked to see this state of the actor when we had his smiling face in our minds all this while. The paps did not once find it wrong to release pictures of Shushant Singh Rajput’s last rites too. Deepika Padukone and a few of the others from the film fraternity had raised their voices against this and shamed the paparazzi.
Having cameras placed at various different angles just to record every little movement and activity of the celebrity cannot fall under the premises of paparazzi but rather spying.
Further, the paparazzi’s obsession with clicking the star kids too is troublesome. Not only do they subject the innocent ones to absolute cacophony but also forget that the innumerable flashes can be very disturbing and damaging to the tender eyes. Many actors of the industry have spoken of wanting to raise their children normally just like any other child however the paps make it difficult for them. Taimur Ali Khan, one of the most popular star kids has now himself started telling the paps to not click his pictures. I mean let the boy just go to school once without getting papped!
It’s almost very creepy that the paps know exactly which celebrity will be spotted where, with whom and at what time of the day, doing what. It’s not called papping the celebs, it’s called stalking them. We as an audience definitely do love to know what our stars are doing but do we really want to know every tiny little detail like what they ate for lunch and dinner, who they spoke with on the call or dined with, or which gym do they go to and what restaurants do they often visit?
To quite an extent, the audience/viewers too, are to be blamed. The audience consumes such content and also circulates it among their social circle building up stories and assumptions revolving around the celebrities’ lives. This increases the demand for such pictures thereby increasing their price. It is when we as an audience stop encouraging such activities will the demand for them subside.
We the audience and the celebrities definitely do need the paparazzi, but it is important to realize the fine line between what is acceptable and unacceptable and what amounts to a violation of someone’s privacy. While there is no harm in obsessing over our favourite celeb’s airport looks or knowing which film are they working on and where they are shooting, it is not ethical and civilized to pounce on celebs’ cars to grab a snap of them simply sitting.
Besides, thanks to social media, our beloved celebs themselves are sharing important events and also their day-to-day activities with us. Isn’t that a sporty attitude in itself and isn’t that enough for the fans? I think it definitely is.