Paparazzi and celebrities have a love-hate relationship. On 13 January, Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma sent out gifts to Mumbai’s popular paparazzi with a note that read, "We want to protect the privacy of our child and we need your help and support. While we will always ensure that you get all the content you need featuring us, we would request you to kindly not take or carry any content that has our child."
One of the industry’s known photojournalists Viral Bhayani put up this post about Virat and Anushka’s request on his Instagram account.
So far in the celeb world, no photographer has seen such a request come their way in such an open manner, that too with sweets and gifts. The Quint spoke with some of Bollywood’s popular photographers about what their response to the request was.
Viral Bhayani says that he has briefed his team to not wait outside the hospital. "It doesn't make sense to click someone when they don't wish to be photographed. We got a historical picture of the two heading out for lunch a few days back and that was a huge achievement. If in the future they are at the airport, we will request them to pose and click if they agree. There might be times when we might ask them to pose with the face of the daughter not being seen".
Another photojournalist Manav Manglani clicked the first picture of Aaradhya with Aishwarya Rai when she was on her way to Chicago to meet Abhishek Bachchan, who was shooting for Dhoom 3. He too shares Bhayani's view and says they will refrain from clicking pictures of Virat and Anushka’s baby.
Yogen Shah, who has been a very popular name since decades in the Bollywood circle, says, "There's no point hounding someone for pictures. Chasing celebrities for pictures is risky for both the photographer on the bike and the celebrity. We will respect their request and make sure that they are not chased."
According to Bhayani, Rani Mukherjee is another celebrity who does not like her daughter being clicked by the paparazzi. There have been times when she was upset that the daughter was photographed. Bhayani says that in acknowledgement they reduced the coverage of Rani’s child.
Paparazzi is a competitive space and the more popular a couple or star kid are, the more money it fetches for the photographer.
"People also want to see these pictures. They appreciate our work when we manage to get a candid shot. In the case of Taimur, he is a popular kid with a massive fan base. My team went with the flow and in the beginning we would follow him everywhere. After a while, there were people who commented on the obsessiveness for Taimur's pictures, which was when we started to cut down on the coverage," says Viral Bhayani.
What if One Photographer Manages to Get a Shot of Virat & Anushka's Daughter?
There's always that fear of "what if someone else gets it first"? Most industry photographers are on the same page when it comes to Virat and Anushka pictures going forward. They say that they will not chase the couple for pictures of their newborn. Manav says, "If someone else gets it first that's fine. In future, we will make sure we ask them to pose separately and the kid can be with the nanny or someone travelling with them."
For Viral Bhayani and Yogen Shah too, it's about the ethics. Both say that their teams have been briefed to not click pictures of the newborn.
Bhayani says that there' s a lot that you can cover in the Bollywood space and photographers need not go after just one couple or kid. "During the time when we covered Taimur a lot, most of my team was dedicated to getting his pictures. But, we have come to realise that there are so many other actors who are of massive interest."
But are the fans justified in asking for pictures? Yogen Shah says they are. "Virat isn't just a member of his family. He's a member of of every fan's family too which is why there is this massive interest in asking for a picture or waiting for a picture. Even within our families, when there's a newborn, people like to look at the kids and suggest who he/she looks like. It's the same sentiment with Virat and Anushka's daughter."
So, don’t get your hopes high on getting a glimpse of Virushka’s little one any time soon because the paparazzi evidently won’t be chasing them for that 'exclusive' pic.