Paparazzi Culture and Privacy: When The Cameras Get Too Close

How much is too much with the paparazzi culture in India?

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Hot Take
5 min read
Celebrities have called out the paparazzi for invasion of privacy.
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Actor Anushka Sharma recently took to Instagram to call out a news publication for "invasion of privacy". The mentioned newspaper had published a photo of her and Virat Kohli lounging in their balcony despite being reportedly requested not to do so.

The actor wrote, "Despite requesting the said photographer and the publication, they still continue to invade our privacy. Guys! Stop this right now!"

Paparazzi Culture and Privacy: When The Cameras Get Too Close
(Photo: Instagram/Anushka Sharma)

This isn't the first time a celebrity has raised concerns about privacy and the constant chasing by the paparazzi, whose cameras go off the moment an actor steps out on the road or in his/her backyards.

You can compare a paparazzi photographer to a policeman on duty round the clock. There are parties, poster launches, film launches and countless other events... the list goes on. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the events have dried up but work goes on. Paparazzi culture in India is real and it's a lucrative business. With Instagram, the consumption of these pap pictures is multifold.

Viral Bhayani and Manav Manglani's popular Instagram accounts are an example of how much people wish to know about the lives of their favourite celebrities. Whether they are stepping out for dinner, yoga, rehearsal, shoots or even walking their pooches... there's a hunger to know about EVERYTHING!

Malaika Arora takes her pooch for an evening walk.
Malaika Arora takes her pooch for an evening walk.
(Photo: Viral Bhayani)

Kareena, Saif, Taimur & the Paps

It doesn't just end with social media. Media publications and YouTube channels also use the footage and pap pictures to churn out stories for 'clicks'. If there's a popular actor it will sell; if there's a star kid, the story will fly in seconds. Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan's child Tamiur Ali Khan is a hoot when it comes to his pap pictures. The kid has made headlines since the day he was born.

Anything Taimur does makes it to the headline of some daily. On some instances, Saif Ali Khan has requested the photographers to provide them some privacy. In an interview Kareena also said that she doesn't want Taimur to get used to the fact that he is getting clicked, but he understands what goes around him now. She added that Taimur hears them say, "The media is there", so he is picking up words.

Taimur, too, has been spotted asking the media to back off. Some time back he was seen yelling, "No photos."

Kunal Khemu Talks About Paps' Obsession With His Daughter Inaaya

Actor Kunal Khemu has also spoken about how he's trying to understand the paparazzi culture in India. In an interview, he had said, "It didn't exist before 2005 and even then it was more promotional. It's only since 2017 or so that wherever you go, the paps greet you."

Khemu says that paparazzi is something celebrities have to learn to coexist with. He added, "I don't want to scare my kid of anything out there. Right now it's in a place where it does not bother me. If it does bother me, I will talk to them and tell them and I am sure they will understand."

“There was this one day when we went for a Ganpati and Inaaya was sitting on the back seat. So before I realised, I saw her going and standing in front of the paps, smiling. She felt it’s the same as we do at home.”
Kunal Khemu in an interview

Anushka Expresses Concerns Related to Paparazzi 

Anushka Sharma on the sets of an ad.
Anushka Sharma on the sets of an ad.
(Photo: Viral Bhayani)

Anushka, who is expecting her first child, had told Vogue that because of the lockdown nobody realised she was pregnant as everyone was mostly indoors. “In a way, the pandemic has been a weird blessing. Virat was around and I could keep it a secret. We would only leave the house to go to the doctor’s clinic. No one was on the streets so we couldn’t be spotted,” the actor had said.

Neha Dhupia Wants a 'Normal' Childhood for Her Daughter 

Neha Dhupia too has spoken about how she protects Mehr from the paparazzi as much as she can. "It will happen eventually when they will click a picture but we're hoping that it happens when she's comfortable with it as opposed to not understanding what's going on," Neha said in an interview.

How It All Began in India?

The first celeb kid photo that sold for an insane amount of money was Aishwarya Rai with Aradhya. Manav Mangalani clicked the photograph and talking to The Quint, he said, "I can't disclose the money."

Media outlets go after exclusive pictures to make a story based on a celebrity. The photographers bid the photos and sell it based on who pays more. But with Instagram and the number of photographers on the field, things have changed. Manav says, "If the photo doesn't reach the client within a couple of minutes and is on Instagram first, then there's no value."

Star kids such as Taimur, Misha, Inaaya are most popular, and then comes couples being spotted together. No wonder, Anushka and Virat lounging in the balcony makes for a good money. Ranveer and Deepika, Shahid and Mira and Kareena Kapoor Khan continue to be hot favourites of all the paps.

How Much is Too Much?

It's a known fact that celebrities are chased all the time but is it ethical to click pictures when a certain celebrity is not comfortable and has requested against it? Case in point being Anushka calling out a reputed publication on sneakily clicking pictures.

Even during the NCB probe that Bollywood saw in the past few months, celebrities were harassed to the point that even a lay person was not comfortable watching the pictures that came out.

Added to that, we may blame nepotism for a hundred different reasons but it's a known fact that star kids create buzz and how. Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor were popular even before their first film released. Similarly, there's massive interest in Khushi Kapoor (Janhvi's younger sister) and Shanaya Kapoor (Sanjay Kapoor's daughter). Taimur Ali Khan is already a hoot, as are AbRam and Inaaya.

So the question is - is this what the audience wants or are we feeding it to them?

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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