Some celebrities in India are the equivalent of Royalty in the United Kingdom. When Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli had their baby girl on 11 January, they knew what was coming their way. Hours after the baby was born, fake images of the child were being circulated all over social media and on WhatsApp.
People took to social media platforms to suggest the name for the baby girl, 'Virushka' being a popular and predictable one.
The couple has been rather private about most big events in their life. Their marriage too was a hush affair. The couple got married in Italy in the presence of close family and friends, where no Bollywood or cricket world celebrities were invited.
Anushka Sharma even spoke about being pregnant during the lockdown. While speaking to Vogue magazine, Anushka revealed how pandemic has been a weird blessing for her. Anushka also spoke about how she and Virat kept the pregnancy news a secret and only left to go to the doctor’s clinic. "No one was on the streets, so we couldn't be spotted," said Anushka.
On 13 January, Virat and Anushka sent out gifts to popular photographers, attached with a rather unusual request.
Popular photographer Viral Bhayani took to Instagram to share a video of the gift and wrote, "Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma sent out these gifts for me and my team today. There is also a personalised letter written in English and Hindi requesting us not to the click their baby till its mature enough. Agreed and the same message has been passed on to our team."
The note 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."Virat and Anushka to photograghers
But a look at the commentary on Virat and Anushka's need for privacy of their child is rather bewildering.
If You're a Celebrity, You're Public Property?
You'll Still Be as Interested Right?
Umm, Not Everyone Is a Celebrity With Millions Following Them...
In India, fans revere their celebrities a bit too much. And in a crowd of millions, there are fans who understand and appreciate their favourite celeb's growth. On the other hand, there are also people who (might sound weird) take offence to not being as involved in their lives. Honestly, we need to calm down on both extremes.
That Isn't Quite What 'Privacy' Means...
21st Century Where Asking for Privacy Means 'Insecurity'
And Then the Comparison of Course...
Now It's Kareena vs Anushka
Calling Out Celebs for Nothing!
With social media reaching every household, celebs make money off their Instagram accounts with pictures from outside the gym to airport looks to promotions. In such a situation, why question an 'actor and model' for a pregnancy shoot she chose to do with a magazine sharing her experience of her first pregnancy. By that logic, one must question Kareena for writing a book about her pregnancy when there are plethora of books about pregnancy in the market already?
Logic? Not found!
Why Is Demanding Privacy for Your Child an Issue?
We know that celebrity pictures sell for big bucks, especially when it's an exclusive picture.
Manav Mangalani, a famous Bollywood photographer, clicked Aishwarya Rai stepping out with Aaradhya which went viral and the photographer says it was his "big exclusive".
This picture was clicked almost a year after Aaradhya was born while Aishwarya Rai was on her way to Chicago to meet Abhishek Bachchan who was shooting for Dhoom 3 then.
But the times are different today and no two celebrities will have the same approach.
Whether it's Kareena Kapoor Khan choosing to pose with her newborn or whether it's Virat and Anushka demanding privacy for their newborn, it all boils down to a simple choice.
The concept of privacy for a child seems like a new one for some Indians to digest. The fact that the child, barely a few days old, has invited comments like "extra special" or "made of gold" or as some remark suggested "an alien", goes to show the interest people have in celeb kids. Not just that, people have gone to the extent of saying that the "future of women's cricket is bright" suggesting that Virat or Dhoni's daughter should be cricketers too.
Many celebrities in Hollywood have had the same approach as Virat and Anushka. George Clooney and Amal Clooney had their twins in 2017 and didn't post pictures of them online willingly. A magazine managed to get pictures of the kids and published them and George Clooney was livid that his kids were clicked without the permission of their parents. The couple spoke about how media was scaling their fence to get shots of the kids. Similarly, Kristen Bell also refuses to post pictures of her daughters online. Speaking to a magazine, Kristen explained that she wants to protect her kids' privacy until they're old enough to decide they want to be in the public eye.
Jennifer Lopez has also, in the past, expressed her concerns about being photographed with her kids. She said in an interview that she feels she's been fair with the paparazzi when it comes to photographing opportunities but when it comes to her kids, she just want her peace and her kids to not be photographed by strangers.
In fact, Cardi B was one celebrity who people thought would be happy sharing her daughter's pictures. But the singer made it clear that at least for the first few months, she would like complete privacy for her daughter.
Actors Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi also made sure that they didn't post a picture of their daughter Mehr on social media for the longest time. The couple only resorted to posting discreet images of the child. Dhupia said in an interview, "I want her to have a normal childhood and don't want her pictures to be clicked till she understands what's happening. She should be comfortable with her pictures being clicked."
So if the couple chooses to post a picture of their daughter tomorrow willingly, it's their choice or if they choose to not show her face till she is a teen and chooses to be in the limelight, that's cool too. And is it too much to respect their privacy just because they are celebrities?
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)