None ever thought that Bollywood was all about genuine stuff, but little do they know about a rather striking trade turning monstrous, thanks to us Indians and our much beloved Gods - Bollywood stars! The name of the trade? Well, that of genuine fakes.
Decades have passed by and we haven’t really stopped visiting Linking Road, Crawford Market (Mumbai), Monastery, Sarojini Nagar (Delhi)... have we? But rather interestingly and quite similarly our Bollywood ‘fakers’ haven’t really stopped visiting Karama, Brick Lane Market and Pantip too!
If you’re wondering what the hell am I talking about, then let’s give you an insight into these unknown names. These are nothing, but the famous markets abroad which are thronged by Bollywood crème on a regular basis, so what’s the big deal here? Nothing actually, but just that these are popular for genuine fakes or goods that are non-licensed (unauthorised), produced by perhaps the same supplier, who produces the stuff for
the brand but in an illegal way and at a dirt cheap price.
So, why would someone, who pockets a few hefty crores for a film that he/she does, buy an illegal thing when he/she can afford the original one? Simply because it’s cheaper, and I mean let’s get real here…all of us have for once worn or used a fake produce and we can’t be having a double standard about someone else doing the same. The only difference is in the fact that while we have no qualms in accepting the reality, Bollywood celebs can’t afford to admit doing the same thing. And why would they, you can imagine what being spotted wearing or carrying a fake would do to a star featuring on Vogue mag’s ‘best dressed list’. He/she’ll be finished; it’s as simple as that.
Now let’s get back to our finding - so what makes me say that a lot of Bollywood stars are brand plagiarisers? Hmmm... no it’s not second hand information, it’s not a gossip that I read somewhere, but it is simply an eyewitness account.
Hold on, I didn’t spot a Shah Rukh Khan at Pantip Plaza, Bangkok, filling his shopping bags with Ralph Lauren’s fake body hugging tees, but I did spot a certain someone (who has worked with him, and as a matter of fact styled him on more than one occasion), on my last trip to BKK, buying stuff quite aggressively from anything ranging between 250 Baht to 100 Baht (Rs 350-1400). Flashback - The stylist walks in, I think I have seen her somewhere, but I show that I am oblivious. She walks around, checking out stuff in the shop that was full of Hang Ten’s, Benetton’s, Polo’s and what not. She picks up a few and asks the Thai shopkeeper for wider sleeves and I think – oooh, must be shopping for someone with nice biceps (Any guesses?)... The woman splurges a cool 5000 Baht and goes out. Me and my friend mumble (take her name) and pat comes a reply from the Thai gentleman (shopkeeper)- Yeah, she’s the one, was here shopping for some movie. You’re an Indian from Bollywood? And we nod our heads in embarrassment at the new discovery, that how easily an Indian stylist can take credit for designing a foreign fake, when she has only gone and picked it from Pantip, the coolest shopping hub of the Thai capital. Gawd, and I thought just opening a Getty (copyright) image was a sin in itself! End of flashback...
Heard a model friend say once, “Genuine fakes are more genuine than the genuine goods. What’s the harm in buying them when the manufacturer is the same (in most cases), it’s just that they are illegal and then you can only buy what you can afford, right? You think the Louis Vuitton here is ‘the Louis Vuitton’ here? No, it is the ‘Karama (Dubai market) Louis Vuitton’. I haven’t had the chance to visit Dubai, but my friends based there tells me that you can have an original Prada and the genuine fake Prada kept next to each other at Karama for all day long and you still won’t be able to spot the difference, so much so that once (off the record) a Paris fashion house’s representative bought a few genuine fakes and took them back to Paris.
People have ‘apparently’ spotted everyone from a leading Khan’s wife to a cricketer’s arm candy buying Dubai fakes (oops!). What’s more, the pride of our country and filmdom, ‘the stars’ as to say who fill the hotel lobby air with overwhelming whiffs of
Issey Miyake and
Anais Anais (perfumes) as they walk about, are said to be buying the trial versions (testers) of all possible perfumes on the planet! Some, who are scared of being caught buying one, settle for the Dubai duty free for some minuscule Dirhams.
I can only say that what more can be expected from these ‘poor people’, for we shouldn’t forget that half of them most generally earn their bread and butter by working in Hollywood rehashes (with all due respects to a sect called the ‘original Indian cinema’).
Forget Bollywood, Come Fashion Weeks and you can for yourself spot a few designers doing rounds of the Gujarat market, Janpath, Delhi (take my word, go a few weeks before the events start and you’ll find at least one for sure). My tongue so wants to slip out the name of that very designer I’d spotted two years back, shopping and quite literally bargaining with the Guajarati womenfolk for the traditional
Chunnis (so that she can team them up with a sloppy looking dress of hers and then go to the press to talk about the silhouettes and intricacies of the work... Whew). But alas, a secret shall remain a secret! Mouth zipped...
Okay, my mouth is zipped, but I can certainly talk about the infamous socialite Sheetal Mafatlal, who after being caught by the customs for evading custom duty on her throbbing shopping spree worth lakhs of rupees, in quite a demeaning fashion, admitted that half of the booty was fake! I mean, to be caught smuggling fakes is such a put off for God’s sake. Sheetal what were you thinking? You just did a sin!
If you thought that having an American accent while you’re living (‘Wanted’, ahem-ahem...) in India can be abominable, get real, for calling someone else’s hard work your creativity and that too quite cheaply is abominable. Not being able to afford what fashionista has to offer is not bad, or even not being wanting to be fashionable (and be Govinda instead) is cool too, because at least one is not resorting to shoddy tactics and on top of that having the audacity of not accepting it too.
Wonder if these fakers (celebs, even if only a handful) ever think about the plagiarism that they indulge into when they are on TV talking about how we should not support piracy (definition of irony anyone?). They seem to be faker than the world that they represent. So, should we call it ‘be fake, buy fake’?
(The views expressed by the author are personal)