“The Past: Our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation; for continuation, not repetition”—Israel Zangwill
How does it feel to be a celebrity? The answer which comes to mind first is - 'On top'.
But, does it really imply that celebrities are as happy and content as you thought them to be? Well, certainly it might differ from person-to-person, and that's why we are all born with separate identities. But the horrid stories of glamour world engulfing many celebrity lives compel you to sit back and introspect.
No matter how shocking the news is, the impact that it exudes on the human psyche is the same. I remember the first tumultuous news of a celebrity committing suicide I followed was that of model-turned-actress Nafisa Joseph in 2004. Not many know that she was veteran actress Sharmila Tagore's niece. This VJ-turned-actress was a supermodel before she plunged to take on the big bad world of cinema. She was all over magazine covers and had become quite a known face through music shows on a popular entertainment channel.
But when the news of her suicide broke, it was the first time I realised how unpredictable life could be. The fact that a celebrity could die like this, let loose before me the stark reality of the showbiz world. The cause of Nafisa's death was supposedly her marriage, which had been called off. Personal grief made her succumb to her low self esteem, which resulted in such an extreme step.
But, it's not just Nafisa, there are a number of other celebrities who under some sort of depression or work pressure could not handle their personal pressures. The flashbulbs in the glamour world can surely sweep you off your feet, but the tragedy that 'stardom is no man's best friend' stays with you forever.
If we look back at the history of Indian cinema; right from Guru Dutt to Jiah Khan; all have been under some sort of chronic depression or want of an unfulfilled desire that drives them to the extreme.
The classic actor-director Guru Dutt committed suicide in 1964 and was found dead with an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills. People close to him knew that it was constant failure in his personal life and work pressure that made him take the way of darkness. Dutt wanted to see his children and was allegedly not allowed to do so by wife Geeta Dutt. His inability to meet them and his unrequited love affair with actress Waheeda Rehman drove him to death, they say.
Similarly, when the glamorous Parveen Babi bid goodbye, her fans and followers were broken hearted. Parveen had a difficult life - her love-life never really was for keeps. She had seen many failures on the personal front and could take it no longer. The actress suffered from schizophrenia, a disease which killed her acting career completely. She was a loner when alive and she died the same way.
Southern sex symbol Silk Smitha died under mysterious circumstances too, as she was without work and was unable to bear the financial losses. There are several struggling models and actresses, who end their lives just because there is no work for them. The level of their patience runs out reaching a climactic point of either hanging themselves (like actress Jiah Khan or more recently model-turned-actress Mona Khanna did) or consuming excessive sleeping pills.
The examples are endless—but life is so short and precious. To say that these celebrities could not bear the brunt of not getting enough work in movies, or having a failed love-life, would be over simplifying their situation. What's even more disturbing is the fact that some people even end up taking a dangerous route to be able to survive this flashy domain of all that's shining and bright.
Actresses have been known to opt for the business of flesh trade. Yes, no matter how gross or alarming this might read, the fact is that actresses, whether small-time or big shots somewhere do sometimes stoop to a level adding blots to their name forever.
When the Bard said, “What's in a name?”, he certainly didn't realise that the big-shots of glamour world would make another interpretation of it. They have taken it too seriously to keep their name famous no matter what the cost.
With the recent case of 'Makdee' actress Shweta Basu Prasad, coming out to the public, what are we as viewers and fans left with? The fact that a famous child artist can be arrested for prostitution and doing it knowingly—just to be able to meet her financial needs, is beyond imagination. The 23-year-old actress even revealed that she is not the first one to get involved in flesh trade due to the lack of money.
This horrendous concoction of glamour and sex, makes you wonder where has all the sanity gone? Is the peer pressure taking a toll on our celebs, or is it just a way to skip the hard work and get paid for trade which doesn't need a respectable qualification? This revelation, that there are others - this needs to be nipped and taken care of.
Take some time and hold your thoughts, because life is indeed beautiful and too short to be taken for granted!