Hearing the deafening silence over Daler Mehndi's conviction from his colleagues from the music and entertainment industry I said to myself... There they go, closing ranks.
No one spoke out recently when Udit Narayan's son, Aditya, rammed his car into an autorickshaw, or when the brat misbehaved at the airport. No one except Udit Narayan, who like any protective father, defended Aditya. "Bachcha hai. Bahot sanskaari beta hai hamara. He would never do any wrong."
Well, perhaps not. But it would be nice if someone had the decency to come forward to say it was wrong for everyone to be silent over singer Ankit Tiwari's alleged misconduct. Or Salman Khan's car to have driven through a pavement filled with sleeping people. Or that perhaps Sanju 'Baba' could have been more mature in handling the volatile situation that led to his trouble with the law.
When it comes to the entertainment business, mum's the word. And dad's the bottom line. Beta can do no wrong. So, don't expect Daler's sagaa bhai Mika to speak up. God knows, Mika has been in his own share of misdemeanours. It's not just music that binds this family. It's the tendency to sing a discordant tune once in a while. Too bad, this time Daler scaled the pitch so awkwardly it landed him in a soup.
I am not a Daler Mehndi fan. So I am not really as disappointed by his conviction in a case of human trafficking as some of his close associates and fans are.
An actress who once shared screen space with Daler in a chartbusting collaboration, finds it hard to believe that he has come to this. "He was such a star, my God! When we shot together, no one looked at me. It was 'Daler Paaji' all the way… And now, this. To be so shamed. What are we coming to?"
What, indeed. Why do we assume that public shaming is only for the non-privileged? It's time we realize that celebrities can and do have feet of clay and hands also stuck in that sticky clay. Quite expectedly, there is silence in the film industry over the Daler scandal. Not a single composer or producer that the singer worked with and whom I approached, made any effort to see the entertainer's behaviour as wrongdoing.
One filmmaker, in whose films Daler has sung on a number of occasions, excused himself, saying he had no knowledge of the actual facts. "Let him be. I know him as a decent human being with a staggering singing range. Beyond that I've no interest in what he does."
(Subhash K Jha is a film critic and movie expert)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)