Be it on-screen or off screen- Bollywood celebrities keep everyone entertained. Actress- producer Shilpa Shetty, recently proved it by showing her lack of knowledge about classic novels and authors. Shilpa was slammed and ridiculed when she opened her mouth on George Orwell’s Animal Farm – a legendary novella published in 1917 about events leading to Russian revolution.
Welcoming government’s decision to include classic internationally acclaimed novels, Shilpa naively referred Animal Farm as one of the book to be added in the school curriculum after the Council of School Certificate Examination (CISCE) decided to include Harry Potter series in the English literature syllabus for the junior and middle school.
Her ignorance was sufficient for the troll knives to be out, as the hashtag #shilpashettyreviews started to trend on Twitter.
41-year-old former Big Brother winner who enjoyed wide popularity in the UK after she suffered bullying by late British reality star Jade Goody, became a star in India too.
All over the world, people wait for the moment when celebrities are caught in a tight spot. All hell breaks loose as soon as a well-known person enjoying mass adulation is either caught unaware or giving out a blooper.
For the uninitiated, Shilpa Shetty has never been really known for her acting prowess. A perfect glam diva, blessed with a svelte figure, Shilpa enjoyed a fan following from the people who loved her dance. Her international popularity grew after she emerged as the winner of reality show Celebrity Big Brother, after Goody, model Danielle Lloyd and singer Jo O’Meara inflicted racist attacks.
Shilpa is also a fitness expert, who has shared the stage with Yoga guru Ramdev to impart yoga training. She has released a few fitness DVDs in the past.
One wonders, why at the first place anyone would care to know about her opinion on books to be prescribed in the middle school. As if the worldwide embarrassment was not sufficient, Shetty reportedly fired her PR team for providing her incorrect information.
However, Shilpa is not the first one in Bollywood to find herself in an embarrassing situation. Alia Bhatt is one of the smartest actress, who turned around an embarrassing incident to her advantage.
Alia was ridiculed when she referred to Prithviraj Chavan (then chief minister of Maharashtra), on the show Koffee with Karan, as the Prime Minister of India. She was quizzed by the filmmaker Karan Johar on the show.
Alia’s blooper was famously addressed as ‘Alia’s moment’ by the film magazines, naturally increasing her popularity multi-fold.
A few months after the incident, along with her mentor Karan Johar, Alia decided to take the joke on her stride admitting to be the dumbest babe in town, by appearing in short film titled Alia: Genius Of The Year. Her popularity increased manifolds as Alia was ‘applauded’ for her brave move to laugh at her own goof up. ‘From Dolce Gabana to Smart Like Shabana’ was her dictum.
Though she highlighted veteran actress Shabana Azmi as the smartest Indian celebrity, Ms Azmi was also caught on the wrong foot recently. She identified a character from her own film Ek Doctor Ki Maut wrong. In her tweet, Shabana declared that the movie directed by Tapan Sinha, (in which she played the lead) was based on the life of Acharya JC Bose.
The twitterati were quick to remind her that the acclaimed movie was based on the life of Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay, Indian physician who pioneered IVF treatment, but was forced to commit suicide due to frustrating bureaucracy and office politics.
Kajol, who is famous as the most well-read celebrity in Bollywood, made a faux pas, by referring AIDS as a simple disease equating it with common cold.
Addressing an event marked to create AIDS awareness meant to raise funds, Kajol said “AIDS is a little more worrisome than common cold.”
Kareena Kapoor quickly thought on her feet when she drew a blank on India’s prestigious Mars Mission. At an event, she was quizzed about this topical issue when India had sent its spacecraft into Martian orbit. But Kareena clearly was unaware about it. To hide her embarrassment, she added a cute line “I want to go to space…please take me along.”
The goof ups and public slips show a media obsessed with getting bytes from overrated celebrities on absolutely unrelated subjects. We tend to give way too much importance to film personalities, sportsmen and politicians thinking they know everything when they are at the centre stage, yet, none of the celebrities bother to come prepared with a smart answer. So why do we expect them to know anything other than the narrow subject of their career.
Thanks to the media presence at each and every event involving celebrities, it has become almost mandatory to get a quote on current affairs. But, vanity being the middle name of most of the Bollywood stars, they end up giving an answer which turns them into a joke.
But a great deal of the blame also is with celebrities. Instead of coming informed or prepared with an intelligent refusal to get involved, celebrities seek out every opportunity to give an ‘expert opinion’ on every subject under the sun even when they have no knowledge about it. Little wonder that Bollywood divas are compared with bimbettes.
Of course, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan have been a few exceptions. The best thing these celebrities do is to keep their mouths shut, if they do not know much about a topic.
Given the kind of buzz around the celebrities we have, a blunder in public works favourably to heighten their popularity. Any kind of publicity works-for example A-list stars such as Salman Khan and Shah Rukh relish the controversy which crops up after they speak something which is deemed to be politically incorrect.
They revel in dumbness and ignorance as a mark of fun among their fans.
Aamir Khan’s ‘planning to leave India’ rant, Shah Rukh’s comment on ‘intolerance’ or Salman feeling ‘like a raped woman’ caused controversies which kept them in news for days to go.
Shilpa Shetty definitely gained from her show of ignorance. Unknowingly, she came into news headlines without offending anyone. People enjoyed meme, jokes and trolls over her Animal Farm interpretation. It put this fading star back in the news.