Fandom or Fanaticism – To what extent is defending your star acceptable?

Cricket and Bollywood are two entities that are followed like religion in India. Rather it wouldn’t be wrong to say that these two terms unite all religions too. We love our stars, and even worship them, Rajinikanth, the Thalaiva being a living example of the fact. However, to what extent is blind following acceptable? Have we, as audience, ever asked ourselves that question?

By now, all of us are familiar with the infamous ‘Salman Khan – Sapna Bhavnani’ case. To those who are not, let us brief you. Recently, at the launch of her book ‘Chapter One’, when the celebrity hair stylist and former ‘Big Boss’ contestant Sapna Bhavnani was asked about Salman Khan, she spoke unabashedly as to how people only flattered and entertained him in the show because they wanted him to launch them in his movies. The lady further said that Salman’s movies were f***all where he just danced around like a monkey. Well, obviously the statements did not go down well with the fans of Salman, who called Sapna names, and said that the lady was using Salman’s name to gain free publicity for her book. For the record, this is the same woman who called Salman Khan a ‘serial women beater’ in the show itself, only that the channel did not air the particular bit for they were scared of the wrath of the star it might bring along.

Not many know the story of Sapna Bhavnani. The lady openly came out and told the world that she survived a gang rape at the age of 24, and did not let the incident bring her down or ruin her dreams and aspirations in any way. In spite of all the oddities that life presented before her, she stood with her head held high and reached the pinnacle where she is, today. The lady spoke to a leading media as to how she overcame rebukes, a gang rape, and an abused marriage to reach where she is today. Sapna is known for her outspoken and unapologetic attitude, and that’s what reflected even in her statements while speaking about Salman Khan too.

Coming back to the case, what appalled us was the reaction of the fans and that’s when we realised as to what extent they can go to demean someone who doesn’t share their opinion of making the star godlike. A strong and independent woman, who is not afraid of speaking her mind, was reduced to terms like sl*t and prostitute, just to preserve the whimsical image of the star, that stays in the minds of the people who love his movies. You can see some classic examples in the form of tweets, below:

Fandom or Fanaticism - Tweet 1

 

Fandom or Fanaticism - Tweet 2

 

Salman Khan has been time again hounded by controversies, and given his reactions, the star has become more or less careless and does not give two hoots that his statements can hurt or cause a negative impact. Be it his ‘rape’ comment, or the fact that he has walked free of the two cases where he was convicted of taking lives, it has become more than evident that the fans and judiciary have made the actor more or less invincible. What’s even scarier is the fact that the star himself is aware of the power he holds over the masses, so he does not even make an attempt to retract any verbal damage he does.

This case is yet another stark reminder of the fact that how damaging blind faith in a person can be. The fans of Salman Khan just hound and try and break anyone who speaks a word against the star, and that is something to worry about. We, as audience are the ones who make or break actors, and give them the status of super stars. When you start calling a woman names, just because she is no admirer of your beloved star, and has the guts to come out and speak the truth, that is the time when the audience collectively has to start worrying about.

Give it thought, will you?

Also Read: Are our Bollywood filmmakers taking the audience for granted?