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When the private and public lives get blurred

I keep seeing some really interesting posts these days in the digital and social media. Most of them are the baby pictures of our celebrities or images of their school days. Otherwise it is of the wife of a big star who recently tied the knot or page 3 moments. In fact, this trend is spreading among politicians as well.
I am sure many of us saw our Chief Minister’s family pictures out there – with his grand kids during one of the family pujas. It is actually a healthy trend that the line between the public image and private selves of celebrities is thinning. It also brings out their more humane side as we would otherwise expect them to be like superheroes!
We have always wanted a peek into celebrities’ personal lives – what they eat, wear, do on weekend etc. But with the older generation it was almost a deliberate secret. Most celebrity weddings were kept private for a long time before people knew details. But with times changing and Hollywood style coming in, we know who is dating who, what their holiday plans are, how their wedding went etc.
As someone who worked in the media in the early 2000, I have myself seen how things have changed over the last ten years. Star wedding video clips were usually leaked out from cell phones earlier as nobody had access to the inside space. Those clips were played non-stop with a caption – ‘exclusive’ and channels would try to up their TRPs. Sometimes these events would even be like sting operations.
Now times have changed. The groom and bride pictures, video footage and even some candid stuff is put out by celebrities themselves. Channel and print media partners are picked before the events or the same clippings are distributed across channels. “Mere paas YouTube hai” is the new line. Just type in the keywords and you get more than you can imagine. Not just these – star kids are bigger stars even before entering the tinsel town. The country went gaga watching the first pics of Aradhya – daughter of the hottest Indian star couple- Abhishek and Aishwarya as she made headlines.  She is frequently seen at events now, looking adorable wearing cute designer outfits and people talking about who she resembles. Actor Sridevi Boney Kapoor’s daughters were kept undercover for a long time, but soon enough came out into the open. Our very own superstar Mahesh Babu’s kids have many thousands of likes on Facebook. The reticent actor went ahead and posted 14 pictures of his ‘Snow Holiday’ with wife Namrata and kids Gautam and Sitara on his official Facebook page. And why not?
As part of our culture, we embrace everyone and fans have a special affinity for stars who give them glimpses of their persona life! Added to this, the gen-next kids seem to have much more than even these star kids had growing up- the best opportunities, the right environment to put themselves out there and another generation of fans.
In the snap-happy world of internet, celebrity updates in pictures are a fad for the doer. And a national pastime for the seeker. Instagram photos, tweets or Facebook posts, however off-the-cuff they seem, are usually carefully curated. The audience today believe that social media is a direct route to the star’s personal life.
Two decades ago, the audience hardly got to know the star at all. The privilege of wealth insulated them. But today there are also others who wish the veil remain. Media Consultant Sinu M K says, “Once you get close, the thrill is gone. Say they had the same road side dosa as you did, who wants that?” According to him stardom’s most powerful lure is mystery… Perhaps not so much anymore.
The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)

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