Candid Comment: When It’s Good Enough For You, But Not For Them
Imagine this scenario:
You sit down for an interview with a world-famous chef. This guy has become a household name. Millions line up to eat at his establishment every year, and his celebrity has expanded far beyond the world of restauranteering. By now, he has branded himself by slapping his name and likeness on everything from home cooking sets to reality show competitions. All of this has made him a multimillionaire, and his wealth an influence in pop culture will only keep growing.
So, there you are, sitting with this self-acknowledged celebrity chef and entrepreneur. You’re dying to hear about his craft, about what drives him to create such delectable dishes. You want to know what it is that makes him tick. After all, someone so successful must be passionate about his work, right?
You start with the simplest question you can think of. You ask him, “Sir, what is your personal favorite meal served in your restaurant?”
He looks at you, sits back, and laughs derisively. “MY restaurant? Oh, I don’t actually eat that shit!”
This is the exact scenario that plays out in my head every time a Bollywood star proclaims, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, that they don’t actually watch Hindi films.
It’s a bit mind-blowing, really. Saif Ali Khan, Emraan Hashmi, Kareena Kapoor Khan...they’ve all made millions off the backs of the audience, who spend their hard-earned money every time one of these stars goes on a promotional tour and insists that they’re delivering a quality product. They personally endorse their work when their own success and well-being is on the line, and reap all the benefits of belonging to an industry that has propelled them to the social and economic pinnacle of modern society.
And then what do they do?
They turn around and insist there is no value in watching Hindi films (apparently even the ones they themselves make!). It’s alright for you, the viewer, but certainly not worthy of their time. Their tastes are too refined to benefit from consuming their own products.
That should tell you all you need to know about what they think of their fans.
Filmmaking, much like cooking, is an art form. In fact, it may be the highest art form there is, combining all others--music, composition, lighting, cinematography, editing, performance--to create a complete sensory experience. An artist who sees no value in his own art isn’t an artist at all. And you’re not cooler, or better, or more sophisticated than us plebs because you choose to favor art that comes from the West while ignoring your own country’s cultural output. And let’s face it: if you were as well-versed in quality cinema as you pretend to be, you probably wouldn’t be delivering clunkers like Bullet Raja in the first place.
Would you eat food that even the chef admits he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole? Probably not. So then why do we keep padding the overseas bank accounts of movie stars who unabashedly admit that the industry that has made them who they are is good enough for us, but not for them?
No one is entitled to stardom, and they certainly aren’t entitled to artistic respect. We work damn hard for our money. Shouldn’t they have to work hard for our money, as well?