Toxic/Not Toxic Stardom/Fandom, a Random Thinky Post

I don’t think I even have a conclusion for this, it is just a thing I wrote that you can read, and maybe respond to, and that’s it.

We were talking in the comments a while back about how it can be entirely possible for a person to be a very good actor, and not good at Anything Else In Life. Like, not a deep thinker, not a kind person, not even able to fully understand why they are doing what they are doing when playing a role, just going on pure instinct. But because they are in a unique structural position, where they are the Face of this entire enterprise, they get outsize power and prestige while the people who actually are intelligent and hardworking and know what they are doing, do not.

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Vijay is what inspired this, I feel like everyone put the credit for Arjun Reddy on him just because it was his face onscreen, and he is buying into that now himself

That’s just actors in general, of course with movie stars it is even more so. Movies employ soooooooooooooooo many people and make sooooooooooooooo much money and are seen by soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many other people, and everyone involved in the work and the money and the watching of the movies, puts all their attention on the kind of dim and useless actor, rather than on all the other folks around them.

Now, counter-point! In Indian film in particular, I think it has reached a tipping point. Actors get such an enormous amount of power, in every way, that eventually you just have to learn how to wield it or your ignorance will become obvious. You have to pick good scripts, and good co-stars, and be decent to the people you work with, and most of all you have to give back to the fans who made you.

Let’s start with Rajesh Khanna. He came from a upper middle-class family in Bombay. He went to high school, and then college, performing in plays all along. Then he won a talent contest organized by FilmFare and received a contract for a few films as part of the prize. He made modest impact in his first 5 films, but his 6th movie Aradhana became an all time hit. From then on he had 15 consecutive hits, still considered a record. Something about his appearance on camera just drove the audience crazy.

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But does on camera charisma necessarily translate to anything else special about a person? In the case of Rajesh Khanna, the answer is pretty clearly “no”. He wasn’t more than human, if anything he was less than human. He gave decent performances, but was unlikely to sign the challenging role if there was a blockbuster role available. He didn’t like rehearsing, showing up on time (like, he would be DAYS late), or really just working, at anything, at all.

He also started enjoying petty power plays on the people around him. A female reporter would show up for an interview and he would invite her into his bedroom and make her feel uncomfortable. Not attack her, just enjoy her discomfort. Producers would be forced to sit in his entry way for days at a time. He would sign their films eventually, he just liked to make them sit. He had 4 long term serious relationships and only married one of them (15 year old Dimple), the other women he enjoyed stringing along with the promise of commitment. His final girlfriend, in his 70s, he used to go off for weeks doing who knows what with who knows who, she would ask about it when he returned home and he would say “I came back to you, didn’t I? That should be enough for you.”

Rajesh surprisingly quickly drove away everyone around him. Even his innocent teen bride eventually grew up and walked out on him. His superstardom lasted less than 5 years, because producer/directors/co-stars simply could not stand to work with him, no matter how much money he brought them.

And then there is Amitabh, who came after Rajesh. For his entire career, he has been known as the hardest working most professional actor in the industry. He will rehearse with his co-stars over and over again, he will do whatever the director says, he shows up scarily on time for work (like, you have to warn people about it if it is an Amitabh movie, because he expects everyone else to keep the same standard). And on top of that, he gives massive unknown amounts to charities, volunteers for dozens of public service announcements, appears at film festivals and other industry events to support the art of film, and is a regular at every funeral and every wedding for anyone in the film industry.

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I’m not saying he’s perfect, no one is, but he has a deep understanding of the debt he owes to the film industry, and the wider world

It seems like this level of fame causes one of two reactions. Either you realize you have been placed in a rare position and it is up to you to somehow live up to that position, or you realize you have been placed in a rare position and decide that is proof of your innate superiority and you should do whatever you want.

Noblesse Oblige is what I am talking about, I guess, and it can take a variety of forms. But at its heart it is about understanding what you owe to others in gratitude for the gift they have given you.

What do you think? Does that make sense, what I am saying? Does it apply outside of Indian film? I don’t really follow the pop culture news from industries, do Rock Stars and things also break down into givers and takers? Does the line between average matinee idol star who can be an idiot and no one cares, versus Massive Star who has a higher responsibility make sense?

Do you have anything else to add to this?

39 thoughts on “Toxic/Not Toxic Stardom/Fandom, a Random Thinky Post

  1. I’m not sure it divides so evenly. It can be said for any kind of power. Some people use it for good and some for evil and some for nothing bad, just selfish. I’m not going to give examples because, you can really start controversy that way. I think the Hindi film industry is unique at least until recently because they were the ONLY celebrities so everything was on them.

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    • I would say there’s something specific to celebrity power because it is given to them by their fans. Rich people, for instance, can be born rich or can see themselves as having “earned” money. But celebrities have people loving them everywhere every day, and some seem to react by giving back love and some by accepting it without thinking. Like, the biggest sign of their power is that people love them.

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  2. All true. American rock stars and Indian film stars seem the most cognizant of that. American film stars are less appreciative of the love I think. Some use their celebrity to do good some do not. But they also do not have to face the push back Indian stars do. Think how much the smarter stars (cough cough Shah Rukh) could say if they had the freedom Meryl Streep has. He’s even said so.

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    • Yeah, I don’t know western pop culture, but even I know about Elvis and The Beatles, and they definitely had that balance of trying to pay back what they were given. In their own individual ways, but at least there was an awareness.

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 5:30 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. If you appear on Sesame Street, does that mean your a good person? I’m pretty sure Sesame Street doesn’t pay, and LOTS and LOTS of American film stars and singers have appeared on Sesame Street. I be Amitabh and SRK would appear on Sesame Street, or did they? I bet there is a Hindi Sesame Street.

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    • Aha! Let me share with you one of my all time favorite videos! And the background, Rotary and Unicef asked Amitabh to help them get rid of Polio in India, and 8 years later, poof! No more Polio! Now he’s going to fix TB, and preventable eye problems. Anyway, of his many MANY ads along the way, this is my favorite:

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 8:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • We’re all very grateful to him for all his charitable ventures. But it was of course more than AB or SK that took to eradicate polio in this country. Because of the sheer size of and the cultural, linguistical, regional, geographical diversity of India, eradicating polio was once thought an impossible task. But the diligent effort of millions of health care workers proved how wrong that line of thought was. I’d like to mention the name of the woman who led the govt side involved in the fight – Anuradha Gupta.The following is a great article on the whole process – https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2014/03/15/the-secret-to-polio-eradication-in-india/#3aeeee995639

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        • Thank you! I love learning about the organizer people.

          Also, Woo Woo Rotary! My office is down the block from their international headquarters, they’ve still got posters up all over the lobby facing out (so you see them when you walk by) giving facts about how close they are to finally getting every place in the world declared Polio free.

          On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I feel like you’re having a small tug of war between the star is just a cog in the machine and should be humble about his place, and the star is the seat of all power and should be kind and competent. You start from putting star power together with the fact that actors are sometimes just good at acting, independent of any other intelligence or human empathy they may possess, which is an interesting starting point. And then you bring in the work relationships and the fans as sources of star power, also a good point. But I think you’re aiming at something more than be a good person or no one will love you and you will lose your power? More like, if you fail to realize that stardom comes from other people, and become deluded into thinking you are entitled to it out of your own amazingness, it may – if you are an actor not strong on empathy and morals – cause you to behave like a tiny despot corrupted by your share of power? And if you so act, your fans may follow your lead and act like a legion of whiny despots on your behalf? Which then becomes a star/fan self-reinforcing loop of ugly toxic entitlement? There are plenty of tiny despots who get to hold on to their power, but I feel like part of where this post started is that it can hurt the art of making the films. Your fans may not desert you, your movies may still be hits, but maybe they’re just repetitive and boring.

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    • Thank you! Like I said, I don’t even have a conclusion for this post, it’s more brainstorming in search of a conclusion. I need feedback!

      Maybe what I am trying to do is say that “greatness thrust upon them” is what happens. Or, either you grow up to something great in response to what you receive, or you don’t?

      If I am a regular shallow selfish actor, who suddenly achieves enormous fame, either I have to grow up and become a better person in response to the needs of my followers, or I don’t and eventually fall.

      But the thing that achieves the fame doesn’t necessarily make me special. Maybe that’s what I am trying to say? Like, The Beatles weren’t The Beatles because they wrote a bunch of really great songs, but because they grew as people and musicians, they spoke out on issues, they did things that tried to make the world a better place. They started as kids writing a bunch of really great songs, but when the fame hit, they grew into something more because they had to, the position they reached demanded it.

      And yes, there would be a difference in the fandom. I think? I visited Graceland a few years back, and that was really something. I’m not an Elvis fan, beyond just being a living person which makes you an Elvis fan by default, but going through the house with all these other people it really felt like a sacred space in the oddest way. You can have social media stars now, and fans who do twitter posts and whatever, but that’s not necessarily the same kind of fandom that makes you cry to yourself at their gravesite, you know? There’s the fandom that is all intellectual and discussion and getting into fights, but then there’s the other fandom that is kind of a religious experience and personal and you don’t care what anyone else thinks. And it’s that second fandom I am getting at here, if you have millions of people feeling that kind of emotion for you, it must have an effect on you. Or it should have an effect on you, you have to rise to the occasion.

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 10:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Interesting topic. Since Vijay D triggered this post, wanted to talk abt him first. He made it big in an industry controlled by few filmi families and driven by caste politics. His whole rebel-without-a- cause & not conforming to rules attitude,found a chord with the younger crowd who would scorn at the family entitlement. I think he realised this potential & using it to build his star persona and even an official clothing brand called Rowdy. His philosophical musings are the stuff that will get teenagers high.He may also be advised to have his movies centered around him to do the fan service. Vijay seems to me like a young boy who had this sudden, unexpected rise & is now scrambling around to live up to the rowdy image. Hopefully he will mature with experience & take things more easy.
    For the sepersting art from artist discussion,Kangana is the classic case of me disliking the person so much that I cannot watch her even if she makes the greatest ever movie. I just cannot. Art is inspired from life & an artist who doesn’t have basic human qualities like empathy,decency or is low on emotional intelligence is like any other bad human (who isn’t necessarily artistic or skilled),for me.In today’s world,with the social media exposure, we have more chances of seeing their offscreen thoughts and behavior than the old days where most of the misdemeanors happened behind curtains or closed rooms. Also their success in the chosen field ,enables them to propagate their harmful/obnoxious behavior offscreen and I don’t want to be party to that. Be a decent human & then do whatever artistic magic you have. If not,somone else with more talent, magic & better sense will replace you.

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    • Thank you for discussing Vijay D! I’m really interested in him, because I feel like he is reaching a tipping point. At the start, sure, he was just this nobody thrust into the spotlight. But it’s been a few years now, it’s time for him to grow into his role. It’s not really fair to expect him to grow up this fast, but that’s what I was thinking about with Rajesh versus Amitabh. For whatever reason, Rajesh just could not handle the fame well, never really grew up and tried to be better. And Amitabh did, he was comfortable with his image and with the press, and he pushed the envelope in his film roles, that kind of basic stuff that makes it work. Heck, even his system for doing the Sunday Darshans now. That isn’t a PR movie, or something someone else came up with, that was a good idea he had all on his own that let’s his fans see him and feel connected without messing up his own life too much. He’s just good at the job of being a superstar. And right now, it feels like Vijay D might be bad at that job? Might not understand the kind of work he needs to do to maintain his place?

      I was thinking about Kangana with this post, because I think she is too petty and selfish to fit. In a really interesting way. Not because the industry is male driven, like, Meena Kumari or Sridevi or maybe even Madhuri would fit in with the kind of stardom I am talking about, where it is this deep deep love and connection fan to star. But I honestly don’t think anyone feels that for Kangana. There are people who admire her acting, or who think she is smart and gutsy and feel protective of her and love her. But do you think there is anyone who has a framed photo of her on the wall with their family pictures? Or who would travel across country to sit outside her house and get a glimpse of her? Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t feel like it to me. Kangana never seems to look outward, and without that, I don’t think she can find that sort of love.

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t think any of the actresses of this generation inspires that kind of love. But yeah,Kangana finds favour for her ‘calling out’ of the elite,nepotistic, camps of Bollywood & hypernationalism.
        Vijay is going to Bollywood now,so all the more interesting to watch how he plays it. I do feel he is a very good actor who can play different shades but chooses to box himself in the angsty- pretty boy roles.

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  6. I wouldn’t say Amitabh is an example of doing it right, considering his ties to politics, the way he pressured the press, and the many accusations of sexual harrassment and even rape. He also manouevres to get casting in films the way he wants sometimes. To a group of men at the top of the film industry, maybe, but not outside that.

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    • I didn’t want to mention this cause some of it is unsubstantiated rumors while his charitable work is proven. But yeah, AB is problematic at best. There have always been rumors about him and his female co-stars and not just consensual affair but how he had harassed Amrita Singh and got into a fight with Danny Denzongpa over her back in the day to apparently harassing Deepika Padukone on the set of Piku and many others in between. He’s also opportunistic when it comes to siding with the ruling party and never stands up for any controversial issue if he has anything to lose by doing so.

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        • I believe Babi. Yes, she had mental issues but I don’t think she made up her relationship with AB, given the persistent rumors about them.

          Frankly, I don’t like him at all and only enjoy his work in Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies. I guess because of that dislike, it didn’t feel right to me to repeat rumors since I’m inclined naturally to believe them. But yeah, given his godlike stature in the industry and his connections, no one dares to write anything negative about him.

          P.S – I just remembered Shayali Bhagat, a model and a small-time actor who had left the industry for good. She accused a number of people including AB about the time AB had felt her up as she bent down to touch his feet. At the age of 70. But I should also mention that she retracted the statement later on and apologized to AB. So was she pressured or was she lying for attention? YMMV.

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        • Depends on which press intimidation you are referring to. The 15-year press ban that started in 75 was political in nature. Given that Margaret bans discussion of politics on this blog, I won’t go any further on the politics but discuss the other stuff. Amitabh and the press mutually banned each other (he literally started standing on far-right or left in photographs because he knew he would be cut out from them) until Amitabh’s near-death experience and hospitalization during Coolie. At that time, for their mutual benefit, Amitabh and the press ended their rift.

          And there is the current media coverage of Amitabh and his family. India gossip media run on sensationalism and there is very little legal recourse in India against sensational and unethical journalism. Yet, no one openly covers Shweta’s separation from her husband. Journalists didn’t really cover Abhishek Bachchan’s “sabbatical” until he spoke about it. Jaya Bachchan constantly lashes out at journalists and it is barely covered. Is that because Amitabh has intimidated the media or because his status/fandom is at the point that media just won’t touch his family. I am not really sure.

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          • I could be missing something of course, but this matches my understanding as well. At the top of his fandom, he cut off press access for years in an across the board policy. When he brought it back, he kept a careful limit on it.

            And then of course he discovered social media and provides constant content, more than any other star almost, but not through the media mouthpieces.

            And I am kind of fine with it? The Indian entertainment media is so terrible, it’s not like they are digging up important truths to be presented, they are just repeating gossip fed to them by PR groups. If Amitabh has managed to put a fence around himself and his family so they don’t report that gossip, or blow up minor events into major issues, fine with me. I wish all the other celebrities had similar powers I don’t need to read a story about how Boney Kapoor forced Sridevi to have plastic surgery and therefore lead to her death, that’s disgusting. And it seems like most of the time that is the level the media is at, no one should have to put up with it.

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          • There was a political reason for the media to start writing bad things about him, but he stopped talking the press 100% across the board is my understanding. I can’t see his decision as related to politics, because there was no political message, there was no message at all, it was just silence except for public appearances and his films. And it was years before he entered politics officially. Maybe the politics started it off, but it lasted far past that particular situation, to me it was just his decision as a star that he did not need media.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 9:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • For me, because I am such a sunshiney person, if it is a question of unsubstantiated rumors of bad versus definite confirmed good, I make my decision based on the good. This isn’t an Amitabh thing, but a stardom in general thing. And I guess I shouldn’t even say “decision”. More like, if I am trying to find good in the world to think about, and actions which I can use to guide my life, I am going to think about the needlessly generous and kind and good things people do, which I know they have done, instead of the other stuff. Which they may or may not have done.

        On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:29 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • But what if we look at stardom in terms of the fan to star relationship? I’ve heard rumors of Amitabh and actresses, but I haven’t heard stories of him sleeping with fans or groupies. And I haven’t heard stories of him being rude or dismissive to fans. And I have heard many many stories of him going above and beyond to be gracious to people.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • And even when there was a rift between the media and Amitabh reporters constantly stated that he was always polite to them and would do basic courtasies like greeting them and making casual conversation with them because he realized the reporters on the ground were just doing their job and not the decision makers.

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    • I try not to slander people based on rumors because who knows if it’s true or not.

      This is Margaret. I tried to find a way to edit, or add to this comment, in order to be comfortable posting it, and I just can’t. Amitabh and the Gandhis have a complicated strange personal history, which includes his involvement int he 1984 Pogram. But there is no way to explain everything going on with 1984 in a single comment, or everything going on with Amitabh and the Gandhis in a single comment. And the victims deserve full truth and honesty, not just a quick comment about one thing.

      Amitabh is half Sikh, Amitabh was Rajiv Gandhi’s best friend since childhood, Amitabh may have said something incendiary on the steps of the hospital after seeing India Gandhi’s body. That’s all I’ve got, that’s all I can say and still be sure it is true. If you want more information, research it (wikipedia is honestly a great source, far better than any news article you may find). Do not post comments here on this discussion, as I said it is too important to be discussed without the kind of lengthy background that is just not practical for a comment. Especially being aware that many of the readers of DCIB are not of Indian heritage and may not even know what I mean by 1984.

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  7. No idea if my feelings are right, but I go with them…even with people I don’t know, didn’t have met…being absolutely aware that my feelings could betray me…so it’s just a personal thing and no judgement.
    There are some (living) high-profile actors in Hindi Cinema (it’s the one I know best) that give me bad vibes and Amitji definitely is one of them…well, I admit that there are only few I mainly get positive vibes…apart from ShahRukh that would be Rajkumar from the younger lot and some older than ShahRukh like Johnny Lever (just to give three examples). That doesn’t mean that they are always nice people but I think they are rather honest and doesn’t indulge in ‘power-play’ (if that makes sense). And I think that they are really grateful for the love they get (from the heart).
    What I think, it’s that fandoms can be really toxic, more than the stars…and the anti-fandoms. I feel that the fight on the fandom-level can be – in arts and politics – an extremely toxic one and very destructive on more than one level.

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    • In a reply to Emily, I started trying to work through my feelings about fandom.

      I think there are two levels maybe? There is the level that is spiritual, internal, personal. You don’t have to know any details about the person necessarily, you aren’t making an informed judgement, it is this immediate connection that goes beyond logic. I’m talking about the way people talk about Elvis, or The Beatles, or Rajinikanth. Those fans aren’t necessarily on social or interacting with the greater world, but you see them waiting outside the house or running next to cars. That kind of fandom, I think, is only to the good. It gives you something to get through your regular life, it’s inspirational, and it has no effect on anyone besides the fan and (hopefully, which is what this post is about) the star who feels that level of devotion.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 7:07 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I love this post. In general, it can be very easy for a celebrity to become toxic. This is especially true in India where the culture of fandom is unparallel. Also, so many people are dependent on these stars for their livelihood and income disparity is so vast that they are willing to tolerate a lot more.

    However, I think at the end of the day, it comes down to professionalism and courtesy. Amitabh is a great example of someone who also seems to know his limitations and how to stay in his lane. He is a wonderful actor. But he is not a director and he failed miserably as a business person and as a politician. In fact, there was a rift between Amitabh and Kader Khan for a while because Kader Khan warned Amitabh to not go into politics based on his personality. On the other hand, he is a good writer and a remarkable linguist. So, I am sure he has been consulted on the screenplay, dialogues, and lyrics but generally never asks for any credit for it.

    Others like Aamir might be hard to work with because they have a hand in all aspects of the film and at times may take credit at the last minute, but in general are not considered toxic.

    Others might have various other shortcomings but were just so courteous and nice that every body wanted to work with them no matter what. Shashi is a perfect example of an actor every female actress wanted to work with just because he was so nice and courteous and professional and didn’t make them feel uncomfortable.

    And then there are others who may be difficult in some aspects but tolerable in other aspects. Rishi Kapoor, for example, is in all aspects not really a good human being, but directors have said that he is a director’s actor and very professional on sets.

    And finally, there is just toxic fandom as you and others stated above with Rajesh Khanna and Kangana which I am not sure if redeemable. Others might have reached toxicity at certain points but them came back around. Juhi, for example, had stated that in the height of her career she got arrogant and wasn’t the easiest to work with. Salman also came into that category for a while until all the lawsuits started piling up and he decided to hire a good PR agency and transform his image.

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    • Ooo, now I am thinking about Rishi! Reading Rishi’s memoir was fascinating because you could see how he killed his own fandom. He started taking things too personally, being too proud of himself, he admits he bought a FilmFare award early in his career because he didn’t see anything wrong with it and now regrets it. He also talks about taking career frustrations out on his wife, and taking personal time to work through his feelings when he was letting down producers he had made commitments too. All of which he now sees as a mistake, and wrong, and he wishes he shouldn’t have done it. It reads like a case study for how stardom can go wrong, he let it go to his head and became impossible to live or work with, and then when he started having failures he didn’t learn how to get past the personal and think big picture, he flailed and got depressed and drove people away, and by the time he grew up and learned how to be better, it was too late.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. This is such a great post! I think you’re grappling with some of the same issues that SRK’s movie “FAN” did. When it comes to artists/entertainers/celebrities parsing out the lines and boundaries of power, responsibility and credit can get really complicated. Especially when the source and currency of the power that we’re trying to allocate responsibility and credit for is something intangible like fame. That line that SRK repeats in “FAN,” “I’m nothing without my fans” takes on so many layers and interpretations doesn’t it? On the one hand, Amitabh Bachchan has a right to be proud of his career-making performance in “Zanjeer” – it’s his hard work and talent that made that role come alive. On the other hand, all that talent and effort would have been for nought if the audience hadn’t responded so enthusiastically to it. I think you’re right – awareness on the part of the celeb that luck and other factors over which they have no control contribute to their success is key. It’s okay to take credit for yourself, as long as you don’t ascribe *all* or even *most* of it to yourself.

    And I’m laughing at myself because I don’t even like the guy and don’t understand how I came to be defending him, but “Rajesh Khanna… was unlikely to sign the challenging role if there was a blockbuster role available” just isn’t true. The one area RK distinguished himself from Amitabh is in the creative risks they took during their respective peaks. Amitabh almost always played it safe. RK didn’t and he has a fairly high number of movies during his peak years where he essays an off-beat role or plays second fiddle to his leading lady. “Safar”, “Khamoshi”, “Mehbood Ki Mehndi” “Chhoti Bahu”, “Joru Ka Ghulam”, “Amar Prem”, “Maryada”, “Avishkar”, etc. are all movies that he made post-Aradhana and he takes a backseat to his female co-stars in everyone of them. I can’t think of a single film post-Deewar through 1989 where that’s true for Amitabh.

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    • Can I hop on and say that part of ascribing things to others is that you have to realize the importance of the fans? I feel like there are celebrities who appreciate their fellow artists and are generous to give credit to the writer, director, etc., but resent doing fan appearances, or dismiss the audience for just wanting the same thing from them. Again, I’m not just thinking of Indian film stars. Like, there are famous musicians who hate playing their “old songs” and resent the fans for wanting that over and over again, instead of being grateful that their work is so loved. You can be irritated with playing the same old stuff, but still respectful of the reasons that people want to hear that old stuff. I don’t know if I am being clear, but there is a kind of dismissiveness towards the feelings of the fans and WHY the love you which I see sometimes, and which can be separate from respect and appreciation for fellow artists.

      No one “likes” Rajesh Khanna! I find this hilarious also! I am sure you are right about his role of pushing the envelope and taking the challenging roles, and yet I resist giving him credit for it because I just don’t like the guy. And it seems like that is the universal feeling. His fans adored him for a short period with a kind of fervent devotion, and then they got turned off and drifted away, like I don’t remember those stories of “I can’t appear in public without causing a public hazard” post 1976 or so. It’s really hard to give him credit for anything, because I just don’t like him.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. I think most of the South Indian stalwarts are better in conducting themselves off screen. They have utilized their stardom for better purpose. To top it all, the legend Dr.Raj considered his fans as Gods. For him “Abhimanigale Devaru”.

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  11. Definitely think all this applies to American celebrities as well. The first person that came to mind was Justin Bieber. Beloved by his fans but treats them, the media, and those close to him like garbage. Completely ungrateful. The public doesn’t realize it, or continues to idolize him and give him a successful career. Pulling a feminism angle, Taylor Swift is the opposite. Constantly grateful for support. Elevates careers of lesser known artists. Gives back to fans, to the public, albeit not so loudly and openly, but her personal life makes so much noise that the public can’t see all the good she’s doing and/or refuses to acknowledge it.

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    • Yes to Taylor Swift! I think the first thing I heard about her, before I ever heard one of her songs, was that she’d donated like $240,000 to her local school’s music program after winning an Emmy. She does stuff like that all the time, she’s lead a very privileged life even before getting famous, and she seems to have responded with a desire to be grateful and pay it forward.

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 4:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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