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Media and ‘celebrity’

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The word ‘celebrity’ is becoming overused these days and its misuse has emptied it of its real meaning. It’s time we found out who’s a ‘celebrity’ in true sense of the term. Media has been indiscriminately using the term for a long time, beating the trumpets of public figures who’re far from real ‘celebrities’. A real ‘celebrity’ will always stand by his or her values and beliefs rather than his or her celebrity status.

Let’s take a look at what today’s ‘celebrities’ are advising.

While endorsing a drink, Amitabh Bachchan urges people ‘to try it’ knowing well it has hardly any health benefits. Everyone knows it contains sugar which is deadly and contributes to obesity, a serious health issue across the world especially in the developed country.

Similarly, Shah Rukh Khan has been endorsing a popular soft drink on TV. The company had roped in Ranveer Singh, Chiranjeevi and Mahesh Babu as its brand ambassador until 2021. The question also remains: Does SRK himself take the same drink often? Or, will he ask his kids to take it regularly? I’m sure the actor maintains strict physical and eating regimens.

Another US-based beverage maker has recently appointed Ranveer Singh as its brand ambassador and also unveiled a new campaign targeting younger consumers.

Hrithik Roshan, the brand ambassador of another soft drink, urges consumers to take a particular drink. Kiara Advani has been currently endorsing another soft drink which had been earlier endorsed by Katrina Kaif for more than 16 years. All the soft drinks available in the market are detrimental to health. Drinking such sugar-sweetened beverages will have various impacts on health. These range from increased chances of tooth decay to a higher risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, Cristiano Ronaldo at a press conference at the European Championship (2020) had snubbed Coca-Cola. He had pushed aside two bottles of the popular soft drink placed in front of him. His message was: “No Coca-Cola”. The gesture had a dramatic impact. The company’s market value had slumped $4 billion.

Obesity, a major reason of which is unrestrained consumption of soft drink, has become a serious health hazard in the US. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the US. Today, the country has some of the highest obesity rates in the world: one out of six children is obese, and one out of three children is overweight or obese.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted between 2019 and 2021, about 6.4 per cent of India’s women and 4.0 per cent of men aged 15-49 are obese.

On February 14, 2021, less than a month after former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly had been discharged from hospital following his second angioplasty, an edible oil firm was back with a new ad featuring Ganguly.

Real celebrities are those who’re good human beings, those who work tirelessly for the welfare of mankind, who never ever resort to unethical ways and whose hallmarks are honesty and integrity.

I recall Sachin Tendulkar’s “Playing it my way—My autobiography” where Sachin’s father Ramesh Tendulkar, an acclaimed Marathi poet, critic and professor, made a profound remark. “As a parent, I would be happier hearing people say “Sachin is a good human being” than Sachin is a great cricketer” any day.”

Can we think of any ‘celebrity’ now who’s ready to imperil his stardom to advance a social cause just the way American singer Harry Bela Fonte did in 1956? He had joined Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in pursuit of loftier goal, leaving his career ambitions.

He had served as one of the lead organisers of the USA for Africa “We Are The World” single, raising $100 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. Belafonte had worked ceaselessly for breaking Hollywood’s racial lines, and used his stardom to change how Black characters were portrayed.

Media’s ‘celebrity’ worship has been doing irreparable damage to society. Newspapers pages, especially entertainment/sport pages, are awash with photos of ‘celebrities’ who are far from real ‘celebrities’. Growing up with such a notion of ‘celebrity’ and ‘celebrity worship syndrome’ will be disastrous for our kids and society.

It’s time media focused on real heroes who make a tangible difference to the greater good of our lives.

Do you know?

There are 39gm of sugar in a Coca-Cola can.

35gm of sugar amounts to about seven teaspoons of sugar?

Thanks for stopping by.