I was in London when my whatsapp messenger buzzed and I received the now famous or infamous picture of Vinod Khanna recuperating in the hospital. I thought it was some trick, a fake picture circulated by a cruel mind. My little research told me it probably wasn’t a fake picture. I was appalled by the insensitivity of whoever had leaked the picture and helped it go viral. Just not done.
Scouting for locations for my film 1921 entailed long car rides and as I bobbed away on the back seat, my mind went back to the picture of Vinod Khanna in the hospital. There was a French phrase that came to mind. It’s called “Noblese Oblige” which roughly translates into English as the obligations of nobility. When you become a noble man you become tied to certain obligations and I suspect the right to a private is surely one of them.
For long the debate has been raging on the private lives of public figures. How much right does the public have to know about their lives and how much right do the public figures have to a personal life that is intrusion free?
I learned my lesson very early on in life when my affair with the Miss Universe and my divorce became fodder for the tabloids and film magazines. It was just everywhere, the news and the comments on me. Everyone had an opinion on what I should do or should have done and everyone knew the truth about what was going on, which was in fact furtherest from the truth.
I would have sleepless nights wondering which tabloid would have the next go at me and how castigating they were going to be. Those were anxious times but truth be told I got used to it. I got used to the comments, the reprimands, the accusations and the branding.
I realised that chasing fame was a package deal, you couldn’t pick and choose. If you wanted fame you would have to give everything in return to the public. That was the rule of the game and of course you had two choices. You could either do it without complaining or you could bring the roof down but once sold was sold. There was no turning back.
I have seen some public figures guarding their personal lives manically and it amuses me, for the more you try to be private the more interest you generate in your life. The spotlight is like the Sun, you see. It shines on everything equally. You can’t ask the Sun to be reasonable. Such is the glare of the public life, no escaping it. Once you walk down the path of that light there is no wishing for semi darkness.
Of course, in the case of Vinod Khanna and the picture, the Khanna family has been more than dignified and in that dignity they have not bowed down to dignifying the leaked picture, which is how it should be done. They have ignored it and a stalwart like Vinod Khanna knows only too well the folly in engaging with it.
My piece is to the bleeding hearts on Facebook and other social platforms. Stop lamenting and getting upset. This is the way showbiz works my friends. Get in or get out, like it or lump it.