Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) authorities have thought out a very good concept. It is set to invite people who have faced traumatic experiences in life in its special episode Doosra Mauka (Second Chance) which give the unfortunate victims an opportunity to fight back in life and gain some fortune and with it, a confidence.
We salute Sonali Mukherjee, the real heroes on this earth
Sonali Mukherjee, the 26-year-old woman from Dhanbad who was attacked with acid by three men for protesting their indecent behaviour in April 2003, has been fighting a gritty battle for life in all these years despite facing tremendous hardships. Some of her sensory organs were severely damaged and after undergoing 22 surgeries, she has regained some power back but whatever be the physical damage, the mental trauma she has undergone is inexplicable.
The fact that the accused were let free later has added to the injustice more. Life became such a painful burden for the woman, who had also won the award as a National Cadet Corps candidate, that she sought a right to terminate her life if justice continued to elude her.
We salute Sonali Mukherjee for her courage and determination to live. The initiative of KBC to give her a platform to look ahead in life also deserves a big applause, particularly after the repeated and tiring appearances made by actor pairs to promote their films. It shows commercial ventures can also be used for humanitarian causes, provided there is a will. Mukherjee was given little help from the representatives of the state and it was mainly individual and private helping hands that have come forward.
KBC did a great job for it exposed the hollow glamour
However, I have still a point to feel disappointed. Why these screen personalities express their sympathetic minds selectively? Amitabh Bachchan and Lara Dutta, for instance, expressed various shades of emotions over the special KBC show that hosted Mukherjee. Why don't we see these people at other times when their opinions really matter as the so-called 'first-class citizens' of the country? Is hollowness the end word for this tribe of glamour men and women?
Celebrities with convenient conscience
While speaking on the extent of superficiality that these popular idols indulge in, a mention should be given about their deafening silence when injustice is meted out to common citizens of the society. None of these superstars dared to utter a word or post a comment when two innocent girls were arrested in Maharashtra for doing virtually nothing. They are seen wearing perfectly ironed white dresses symbolising their grief while attending famous families whenever there is a death. Why don't they visit families of those dalits and tribals who are/were massacred because of caste hatred? Do they not matter in the ready-made scripts?
Sense of insecurity or selfishness?
Sitting on crores and living life king-size, what sense of insecurity stop them from taking a stand against unjustifiable actions? Or are they impotent to pursue their largely hollow but glamourous careers without the support of those in power? If that is indeed the case, I must say that they are selfish and hopeless role models for the society.
Bachchan said nice words about Sonali Mukherjee but how many of those are truly realised by people like him? "...she can now speak and hear ... full of grit and determination to seek not just justice, but to become an example of faith and strength for others that get inflicted with such atrocities .. They that inflict such damage are not humans ..", Bachchan wrote, but can he and his colleagues in the industry really set the example of faith and strength like Sonali Mukherjee? Convenient conscience is a very favourite term for these hollow celluloid giants.
Ads, endorsements, silence... do only those matter for the elite?
Bollywood, politics and cricket produce the most popular idols in India but the tragedy is that very few from either of these stables come out of the ivory tower when the need for decisive stand or action arises. They tweet conveniently or when there is 'zero risk' involved or do not bother at all. Is this the standard of public responsibility expected from people who are revered by the society, sometimes even to the extremes.
We see Shahrukh Khan endorsing an utterly discriminative product called fairness cream but never say anything when the rights of two innocent girls are violated. They queue up to appear before the camera while sympathising with Anna Hazare as glorified extras but always feel that politics is dirty and not fit for them to excel.
Not one cricketer is ever found coming out to clear the air on any crisis that endangers their own game which earns them bread. Why a cricketer of the stature of Sachin Tendulkar never takes a stand on the issue of match-fixing in India or the respect that is 'enforced' by goons in his own state Maharashtra? They love to act diplomatically and in the process, reveals the hypocrisy within.
They do charity but never lead a mission
Yes, there are examples of icons doing a lot of charity in this country. But why are they only content in addressing a damage rather than take a stand that can avoid a situation from getting worse? Actors today are far more powerful and effective in reaching out to the masses, thanks to not only the powerful media but also because the alternative life that they project for common Indians, which make them more trustworthy compared to the politicians. But they never respond to the expectation.
Are big people actually hollow within?
But yet, excepting a few people like Amir Khan, no social activism is seen on part of these people. It is perhaps because most of them love their own image more than anything else. May be the depth of understanding to effect a real change on the ground is not there. The web of superficiality created by make-ups, six-packs, muscles and dazzling consumerism is enough to earn them a longevity in popular mind. Anything outside that is useless.
We call these people our heroes but ignore and forget the Sonali Mukherjees. Thanks a ton to KBC to make Bollywood tower Amitabh Bachchan look a dwarf beside a giant called Sonali Mukherjee. It is the latter who is real. The former just rules in a make-believe world.