The controversy over Maggi noodles is getting bigger each day. The innocuous fast food is suddenly at the centre of a massive row over its quality. The food that India has been relishing since the 1980s is facing the crisis of its lifetime.
Why celebrities are more in focus?
But one feels the the controversy is getting closer to the celebrities more than the food quality. One suspects the media is focussing more the celebrities who have come under legal scanner for endorsing the food product than actually clearing the doubts about and around it. Since the more the celebrities appear on the screens and react and talk, the more it serves the TRP business. [Maggi controversy: What is MSG?]
But is there any valid reason to target the celebrities over this controversy? Maggi is something that is close to India's soul for a long time and not a post-liberalisation surprise like the KFC and McDonald's.
Maggi symbolised a trust equation in pre-liberalisation India, now that has been breached
A number of stars have endorsed the brand for Maggi symbolised a trust equation in the Indian market and it made the celebrities enter their fans' heart through their stomach. This sudden breach of the pre-liberalisation trust in the post-liberalisation period is indeed unfortunate. But we just can't hold the celebrities responsible for this mess, if there is indeed one.
India's icons are not entirely irresponsible
In India, celebrities have understood their roles as social icons with time. There is an awareness against promoting alcohol or smoking or even using fairness cream on the screen among today's celebrities which is a positive. Hence, targetting the filmstars for doing a Maggi commercial and 'misleading' people is totally uncalled for.
It is not the celebrities' duty to go to the Maggi producing factories and check the quality. What are the authorities responsible for that job were doing all these days if people were indeed consuming poison?
India's celebrities are rather soft targets who are used whenever the need arises
Celebrities in India constitute a soft target and we have seen it time and again. They are used and targetted by the powerful as and when need arises just because they help the cause, both positively and negatively. We have seen in the past how outfits like the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnorman Sena targetted icons like Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan for 'not prioritising Maharashtra'.
It was nothing more than a political stunt to gain sympathy during polls. But when the same forces draw a blank in the election, they draw closer to the celebrities to recover some media space. The Bollywood also has learnt to live with this reality for they have to continue earning the living without annoying any quarter.