Kareena Kapoor comes to see a play at Prithvi, and suddenly the 350 rupee ticket seems worth it.
She stands in the queue to get into the theatre, and some people forget their snacks, leave their coffee tables, and develop an interest in the flora and fauna around the entrance. Some drop their sophistication and openly gape. There are a lot of giggles and a lot of elbows being nudged.
Inside the auditorium, there is ample space for those sitting behind Kareena, and beside her. With enough squeezing efforts being made, the seats across her, with a full frontal view of the actor, and not the stage, take in some more people, and then some more.
Masks are dropped. People begin to twist and turn their necks, and hold up their phones for photographs. A man sitting in front of Kareena, turns backs and clicks his wife in the foreground, with Kareena in the background. Everyone who notices, laughs. Permission to click a lady’s snap, what is that?
A girl sitting in front of me, forwards her photos to friends, or perhaps some social media site. 3G bills through the auditorium shoot up.
One civilized human being goes up to Kareena and talks. But the others are content to stare. Some people like me try hard to pretend we cannot see her, and are not interested. A couple of places beside her remain empty, until a foreigner comes in and sits down, oblivious of the courage she is displaying.
No one notices that the play does not start on time. The show is already on.
Kareena meanwhile keeps up a steady conversation with her friend, maintains a friendly face, tries to act normal.
But of course, all of us know she is not normal. She is a film star, for God’s sake. Even if we are perfect strangers, we own her. It is by virtue of our adoration that she is where she is. So in exchange, if we trouble her a little, pester her a little, who is she to complain? She does not really need privacy, of course that is an act. If we stopped noticing her, she would suffer.
Salman Khan talks of intrusion of privacy on a talk show, but everyone is busy discussing his virginity.
(Picture from Vogue India, February 2013)