The recent death of the first female super-star of Indian cinema Sridevi has come as a shocker for most of us. However, what has been even more shocking is the way media made a spectacle out of it.
Media across the world has always been besotted with celebs, but the kind of insensitivity shown towards the bereaved family is gut-wrenching and beyond comprehension. The most disturbing aspect was not the 24×7 coverage of the demise, but the way media kept jumping the gun and started floating conspiracy theories one after the other without even waiting for a word from the local police or Indian embassy.
The deceased was a public figure and a bright star in the universe of Indian cinema. There can be no denying that. But above all she was a human being who deserved some rights and dignity. The media began with giving us news of her shocking death, followed by her on-screen exploits, her contribution to Indian cinema and then moved to bring details of her love-story to our drawing rooms and from there it was a slide down an abyss. So much for ‘Rest in Peace’! So we saw some ‘experts’ debating on size of bathtub, some telling us that botox could cause death, some talking about stress. Some channels even invoked Sunanda Pushkar! We even had a news channel asking if Sridevi has taken re-birth already.
Surfing through channels during the course of events since Sridevi’s death till final rites one could sense that there was some sort of competition among the channels and anchors to stoop the basest levels for the sake of grabbing more eyeballs. One can’t help wondering whatever happened to ethics!
This was not the only case where media coverage has left a bad taste. One would recall the circus that played around the death of the first Hindi Superstar on celluloid Rajesh Khanna. These people spent their lives entertaining us. But does that make their death a show for the sake of entertainment? It’s high time media persons asked such questions to themselves.