The dearest ‘koffee’. Hardik Pandya discovers the kettle is too hot to handle. Considering the recent uproar where the flamboyant all-rounder stole the centre stage abusing his popularity. Not with cricket, but the cricketer. Hardik and Rahul (too) courted controversy and have been pilloried for being “bad” role-models for the way they presented themselves in a recent popular TV show. True, their main job is to entertain us, they never signed up to be role-models (good or bad).
Looks like Hardik Pandya is inspired by Donald Trump, who has a similar attitude towards women. Even Trump, who was reportedly heard making similar loose talk about women, did not brag about his conquest of women, on live TV. Is Hardik even more reckless? Remember, Tiger Woods’ extra-marital infidelity scandal had menaced his moral image — it just goes to show that stupidity has no cultural borders.
Big personalities are highly revered anyway because celebrity itself counts more than a character in a society without any moral ground. Shame and guilt seem to not have as much power over them as it does the rest of us. Is it that the copious flow of fame, glamour, and money, especially in cricket in the last decade, has filled boys with a sense of entitlement?
The cricketing talent got Hardik too much sports celebrity too soon. A playboy with cricketing skills, it is our national problem to liken cricketers to god and expect them to be holy souls! They are often unable to handle all the adulation which comes their way. Some develop arrogance and attitude, but some like Pandya gets misconceived.
Publish and be damned
Hardik’s comments were disrespectful, indeed. Why blame Karan Johar? The conversation (not a cross-examination) did shed the light on the truth. What, if Hardik had replied to Karan that he is a non-sexist (but would have been a liar)? Is it then okay with untruth over sexism? What should get the priority? You and I, but for Karan, would not have known the other side of the cricket star, who picked his words (may not be illegal) seamlessly uncivilised. Isn’t that Karan unfolded a celebrity flaunting the degeneration?
At a time when both the public and media continue to confer celebrity status on more and more bizarre characters, Karan has only showcased the flip side of our ‘hero’. Stories about stars and celebrities do typically fork out revelations, concerning things they have done which they should have desisted. How do you undermine the editorial prerogative? The guest was true to the mood and spirit of the chat, skilfully crafted by the journalist. If sex and crime are bad words, there is no media. Why do some cricketers and celebrities think they are larger than life?
Welcome decision by BCCI
When you humiliate a cricket ball, you are handed a one-year suspension (the leading Australian cricketers are still languishing!). The Board of Cricket for Control India (BCCI), the employer of Hardik Pandya, rightly slapped a show-cause notice on the hard-hitting cricketer. Yes, crooks must be out of the team.
Even match-fixing doesn’t make you a pariah in Indian cricket, but apparently, when you brag about hooking up with multiple women, you are, by your sordid epithets, pitching misogyny, arrogance and brat behaviour to the coming generation. Team India might win a lot more nowadays than earlier, but the team certainly may miss the class and grace, if such players are in the system. By the way, where are the global cricket commentators calling for life bans?
Celebrities and heroes
When you represented Team India, you are already looked up as role-model. However, not every celebrity should be viewed as a hero or a role-model. Celebrities and heroes are the people who risk their lives for our nation, people that endanger themselves for the well-being of others. A person who plays the soldier on the big screen is certainly not the real thing.
Celebrities should be judged based on what they are famous for, as well as how they present themselves in the public. While there are many celebrities that do good for people, they tend to not get as much media attention as those who display inappropriate behaviour.
With the rise of massive entertainment industry (can we add sports?), celebrities became a cheap and casual commodity. Is an honest character seen as totally optional, hopelessly obsolete? Or, is it that goodness would be practically incompatible with fame and success?
Emulate Rahul Dravid
One word has attracted itself to Rahul Dravid: gentleman. The more successful Rahul became, even more, humble he got into. It’s time for the other Rahul to take a leaf from the man of substance, who is morally serious and intellectually curious.
The entire Hardik episode showed that money can’t buy class, and there is more crisis to the character.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)