Being a part of the news media, it feels embarrassing and depressing to see how a part of it has touched all its low in the name of ratings and ‘we put it first’ competition. I am talking about a certain section of the Entertainment News Media. While the wave of viral social media videos has added a new outline to the craving, it pains more when we see prominent news organisations too are considering these as their content which are senseless and absurd.
Recently, a video from the wedding reception of producer Jayantilal Gada’s son Aksshay Gada was doing rounds both on the social media and mainstream news websites. The video features veteran producer Boney Kapoor and model-actress Urvashi Rautela in a photo op accompanied by writer and director Rajkumar Santoshi. The ‘Grand Masti’ actress was standing beside Boney Kapoor and was found sharing a laugh and chat. As they exit, Boney Kapoor was seen patting on her derriere. This video got spread faster than a wildfire. Netizens started discussing how the producer has ‘inappropriately’ touched the actress. Some didn’t even think twice before dragging the names of the daughters of Boney Kapoor and late actress Sridevi to remind Boney of his moral yardstick. People found it a desideratum to analyse and raise their voice what all way this can be looked upon as a ‘casual sexual assault’: Hashtags like #BoneyHitsUrvashi were shared. A social media page posted the same video stating “Boney Kapoor tried to get close to Urvashi Rautela”. Many called the act ‘disgusting’ while others felt if he wouldn’t have been such a great producer, he would’ve got a tight slap as a reaction to his abusive pat.
The speculations hit its peak and the actress had to react to the video and the incident. Sharing a snapshot of a ‘news article’ from “presumably one of India’s ‘SUPREME’ newspaper”, as addressed by the actress herself, Rautela tweeted, “Presumably one of India’s ‘SUPREME’ newspaper and this is ‘NEWS’? Please don’t talk about GIRL POWER or WOMEN’S LIBERATION when YOU don’t know how to RESPECT/HONOUR girls.” In her effort to keep the veteran producer safe from troll harm, she called him a “true gentleman” and further wrote, “I felt appalled and beyond shocked this morning when I saw social media flooded with trolls of me in a video with respected @BoneyKapoor Sir. He is a true Gentleman and it makes me feel extremely unhappy and miserable because the social sites/media don’t even think twice before putting up things or destroying anyone’s reputation. “I request all to stop trolling. I honestly respect @BoneyKapoor sir & stand by him and his dignity. #Nototrolls,” the actress added.
Now, the Trollers on the social media are undisputedly the misfortune this new-age and every-hand media has got in its brief lifetime. There have been attempts to lambaste these trollers through various TV shows in the near past. However, our eyeballs are yet to become sensitive enough towards a part of the Entertainment News Media that is also being an active part of the same.
Let us first revise what Entertainment Journalism is all about. This form of news reporting focuses on ‘popular culture and the entertainment business and its products’. Covering entertainment industry-specific (film, television, music, live events, celebrity coverage, and others) news and events fall into this. The experts in this form of news bring up all fresh developments and keep a track of the progress. They even calm the enthusiast audiences or readers with their insights on a particular project or event and through that become the trusted sources and analysts of the entertainment industry information. Entertainment Journalism must be solely dedicated to entertaining which keeps it apart from general news journalism that is responsible to inform, present facts and figures.
Okay! It seems the particular type of reporting to entertain the masses have walked quite far from the basics. The content crunch is fairly evident. A popular website featured the “Urvashi Rautela-Boney Kapoor” story and the headline said: “Boney Kapoor gets close to ex-Miss World Urvashi”. It added a snapshot from a video posted by Youtube channel Bollywood Now and the video was named as “Boney Kapoor Touches Urvashi Rautela INAPPROPRIATELY In Public”. While the mentioned Youtube video is not a glitch to my eyes but the video snapshot carried by the website certainly is. The video snapshot features a comment box stating “Don’t Touch Me” that suggests Urvashi saying the same to Boney which is certainly an edited form of their conversation — a new trend by the Youtubers to attract views while the context gets evident only once you watch the entire video.
Whatever might have happened between the two is entirely their personal affair — if at all that was a ‘casual sexual assault’, aren’t the entertainment news media supposed to wait for her ratification before publishing such affirmative articles confirming the touch was ‘intentional’ and ‘inappropriate’? If at all that was a ‘casual sexual assault’, shouldn’t have the article carried much value than just to ‘entertain’? In order to entertain the audience, is it permissible to use a viral content to cross the line of giving the due respect to a person or to malign someone? Are we ready to spend some thoughts on this?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)