The larger issue here is one of public accountability of our stars.

Kashyap is right Salman made rape remark but journalists there laughed at it tooImage: PTI/Wikipedia commons
Blog Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 12:43

Salman is no stranger to controversy, but even by his own standards, his recent comment comparing his rigorous stunt sequences to a woman being raped were horrific, and he got slammed for it by everyone – except his own fans who defended him, and Bollywood which went into mass radio silence.

But there was one response from Bollywood that hit the nail on the head, from the insightful Anurag Kashyap.

His fans have been shamed, and Bollywood taken to the cleaners, by no less than Arnab Goswami.

But what about all the people who were laughing at the ‘joke’ Salman cracked?

Here, listen to the audio of the comment Salman made, and how immediately people all around him laugh at it. Mind you, this was a press conference with a lot of journalists present.

 

 

There have been murmurs about the journo-laughter already online. But Anurag Kashyap, seemingly at the risk of sounding like he was defending Salman even though he called Salman’s remark “thoughtless” and “daft”, puts it out straight. And he asks one important question, why did no journo at the event ask a follow up?

 

Now Anurag is quick to assume that those journalists who did not ask that questions were subsumed by the craving for the headlines his remark would offer, and that they were thinking of their own careers being made instead of doing their job, which is asking tough questions.

That might very well be the case, but what is more likely is that the lack of questioning is rooted in the culture of walking on eggshells around stars.

Often, as journalists standing around, it takes you a while to realize the gravity of a stupid remark made smilingly. And even while you are standing there, you are looking around to see if you are the only one, and processing the response in your mind. One wrong step, and you get thrown out of the press conference, or worse, your job. And this caution or reverence is rooted in the culture of fear.

While the jovial response to a horrible rape joke is to be condemned, the larger issue here is one of public accountability of our stars. They are influential voices, and they need to be questioned more vigorously by the media, and journalists shoulder that responsibility.

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