Before anything, Sridevi was a human being and an Indian citizen. The Constitution clearly states that every citizen has the right to a dignified life and personal liberty (Article 21), which is also interpreted as the right to a dignified death.
Well, for once let’s just forget what the Constitution says or the government or the authorities – but what about being human? What about showing some respect and sensitivity towards someone who died and their grieving families? Every single time even a slight twitch in ‘expression’ comes their way, all media houses unite to chant the mantra of ‘freedom of expression’. I ask all my seniors, juniors, colleagues and friends from the journalism industry – what does freedom of expression mean to you? Lack of civic sense, lack of empathy and zero sensitivity?
The way, in which the paparazzi and media houses could not control themselves even for one complete day on the death of superstar Sridevi, tells us what we have become. We are so commercially-driven that we literally do not care risking what we may look like outside and what effect our ‘journalism’ may have on the society at large.
From animated ghosts of former wives (Mona Kapoor) haunting present wives (Sridevi) and visual effects of Sridevi floating in scary bathtubs, to wine glasses in the background of the reporter and weird graphics of Boney Kapoor floating near weirder ones of his deceased wife – ‘leading’ TV channels to the print media as well, have been doing this circus since the day that she died. Some TV channels went to the extreme levels of having customers call the ‘hotlines’ to share their conspiracy theories. We heard Amar Singh rant about how much film-stars drink and witnessed Simi Chandok and Nasser Abdullah become investigative officers on air.
Sridevi started acting in films from the age of four and grew up to be the first female superstar that India had ever seen. Her demise was a shock to the entire nation and it being a matter of news is not something out of the box. When a star leaves us, we mourn together. The media informs us about it, pays tribute and lets the deceased ‘rest in peace’. However, the Indian media decided to burn all its ethics and codes (if there were any left) and went berserk. If something happened, we should let the police do its work and stop jumping the gun.
No to mention, ‘arriving-for-the-death-looks’ are already viral on social media.
What saddens me more is this: Not only is the media creating/producing insensitive content – we as consumers are also enjoying it in our drawing rooms with our families. And the, when a teenager takes a selfie with a dying sibling, we sit as ‘ideal people’ and rant about what is wrong with the new generation. Neither technology nor media – nothing instills insensitivity in our personalities. I believe it is what we choose to watch, read and share makes us who we are. And from the looks of it, I don’t think we are even people anymore, forget being ideal or civilized.