Paparazzi: The Making and breaking of Social Image/Career.
With the digital world growing from strength to strength, the social media accounts have also become a crucial part of their portfolio. Instagram, Reality shows, edited clips are some of the new ways through which people get an idea of the lifestyle the celebrities live and the baseless myths the people form just on the basis of viewing a minor and incomplete part of their life and then judging them on the whole.
A recent episode of Koffee with Karan and various clips on Instagram have showed that Paparazzi or the camera has a huge power which is a subpart of media. From recent experiences people have started getting equally involved in the skills of particular celebrities and their personal life acting as a mirror to reflect on reflecting on the kind of person he or she is. Hence the focus of individuals who perform on bigger platforms might be distracted due to the social image and pressure leading to more of bad and inappropriate media experience out of frustration.
In this project we would be looking at the meaning of Paparazzi, How it works, ethics the Paparazzi have to follow and the line they shouldnt cross, how celebrities face the frustration and certain case studies which will help us understand the work of paparazzi. In the end it would be you who has to conclude whether the freedom to the paparazzi is correct or is it something to look upon and alter for the sake of people protection, privacy and Happiness.
Paparazzi is an Italian word which describes free lancing photographers who click pictures of celebrities from various fields like the movies fertenity, sports stars, politicians who have made a name or are part of a famous family who has been involved in the political society for a large amount of time (even generations), entertainers in various fields like standup comedy, stage performers, dancers, singers, people with certain skills which are unique and various other individuals who have made a name in the eyes of the common public in some or the other way which could be good or bad publicity. The motive of the Paparazzi is to be a mediator between the celebrities or idols and various commoners so that they can get an insight about them from both their personal and their professional lives.
The Paparazzi aim to make a living by selling out their pictures and videos which they take to different media outlets who offer prices for the pictures and videos and the cost depends on the fame of the celebrity who has been clicked, the venue they get the click from, the angle of the picture if it could make a statement and the lesser the frequency of the availability of the celebrity to get a chance to b e clicked. It has been rumored that in bollywood, Taimur Ali Khan who is the son of famous actor Saif Ali Khan also the Nawab of Pataudi and Kareena Kapoor Khan who is a very prominent, gorgeous actress and has been a part of bollywood for the past 20 years. The son is just 3 years old but is already living the dream life where the Paparazzi dont even leave the residence and wait for a mere glimpse of the Prince of Pataudi.
The media oulets which are mostly interested belong to the tabloid journalism section and sensationalism which would mainly include gossip magazines which would aim at a particular target audience to whom actually what is going around in the high society or their celebrities life which they follow matters.
The clicking of picture is also an art for these independent contractors because they always have to be on the lookout. They are directly or indirectly are affiliated to the mainstream media and other organizations and they have to use the opportunity of sighting a celebrity or a high-profile personality and the advantage is taken only if they take pictures which are presentable and fulfills the criteria mentioned above. Once they do they can contact any of these media outlets and strike a deal for whatever content they have, earning a living from this process. The problem arises when as some experts quote that the behavior of the free lancing camera persons could be summed up as stalking or trespassing an individuals private space which becomes a reason of discomfort for him or her. Anti stalking bills in various countries look upon the issue for reducing the harassments the celebrities face and this becomes an unavoidable problem when they are out with their family and children who have to face the hustle of media which can be discomforting and if the members are not in the right stage of mind. Imagine someone trying to talk to you when you are not going through the best of times and they follow you and try to invade the personal life that only belongs to you. This is the primary reason why complaints have increased in a large number and restraining orders have to be taken against the Paparazzi so that they understand that there is a line which they cannot cross and also many lawsuits are filed against them which may or may not go in their favor and the jury has also started believing that getting into someones personal space is a serious matter and the consequences could be lethal.
This reputation of the paparazzi has created a havoc and to stop from such harassments the countries have restricted the activities of camera persons by passing laws and revolting with curfews and events are staged in such a way that these paparazzi are not allowed to take photographs or cover the event in any way because it could compromise the security of the individual or the entire country. The celebrity organizations in the US are covered under the First Amendment which states that congress will not be allowed to make any law which would respect an establishment of religion and prohibiting the free exercise of rights ; putting a question of freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to gather.
The evolution of paparazzi culture in India
India being an emotional country which has always been obsessed with its celebrities and famous personalities have never known the amount of money these celebrities shell out to the PR department of various magazines so that they can obtain perfect images which are untarnished in their esteemed publications but now there is a high society which keeps these Bollywood stars on their toes and there are various publications who have built the reputation of stars one generation to another over decades and gradually built the Bollywood News industry or the Showbiz industry that it is called .
If we try to track down from where we all started gobbling the news about its stars in the early times of media then Shobhaa De would be the perfect person to start with being a feisty editor of Stardust magazine. She was also blessed with good looks and has done several photo shoots but which has kept her in the limelight were her catty snippets related to celebrity affairs and some of the Rocky marriages which made it to the gossip of the industry and lead to being the talk of the town eventually.
In those early times when the country had been granted freedom from the colonial rule and a colonial past and people had not got over it, salacious exposes of famous Bollywood stars in early 70s was at its peak. It went to the extent where Amitabh Bachchan had to ban the magazine from taking his interview for the upcoming 7 years and with people still content to be Free from the rule of the British Mrs. De had come up with an all together new language to the people of India called HINGLISH. The language constituted of a mixture of Hindi and English at their own convenience and it was not easy for the citizens of the country to digest it for someone being so flamboyant and out there with their words and thoughts. There was a secretly Bollywood obsessed reading preference and there was also a linguistic revelation, a change in phrase which had given the entertainment journalism a language of its own. Mrs De had quoted, I am proud to be known as the grandmother of Hinglish and stardust had been a big game changer for me with its success , most publications in the country got Stardustised but even with all the fame and support for the rise of the magazine, the road had always been rocky and enough people to contradict on the viewpoints and with so many individuals having inputs, it got tougher to convince people and even tougher to stop individuals who tried to superimpose their views and news over us just for the sake of money and it was always a fight like in the movies for the truth to prevail.
De went to become one the bestselling novelist of the country who was also referred to as the Jackie Collins of India during the late 80s and 90s had bigger fish to fry. She had to deal with and fend off huge Bollywood egos and also fending off her occasional lawsuit was part of her curriculum. She said that she had to regularly fend off these cases and most of them had no full stop and would ride along for years with no conclusion seen to the furthest of horizons. The laws being as easy to work with as they are was the only reason the paparazzi were spared but she assured everyone in the end and quoted, Not a single story or say even a gossip was manufactured or started for recreation and all we were doing were our jobs.
For most of the times the person who provided her with saucy information was the star, producer or the director of the movie. There was an instance when prominent director RAJ KAPOOR was very angry when we as critics had called one of his movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram as Satyam Shivam Boredom. Several stars and starlets stormed into her office which she called the cat house but mostly everyone stayed at bay and did not dare to step into her office and she wrote a book also in 1998 on how she had dealt with the tantrums of these Bollywood stars.
1980s: The Tabloid Nation
Several publications started following the footsteps of the stardust. Several tabloids started emerging and it started to boost the Paparazzi content in the country with people finding new news and ways to earn. The target had also started to change where these new upcoming tabloids aimed at the youngsters and people who belong to the urban society. Mid Day had been launched in 1979 which had given rise to concepts like Page 3 and Man Friday. Another prominent tabloid which began in this era was The Afternoon dispatch and Courier. The diary format which was initiated by stardust had become famous and the rest of the media agencies also started following the footsteps to get fame in the media society. Soon this section of paparazzi was involved in the English newspaper and became an integral part of the newspaper increasing the readership of newspapers within the country.
Mumbai although had an all together different mindset and the people there were obsessed with the life of the rich. Marcellus Baptista owns most of the credit for being the veteran party reporter for years and has been covering the cities night life for the past 37 years with no signs of him looking to quit or stop to move onto something peaceful. Baptista lived with his 102 years old mother in Bandar and had his work cut out post dusk for he had the responsibility to cover at least 3 events every night and he quoted, I might not have been the life of the party, but those parties were my life. Someone has to write about those parties and why not me if it earns me my living. If the parties stop in Mumbai then I would be finished and I would have to do some 9 to 5 gig which any commoner would do and I would prefer the 9 pm to 5 am job rather than the 9am to 5pm. They called him the page 3 journalist but all he knows that his day starts at night when the rest return home and I prepare for a hard nights work. He has changed his basic fundamentals of living by changing the routine of his day where he shaves in the evening and looking presentable is the key in his profession.
The first Paparazzi photographer: 1990s
Yogen Shah was described as Indias first paparazzi photographer and the entire decade had been dedicated to him. This was a sketchy period where India was able to cease the opportunity of being a socialist nation and this was the time when cable TV had arrived along with multinationals and this also made partying way more common. The Times of India also started a complimentary newspaper named The Bombay times which had to regularly give columns on local supermodels, actors, socialites and starlets.
The best A designer clothes page 3 had become the space where you could be photographed and Shah was the person who had taken it on himself to do the honors and the best part he felt about it was that he did not have to be part of those party to get pictures of celebrities. He just waited at the gates of various parties with his camera, asked the celebrities politely and then moved further with his work.