Are you one of those who always want to know what celebrities do and how they live, asks Anusha R.

If I wasn’t a celebrity would you still be so nice to me Would you still be into me if I wasn’t a celebrity? Celebrity! Celebrity! Celebrity! Celebrity! -N’Sync (pop band) The celebrity bug is here, and it seems to have infected everyone! Everything celebrities do or don’t are given much importance, and their activities are top contenders for juicy gossip. Whatever be the physical distance, many want a sneak peek into their seemingly fascinating lives. Hence where they go, whom they are seen with, what they eat, what they buy, what they sell, how they smell, and what they wear, bare and breathe is what many people thrive on! And, the media is only too happy to oblige by providing trivia about these stars. “While there are those who go looking for information on celebrities, many are unwittingly exposed to it, because of the media,” says Ramakrishnan, an advertising person. Many of the so-called Page 3 celebrities are in fact media created, he adds.

Celeb craze

On the international front, the most talked about celebrity is hotel heiress Paris Hilton. She was jailed for driving with a suspended licence, and later released amid much drama. But the incident, far from affecting her popularity, has only increased it. A recent news report mentioned how a website, www.hollywoodstartrash.com, auctioned Paris’ empty dog food can for $300. Also on offer are a tissue paper used by Paris to wipe her make-up.

Back home, fans went crazy with Aishwarya-Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding. An unwanted, uninvited media waited at their gates, and people sat glued to television hoping to catch a glimpse of the couple. Details of what the couple planned to wear and how much Ash spent on her jewellery were discussed. Many websites and channels carried fuzzy pictures of the so-called invitation.

A refreshing change

Says Aliah, a young graduate: “At the end of a long and tiring day, few want to listen to news on politics and war. I would prefer listening to celebrity gossip.”

All of us occasionally pick up film magazines or pause to watch some titbit on celebrities on television.

News of the break up between Salman Rushdie and wife Padma Lakshmi, the ‘secret engagement’ between Rani Mukherjee and Aditya Chopra, actress-singer Lindsay Lohan and her drug addiction, and Kate Moss throwing out boyfriend Pete’s belongings from her home! Need more? The media is raring to cater to you.

Celebrity fixation is a social problem, and cannot be dumbed down. Says Alice, a communication student: “The trend of teenagers finding the ‘unsafe behaviour’ and attitude of such celebrities ‘cool’, and wanting to imitate them is dangerous."

Unhealthy fixation?

Shobana, a mother of two, finds the love for celebrity gossip “unhealthy”. “My daughter had exams during the Ash-Abhi wedding, but she was inseparable from the TV. She wanted to watch every footage available on the couple, and on Jhanvi, the girl who created a controversy during the wedding.”

Sometimes, people get so involved in the lives of their favourite stars that everything about them becomes almost personal. Reena, a writer, was so crazy about Hrithik Roshan that when he got married she became upset and depressed.

On the internet too, there are innumerable sites dedicated to celebrities. There are so many blogs where people gossip about the public and private lives of these stars. “Why not focus all that energy, time and money on yourself, instead?” wonders Maya, a collegian.

Why waste time scrounging the papers, the television and the Internet for juicy scraps on their lives? Having said that, I am in danger of becoming one of the celebrity hunters, what with all the research this article took!

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