Whether we’re flipping channels, turning to page three, or surfing the Internet, we perk up as soon as a celebrity is talked about in the media. It could be their birthday, an outburst of anger, photographs of their parties, or a date they had in a restaurant. Anything and everything to do with celebrities, especially if there are photographs or videos available, is instantly devoured by a large audience.
Why are we so intrigued when we hear such news or gossip? Says Gautami K, a marketing professional, “I think it’s the boredom or monotony of life that gets to us. Every once in a while, I do browse major news sites or entertainment sites for celebrity news. Likewise, if I am at home I do want to be updated on the latest gossip on Indian celebrities or the Hollywood ones. This is one of the ways I can relax.”
Many people find reading of a cricketer’s interests or an actor’s lifestyle a way to transport themselves to a world where they seldom think of their own worries.
Says Manjula Shetty, proprietor of a leading beauty salon, “Women find it very relaxing when they are reading something on lifestyle or the film magazines. You generally find a lot of these magazines at beauty salons because women come here to be pampered and relax.”
Of late, almost everyone in show business seems to post intricate details of their life, whether to share good news or to defend their actions, statement or opinion. In the age of blogging and twitter, we hear what kind of dress they wore or what their opinion is on some issue, or what their new baby is like. Everything to do with glamorous celebrities seems to be welcome. These celebrities also know that it’s good to be talked about even if they are not doing all that well in their chosen profession. After all, being a celebrity is all about being clicked and followed in the virtual world, too. Is it only women who find such gossip interesting? No, says Raghu Rao, a professional working in an advertising agency. “Men too like to know of their favourite sports personalities’ personal life, photographs or comments by their favourite actors to feel closer with their icons.”
There have been instances when those in the public eye are abusive, misbehave, or make controversial comments, before apologizing just as publicly. There are wannabes who post frivolous pictures of themselves that are anything but appealing. In a country that is heavily dependent on film celebrities, cricketers and the like for major entertainment news, people like to know personal details. No one complains until there is an overdose of news about a single celebrity. Celebrity gossip offers stress-free therapy, brings friends together over lunch and lightens up the office environment. It also gives people reasons to laugh or feel good that they were not the person caught in an awkward photograph, opening a window for negative emotions to be thrown out. The next time you find an introvert colleague surfing through an actor’s childhood pictures splashed on the web, perhaps you could join in. It may just start a conversation.