#entertainment

Pooja Bedi, Encouraging People To Not Be “Caged & Masked” Reeks Of Tone-Deafness

pooja bedi goa video
Pooja Bedi Goa video sparks outrage: Actor-model Pooja Bedi is known for (almost) always being on the right side of any discussion. But it turns out that’s only as far as issues of social equality, gender, and women’s safety go. A video Bedi recently posted to her social media, of having a gala time on the beaches of Goa, exhibits public irresponsibility and false messaging of the biggest kind. And justifiably so, she is being called out on it.

Free your mind #NoFear Life is meant to be lived…  not spent caged and masked for a year/ years in fear of a virus that’s clearly not going away!” the Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar actor proclaimed on Twitter, alongside a clip of herself and beau Maneck Contractor jetting across the seas.

Watch the video here: 

“If you died tomorrow after year of masking/lockdown.. what would ur greatest regret be?” she asked in a tweet that was put out on a day India saw more than one thousand deaths due to the pandemic.

Let’s see. The greatest regret, at least for me in such a situation, would be that we let pass celebrity privilege and tone-deafness like Bedi’s and so many others’ without holding them to account. That we aren’t protesting strongly enough against their flashy display of wealthy living during a period common citizens are struggling to find oxygen. Regret also for the ease with which we will forget and forgive these stars once (if) we’re past the pandemic and their next releases are announced.

And despite all these regrets, at least one will go with the greatest melancholic satisfaction of not having encouraged people to risk their lives and live with “no fear” at a time when fear is precisely what is preventing our country from completely collapsing under the weight of the ravages of COVID-19.

Pooja Bedi Goa Video: Why Celebrities Deserve To Be Called Out On Privilege

For those active on Twitter, the timeline every single day is flooded with desperate requests and urgent calls for help to access the most basic healthcare facilities – hospital beds, medicines, oxygen cylinders, life itself. The despondency in those pleas is surmounted further by updates on national COVID-19 numbers worsening with each turn of the clock.

It’s exhausting to scroll through social media, every consecutive post a grim reminder of a warzone-like world on the verge of a breakdown. But despite the burnout, I am finding doomscrolling to be a necessary practice in a lesson of my own socio-economic privilege and the protection I can currently afford within a safe zone bubble.

Then, when videos like Bedi’s come interjecting the reality of so many millions of others scrambling for existence, the brain truly doesn’t know whether to feel sad or be outraged. Great if someone is managing to find “joys” right now; everyone needs some to go on living through distress. But how blind to your own economic immunity does one have to be to suggest everyone can draw inspiration from your luxury?

Can cliched, empty motivational speech remedy the extreme misery of people who have lost their family to the virus? How reckless is it to recommend not spending life “caged or masked” right now when those are the primary two things healthcare professionals everywhere are literally begging people to do?

But the value healthcare warriors hold to Bedi is amply visible in what she wrote to a user who pointed out the same to her:

Just where does one draw the line when it comes to benign display of privilege on the internet and doling out messages that are insensitive and dangerous to say the least?

How dangerous is the narrative she is dishing out? Must celebrities be allowed to flaunt such entitlement that creates mistrust in the medical community when that is the pillar holding us all up right now?

When sheBedi went on to say to another user, “Beaches are available and accessible to every individual irrespective of what u consider privilege… We have a large coastline in India. It’s only your state of mind (fearful or positive) that makes u avail the “privilege “,” it sounded exactly like this

To me, Bedi’s video and words – and social media posts of all other tinsel town celebrities holidaying in the Maldives or having grand yet apparently “intimate” get-togethers – is as good (rather bad) as visuals of mass gatherings in festive states like Uttarakhand or election frenzied states like West Bengal. The stark absence of crowds surrounding her is made up for by the lakhs she addressed online with a single video.

And all this is a reckoning of just how little worth our lives hold in their eyes. We would do well to remember this the next time elections or box office numbers are brought up.

Views expressed are the author’s own.