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Here’s Hoping We Pull The Reins On Our Obsession With Celebrity Babies In 2021

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The year going by, 2020 will doubtlessly be remembered as the dreaded year of the pandemic. But it will also perhaps go down in books as the year of celebrity pregnancies. For a country that thrives on star gossip and nose-poking into other people’s businesses, we were blessed with several such opportunities by Bollywood this year. Tinsel town’s leading ladies, notably among whom were Anushka Sharma and Kareena Kapoor Khan, announced pregnancies that generated widespread frenzy among the audience. As we turn the page on the year bygone, it is worth examining what such fanaticism surrounding celebrity babies and kids yields. Is it healthy? Is it harmful? Is it even, pardon my blasphemy, important?

When Sharma announced she was expecting a baby with cricketer-husband Virat Kohli, fans, non-fans, social media, and the press had a field day. Which, if you pay attention, hasn’t ceased since the day of the announcement in August. Shutterbugs and starry-eyed admirers of the celebrity couple are prowling Sharma’s social media profiles in search of the slightest, even unsuspecting, updates of her pregnancy. At least until the baby arrives in January 2021.

 

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And when it does, one can be sure the madness will transcend its current state manifold. Like it did during Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s child Taimur. What did that obsession bring, save for a few million photos of the young boy? How will a kid growing up amid media glare perceive the world? Should such invasion of a child’s private space even be allowed?

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The Taimur Turnaround

Wanting a glimpse of a newborn baby comes almost as an impulse to humans. Naturally, since most of us enjoy looking at all we admire as cute. And what’s cuter than a baby’s tiny fingers and toes? So the high-octane excitement around Sharma’s yet-to-be-born baby or Kapoor’s second child is understood. But simultaneously, certain concerns exist. Does the public know where to draw the line? When does appreciation of something transgress into voyeurism? Does fanfare credited to fully-grown adults warrant the same treatment of their children?

A simple, and perhaps the most relatable, example would be to look at young Taimur. Way prior to developing intellect or the ability to talk, the young child courted controversy at birth. For the simple matter around his name, which was unnecessary, accorded a communal colour by extremists in the country. Once that discussion ceased, paparazzi took on the trend to swarm the kid whenever he stepped out with his mother or nanny.

 

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It’s hard to miss that Taimur, once hailed as the media darling for being a light-eyed, silent, photogenic baby, has now grown increasingly wary of media persons surrounding him. While I’m not equipped to comment on what goes on in his young mind, his screams and shouts and kicks directed at the camera-wielding press calling his name are comprehensible. A phenomenon perhaps best termed as the Taimur turnaround?

Also Read: A Year Of Pandemic & Chaos Concludes On A High Note Of Obsession Over Celebs’ Love Lives

A Vaccine For Our Celebrity Baby Obsession?

And is it really the child’s fault if he has visibly developed aggression towards the press that has hounded him for as long as he can remember? How does the media glare play out in a kid’s psyche who isn’t old enough to make major decisions? What pressure does it create on them? In directing camera flashes at a celebrity kid, aren’t we, in essence shining a spotlight on him/her incessantly? Hasn’t that always been our issue with celebrity kids and nepotism: that a star kid receives undue coverage and headline space even if they don’t deserve it? Why then are we compelled to obsess over them? Haven’t we created this loop ourselves?

While Sharma is expecting her baby in January next year, Kapoor’s due date is reportedly sometime in March 2021. As soon as the calendar dates dropped, the audience instantly pitted both unborn babies against each other, speculating which of the two would check the boxes for the best baby. So mindless have we become in our celebrity gossip diets that we are dangerously teetering into the area of creepiness.

Several vaccines for the coronavirus have now been developed. Need we develop a vaccine for our celebrity baby obsessions side by side too? Here’s hoping that we pull the reins on our star kid fixations in 2021.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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