As we prepare to put a lid on what has been one of the most exhausting years of our lives, taking a look back at the turmoil we have managed to survive is inevitable. Naturally, the coronavirus pandemic jumps out as the most glaring feature of 2020. A phenomenon that rippled every thread on the web of human life across the world, ravaging what used to be “normal.” Under deep anguish and alarm, we were compelled to confront loss, emotion, and reality on a scale we had never done before. But through all this, one thing seems to have remained constant. Call it touching or entirely bizarre, 2020 wasn’t able to divest us of our obsession with celebrities’ love lives. And therefore, India is wrapping up the year on a high note of frenzy around the rumoured engagement of Bollywood couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.
In what gave fans (even non-fans) enough fodder to munch on, Ranbir Kapoor in a recent interview referred to film colleague Alia Bhatt as his “girlfriend,” reportedly the first time the actor publicly acknowledged their relationship. Further stoking the fires to keep the gossip-hungry audience warm through these brutal winters, Kapoor hinted at the couple’s marriage, saying the “deal” would have been sealed, had the pandemic not thrown a wrench in his plans. Read our full report here.
As news of the couple visiting Rajasthan with Kapoor’s family to bring in the new year does the rounds, all the internet can speculate about is the fabled Ranbir-Alia engagement. A rumour, which has well been quashed by Kapoor’s uncle and veteran actor Randhir Kapoor. But as Indians, of course, it is our birthright to probe the bejeezus out of an individual with shaadi talk, isn’t it?
Vaccine Or Gossip: What’s Our Priority?
One would think that the twin news of COVID-19 cases dipping in India and the possible green-lighting of a vaccine for the country would be the primary motivation behind the jubilation hanging in the air. But no. A lot of the general public, which has generally lived life thrust forward by the infamous Indian dekha jaayega attitude, can only be sustained on science news for so long.
Vaccine hit later. Give us a hit of the most potent celebrity gossip in the market and we’re set.
How The Audience Made A Turnaround On Bollywood
Rumours of the Ranbir-Alia engagement in fact points to a rather interesting trend of events pertaining to Bollywood in 2020. Amid the thousands of pandemic-induced deaths, employment, and despair that tore India apart, the year was also marred by a spate of celebrity deaths that shook the nation.
While the void left behind by actors Irrfan and Rishi Kapoor was universally mourned – bringing us together in collective grief – the unfortunate death of young actor Sushant Singh Rajput came as a blow to the national conscience. It unfairly divided the cinema-loving audience into ‘for’ and ‘against’ groups for him and his alleged suicide, clouding the film industry with aggressive accusations and hateful muck.
It even prompted large sections of people to swear off Bollywood productions, over nepotism chatter, until such time that Rajput received due ‘justice.’ So resolute were people on this promise then that Sadak 2, Bhatt’s big film and one that marked her father Mahesh Bhatt’s return to direction after 20 years, was severely downvoted owing to vote brigading. It’s a fascinating turnaround then, ironical almost, that 2020 should end on the internet’s preoccupation with none other than Bhatt’s engagement.
Should You Feel Guilty About Obsessing Over Celebrity Gossip?
Every denunciation of 2020 appears mild in comparison to the far-ranging extent to which it altered our lives. Jobs were snatched leaving people unsupported, people grappled with the devastating loss of their loved ones, while the air of uncertainty surrounding the virus itself wreaked havoc on citizens’ sanity. The aftertaste of India’s migrant worker crisis was still fresh on our tongues when our country’s farmers rose up in agitation over the centre’s farm laws. In 2019, who would have imagined such upheaval was to strike?
In this atmosphere of turmoil, it seems grossly tone-deaf, morally shallow even, to obsess over a celebrity couple and their maybe-possibly upcoming marriage. But so has society existed in the past and will exist in the future – on multiple planes. Should something be done about it? Can anything even be done about it? That will always be open to human subjectivities. The only objectivity right now, perhaps, is a glimmering hope for the world to come through healthier in the new year.
Views expressed are the author’s own.