The media is free to record our lives: Amitabh Bachchan

The actor, who was voted the ‘Star of the Millennium’ talks about his relationship with the media and how it has gone from being bad to good at times in his 40-year old career.

The excitement to know what is happening in someone else’s life is almost an integral part of most human minds. The desire gets stronger when the life that we want to know about is that of a celebrity. And it gets ever stronger when the celebrity in question is Amitabh Bachchan. Dozens of media personnel follow every minute of this superstar’s life to bring to the reader more news on him – the ones that he has not already pasted on his blog.

However, in process of bringing to people what they would like to read or watch, the media has often been accused of trespassing into the lives of celebs way beyond approved limits. But that never seems to anger this star by a bit. “We have to accept it, as people want to know more about public figures. So the media is free to record and say anything that they want to. I as a public figure need to be cautious of what I do in public, and make sure that it is not against the public and society. My own conduct must be such that no one can point anything at it. If I behave wrong and the media writes about it then I deserve it,” he says coolly.

Of course there have been times when he and the news media have not been in the most cordial of terms. One of the earliest examples of this was when the media had banned him completely during the emergency. There were speculations that the restrictions on the media were made after the actor suggested the same to the Prime Minister and President. For some years thereafter there were no words exchanged, no greeting… not even credits were given where it was due. Things changed when Bachchan was admitted in hospital after a near fatal injury at the sets of Coolie.

There are recent examples too. The most recent being when the media rebuked the star and his family for not being a good host and letting them inside to cover the wedding of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. Big B, as he is lovingly referred to as, has his explanation. “Weddings are private matters. We have had two wedding in our house – my daughter’s and my son’s. And we wanted to keep it low key and personal. It is a very auspicious occasion in a family and a very tender moment for a girl who is getting married. It is also an equally poignant moment for the family who is receiving the girl into their family,” he says. “Many people think this is a moment of celebration and it of course is. But we feel it is not an easy task when a woman decides to leave her home and start living with another family, which she calls hers from then on. It is the most valued decision a woman takes in her entire life. No other decision is as sensitive and powerful as that. And I feel that this moment should be left to the family members to be alone. And that’s what we tried doing,” he explains.

He adds that despite such views they understood the media could not be kept away completely. “Knowing the fact that the people involved in this process were all public figures, there was bound to be interest among the public, which transcends into the media. So we made arrangements for the media outside both our homes as we made platforms for them and also kept sending them sweets and refreshments for 24 hours. But beyond that we didn’t want them as the privacy would have been left,” he says. “But there were disappointments. Certain sections of the media tried sensationalizing things even when the ceremony was on. I was even told by some senior media people that since we didn’t call them in there were options for them!” he recalls.

In fact the marriage is still remembered because of some unknown girl coming up, in true filmy fashion, to claim that Abhishek was her husband. But Bachchan indicates that it was nothing but an attempt to sabotage the marriage – an attempt made by someone who the star is unwilling to disclose. “If this was not on record I would have told you what the facts behind that were. Let me tell you it was all staged, deliberately!” he tells us. “And when someone goes to such extents to sensationalize things we are obviously not going to be comfortable,” he adds, appealing to the media to let him enjoy some personal moments with his family, while he shares everything else with his fans. That surely would be a tough task to abide by, but maybe Amitabh Bachchan hopes that his latest film Rann drives some thoughts into the media as well as the junta!

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