Celebrities have a responsibility to uphold their public image in private spaces

Practice what you preach. Priyanka Chopra forgot the validity of this adage when at her wedding in December last year in Jodhpur she was seen enjoying a fireworks display.


Suddenly her reputation went up in the sky – at least for a while. Here was an actress who has privately spoken up about noise and smoke pollution caused by fireworks, and there she was enjoying the poison that she had condemned publicly.

A co-star-pal of Ms. Chopra commented, “It was her wedding. She was just having fun, some unthinking fun. I agree she should have been more careful with what she was doing. But it’s okay. No harm done.”

Actress-producer Pooja Bhatt spoke about the need for celebrities with a voice to make sure their private conduct doesn’t contradict their public image.

“I can only speak for myself… I have always been the same person in my personal and public space. The world today, and especially most of the youngsters, are two different animals in their personal and public space. There is no room for truth in most of the lives they share with people… ironic since this is a time of social media where apparently you let people see you for what you are and intimately… yet there is zero intimacy.. just carefully manufactured illusions of reality.”

Shabana Azmi, who has constantly voiced her strong opinion on social issues, admits it is imperative that the powerful voices in our society desist from dithering.

“My father Kaifi Azmi was a rare poet who practised what he preached whether it was on women’s empowerment, communal harmony or social justice. But it’s a tough place to bein because celebrities are judged more harshly than others and people are quick to nitpick. I am very informal with close friends and can be quite a maverick but social media is so all-pervasive that what’s fine in an intimate circle becomes public almost immediately. I think one must be mindful but it can’t be stretched to impossible limits.”

Industry spokesperson Ashoke Pandit sees an urgent need for celebrities to practice what they preach.

“The celebrity should be educated enough to comment on that particular subject. Once the comment is out in the public domain, the celebrity must abide by it. He has a responsibility towards the society as people follow them. Moreover they should follow what they preach. One should be very careful when one has to comment on sensitive issues.”

Actress-environmentalist Dia Mirza feels an imperative need for actors to maintain an equipoise in their overall conduct.

“I personally believe that if one consciously believes in a value system and has outwardly expressed this, then one would also need to consider the importance of reflecting those very values in their personal choices to the best of their ability.This should hold true for all of us. Whether or not we are in position of power.”

In short, practice what you preach.

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