Power has an effect on people other than those in power as well. It makes them play games to please the person wielding the power. Admiration and worship becomes sycophancy and people start worshipping their very human idols. India has many fan clubs for cinema personalities. Reverence goes to such an extent that temples of the revered personalities are established.
As Samir Gill, recruitment professional and former actor says, “Idolizing someone is good, because we learn a lot from their lives, hardships, failure and success. Everybody has ups and downs in their lives. Nobody has success always. Till they prove themselves as hero. But I won’t appreciate fanaticism. You can learn from each person even a normal person. Each person is a superstar that way.”
No other country has huge fan clubs for cinema personalities. Samir insists, “In western countries they have fan clubs for singers and sports persons like football players and boxers. Mohammad Ali has a very huge fan following. Likewise in India we have the same for actors. Actually we have watched the independent India only. We do not give importance to India before that. At that time there was a fan following for politicians like Gandhiji and Nehruji. Considering someone as an icon is good. But while doing that you should not become a fanatic.”
Meanwhile, PR Amrita Karlekar opines, “I adore Amir Khan. He makes sure all the aspects of his movie are perfect. When I see an Amir Khan movie, I look at the background work that went into it. Being a PR person I try to do my best in making such films too for my kind of work. You see what is available but you have your own lives to lead and you have your own motives. Whatever good qualities there are you pick up and emulate. For e.g. Amir’s Satyameva Jayate show is an inspiration. They recently showed the reasons for divorce. Due to this show you realize that there are people who are initially goody goody and then torture you. Now I will not get influenced by anybody in my life.”
Rahul took sycophancy to another level. According to him, sycophancy and idol worship are 2 different things. He says, “I feel sycophancy is chamchagiri or flattery. Idol worship happens at a distance. But sycophancy in this sense is not healthy. More than the star you tarnish your own image. Secondly, without the stars knowing it does a lot of damage to them. Biggest example is late Rajesh Khanna. He has the biggest sycophant club. Sycophants fed the star’s ego. In the long run they harm the star. It has been around for a long time. There are 2 types of people. First type work hard and become like their idol. The second type wants to be around the idol. Sycophancy is often misunderstood as idol worship. There is positivity in idol worship. An icon can actually motivate an idol worshipper. Take the e.g. of Eklavya of Mahabharata. He surpassed even Arjuna in worshipping Dronacharya as Guru by giving his right thumb as Guru Dakshina.”
We need to make efforts to reduce the blind adulation of celebrities. Samir says, “When we try to find a superstar in each person, we can learn so many things from them. Just break the spell. Many common people have proven themselves in bad times.”
Amrita says, “You are your own personality. If your idol (I really don’t know) Amitabh Bachchan cannot paint, you may be able to do it. Everyone has their own talent which has to be developed. If you are focused, man, you have your own life. It is not about ego, but about your self-respect.”
Rahul is hopeful. He says, “Sycophancy clouds the judgement and the professional outcome. While working you should keep awe aside. Stars like the professionalism of an artiste junior to them. There is less sycophancy now because people are becoming more professional. All technicians today are young and are more confident and professional. Stars have realized that having sycophants around does not really pay. Being professional and doing hard work only pays.”