Mixed Media: Will someone ask Amitabh Bachchan to keep a check on what he blogs

Amitabh Bachchan spews venom at India Today Executive Editor Kaveree Bamzai on his blog and rues that his criticism would lead her magazine and channel Headlines Today to turn against him. Guess someone needs to advise the megastar to be restrained in his posts, writes Pradyuman Maheshwari. A free-to-access blog is open for public view, and he is legally liable for all that he writes.

e4m by Pradyuman Maheshwari
Updated: Feb 16, 2010 7:22 AM
Mixed Media: Will someone ask Amitabh Bachchan to keep a check on what he blogs

Save the few awful films that he has done, no one has ever written anything against Big B. Perhaps it’s because of his seniority. Perhaps because of the fantastic body of work that he’s done. Perhaps because he’s all-powerful. Perhaps because it’s many a journalist’s dream to interview the man.

Well, read what the megastar blogs at bigb.bigadda.com:

“Some are honored, some ecstatic, some have older folks at home that talk of old times and require autographs, some complain of insufficient time, some on the malfunction of their recording machine but all end up very softly for that ID byte for their station or channel … that is the moment of greatest excitement for them and the broadest smiles. And I always oblige. Never refuse a journalist, so says another journalist, always respond even it is to say no. How immensely prosaic the unity and trust among the fraternity of the fourth estate. Scratch a journalist in Manali and the one in Timbucktoo shall wallop you. Envious, this trait. But what deep study in professional trust and demeanor. Impregnable, and impossible to destroy. Strong and faithful to the code and conduct. Glorious”

I haven’t changed a bit of what is written, except the typeface to suit this site’s style.

As it happens, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was going to deliver the keynote address at the India Today Woman event and she fell very ill a day before. She asked Mr B to speak to India Today Executive Editor Kaveree Bamzai. Obviously, Bamzai must’ve been shaken. Events are fun, but a pain to organise. Since it increases the engagement with the community, editors are increasingly involved in organising them, especially to invite guests.

This was the interaction between Ms Bamzai and Mr Bachchan, as per the blog.

“Oh! God, Mr Bachchan what is going to happen to my show tomorrow. I will be finished. Sorry Maam, she is in bad shape I am with the doctors, and I need to be with them, just thought it right to let you know well in advance that there is a situation. Thank you. Moments later an sms - Could she not make it for just some time, please. No ! I am sorry she is bed ridden. After a while, another sms - Can you not come instead of her, to save face. No, Maam I have other function commitments, it will not be possible. A few minutes later - Can you not get either Mrs Bachchan or Abhishek to come and attend.”

Agreed, Bamzai was persistent, but nothing wrong with it. Bachchan is upset that she didn’t bother to enquire about Aishwarya’s health even once. “Kaveree, I find it extremely insensitive on your part that you pursue putting up requests for participation in your programme knowing that there is a medical emergency in the house. I am sorry I expected better from you!!”

And then he says: “Not a word from the concerned lady on what the condition of Aishwarya is, or what ails her or how she is doing, nothing! It’s all about what is going to happen to her and her program, her problem, her panic situation, her face, her event. And Aishwarya be damned.”

Bachchan was livid, as he mentions in another post. “To those that showed allegiance to my words of anger at the concerned lady, I am grateful that you understand the condition of the head of a family when a medical emergency takes place. Those are anxious moments.” But, then he takes off on Bamzai and her magazine (and news channel Headlines Today) very unfairly.

Check this:

“Guaranteed now, that there shall be negative stories in her magazine in her reviews, in her channel Headlines Today, to show her anger at the insolence of this old man of 68 who dares to express himself in this, his blog, in writing on this topic and her name. So.. sensitive to your own name fine; insensitive to the others name and condition.. their prerogative !!

Our right and our name, our will and our desire, our preferences and modes of conduct, our actions and our acts, our deliberations, our needs, our sentiments, our likes and dislikes …

Not ours !!

They belong to others. We have no right. And don’t you dare ask for it. Just shut up Mr B and enjoy the profiling that we give you through our services. Be content that even that is forth coming. Follow our code or perish. We made you, we will destroy you.

There is no voice. There is no stand. Our voice must be the voice dictated to us, our stand an infirm crutch, ready to be snatched away at the whim and fancy of the enlightened. We shall be singular. We shall be alone. We shall suffer and learn to smile through it. Abuse and indignation shall be warmly welcomed through folded hands and if possible, feet. Express to yourself in the silence of your own private solitude. Dare you speak out your mind !! Dare !!”

Uff. What the hell does Bachchan mean? Does he mean that India Today will put out a negative review of his movies because of him venting against its editor in his blog? And will Headlines Today (or Aaj Tak) damn the man for taking on Bamzai?

In a post on February 12, Bachchan writes: “The Internet is a faceless wonder. It forms a remarkable shield for those that wish to voice and not be known. Fair enough. It is easy to stand behind protective walls and throw all the garbage you possibly can on the other side - you would never have to clean up the mess and more, no one would ever come to know who threw it. But come on the other side of the wall and live our lives.”

But, Bachchan is precisely doing what he thinks he is being subjected to. Throwing garbage at Bamzai because there’s little that she can do to defend herself.

Bigb.bigadda.com may be Amitabh Bachchan’s personal space. But he needs to know that since it’s meant for public viewing, his remarks are as liable for public (and legal) scrutiny as any print and electronic media publication would be. The least he can do now is to apologise for having written what he did.

Bachchan is fortunate that the media is largely divided on issues like these and will not take on him. For, that’s what he deserves.

By the way, in a response to an outburst on the comments board, the actor writes: “i do and i conduct myself in fairness… and i still think that the journo was insensitive… and for your information, we did send Abhishek to the function to ease the anxiety of the journo… and let me tell you he got a standing ovation for his presence”

Ah, well, so he did send his son. He did understand that India Today and Bamzai were going to be in a spot. Anxiety is the word he has used. But then why did he have to spew venom at Bamzai, cast aspersions on the credibility of the India Today Group? Will someone please advise Bachchan to keep a check on what he’s writing (and who he’s trashing). It may be a blog, but that doesn’t give him the licence to kill.

Ask me. I have learnt it the hard way.

(The views expressed here are my own. Post your comments below or email me at mixedmedia@exchange4media.com or via Twitter at @pmahesh.)

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