Opinion| Aryan Khan and the price of stardom

WION Web Team
New DelhiWritten By: Shomini SenUpdated: Oct 07, 2021, 12:52 PM IST


Story highlights

Aryan Khan's arrest in the recent drug seizure case has once again reiterated the dangerous side of fame.

Aryan Khan's arrest in the recent drug seizure case has once again reiterated the dangerous side of fame. There's no denying the fact that in India if you are a celebrity, your life is not your own. With the advent of social media, fans have got close access to stars and their lives like never before. How they live, what they eat, their partners, their kids- fans have access to everyone and everything. But stardom comes with a hefty price where the public is quick to put you on a pedestal and equally quick to throw stones at you the moment they notice a slip. 

In a plot that seemed straight out of the movies, Bollywood superstar's son Aryan Khan and his friend Arbaz Merchant were arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau on October 2 when the two twenty-something boys were on their way to a private party on a luxury cruise off the Mumbai coast. The party was a ticketed one- with tickets costing up to Rs 2 lakhs. The guest list reportedly consisted of mostly young adults. Considering the entry ticket was exorbitantly priced, it's safe to say that most who attended the party were from affluent backgrounds. 

Raids by the NCB at high profile parties are not unheard of. In the past several such parties have been busted by the cops- and names of several cricketers and TV stars came to light during such rounds up. What makes this case peculiar is that despite the NCB detaining 11 people (as per records), only three names have been widely discussed in public -with Aryan's name being flashed all across news channels. All of a sudden a regular NCB raid has turned into an Aryan Khan drug case and channels are feasting on it, sensationalising a case - giving the audience a minute by minute update on the 'high-profile' case. 

Who is Aryan Khan? What is his identity apart from the fact that he is the son of Bollywood biggest star Shah Rukh Khan? If, for a moment, we separate the young man from his father- isn't he just a regular 23-year old whose name perhaps should be kept a secret while the court proceedings are on? 

The obsession over the case reflects badly on us. The voyeurism is apparent here. A quick check on Aryan's posts on Instagram will show how people are deriving joy in calling him names, pulling his famous father into it and questioning his upbringing. Social media is rampant with negative comments on the young man- deciphering his body language, his expressions from old videos, labelling him as a cokehead. 

How unhappy are we as individuals that we derive joy out of someone else's misery? How deep-seated is the sadness that we get an adrenaline rush in pulling down a public personality like this?
In the last few years, the paparazzi culture in India has led to obsession around stars and their kids. Taimur Ali Khan is as much the nation's sweetheart as is his mother Kareena Kapoor Khan. Sridevi's two daughters- Janhvi and Khushi were already stars before they officially made their foray into films- in fact, Khushi is yet to make her debut in Bollywood. We know Shahid Kapoor has two adorable kids and Aaradhya Bachchan is the apple of her khandaan. And while we adore and coo at these kids, we also subconsciously feel we own a part of them. So when Taimur snaps at a photographer- we are quick to call him a brat, not understanding how daunting it can be for a child to be followed by lenses all the time. 

It is by the same means that we have all got access to SRK's very private family all these years. Paparazzi hounding his daughter Suhana a few years back as she stepped out with friends is an image that remains well etched in public memory. Until his arrest, Aryan was hailed as the next big thing in Bollywood, the hottest newcomer even though no official announcement around his debut was made. While the court is yet to declare its judgement on him, the public has already declared him a culprit, pulling his parents into a crime that he may or may not have committed. 

Of course, the media has been playing an active role in vilifying Aryan Khan and the case- presenting facts in such a way that it forms a certain kind of opinion. But, media only feeds the viewers what they want to see. After all, they are in the business of news and in a crowded space, everyone is fighting for the best TRPs. 

How to treat this case then? A case involving Shah Rukh Khan's son will obviously draw attention but for a moment, let us take a step back and assess ourselves and our judgements on the young lad. Let the law takes its course and lets us all reserve our judgement till then. 

(Disclaimer: The views of the writer do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Nor does WION or ZMCL endorse the views of the writer.)