Before I get into this, let's first discuss the nature of media as it pertains to the entertainment industry.
Journalistic integrity isn't a thing that's usually applied to the reporting of the film business. With Blogs becoming more and more common place, and the internet reaching out to every corner of the world, any cinephile can indulge in sharing their thoughts and opinions about film and entertainment with the world. Which isn't a bad thing. It brings people together for the love of a common thing.
But one would think that this would put more pressure on the legitimate, and by that I mean the officially formal new outlets of film entertainment journalism that work as a business entity; an organization held together by strict codes and rules, and not passionate fans fulfilling a hobby accountable to no one. But instead, it's gone the complete opposite way in India with even legitimate Bollywood Media devolving into paparazzi fuelled gossip buckets that I feel today, has severely crossed a line.
Legitimate sources of news have become nothing but gossip rags. When Filmfare, and to a lesser extent, Bollywood Hungama, are touted as being media affiliates to the industry, but run headlines that one expects from click-bait content fodder used to sell advertising space.
I'm writing this, not as a representative of a Bollywood news outlet itself, but as a fan and member of society who feels that there should be lines and boundaries that need to be upheld by journalistic standards, not from an industry perspective, but a human perspective.
Vinod Khanna, Bollywood actor and legend, passed away on April 27th, 2017. It was an event that has touched many people across the world. From his known friends and Bollywood insiders, to fans who grew up watching his films. Some of the most classic films of the industry feature Vinod Khanna, and for some of us, he was one of the faces of early Bollywood.
While reading touching tributes, articles of other celebrities sharing their experiences and grief through social media and other outlets, one article a few minutes ago deeply disturbed and enraged me. An article I won't share, but one that showed photos of the deceased at his funeral. Completely with watermark and photographer credit.
It's bad enough, that Bollywood media, (and definitely to an extent the celebrities themselves) consider every public moment of a celebrity's life from premieres, to traveling, to mundane everyday activities like moving apartments, as opportunities for impromptu photo shoots that are then picked up by multiple outlets as fluff pieces that serve to feed the gossip culture.
It's worse that Bollywood media has devolved into being so perverse, as to commit professional media resources to creating articles featuring underage children of celebrities for the sole purpose of objectifying them, again, for the end result of profit.
But to resort to making that editorial decision of displaying properly edited and credited photographs of a deceased person, on their funeral, as part of an article that is meant for readers to ogle at the amount of other celebrities that attended the event, like a shameful public promotional occasion, is disgusting!
For any media outlet to violate, quite literally, the ultimate moment of privacy in a life that's passed, and that of their loved ones, is infuriating. For an editorial decision such as this to be made is pathetic. For anyone in their right mind to think of publishing visual records of a deeply personal event, for the sake of achieving exclusivity and gaining profits or to 'go viral', is being an embarrassment to the journalism community.
I realize that I am being overly emotional and that my words may not have much resonance and may even be dismissed as being sentimental. But eventually, I will calm down. Afterwards, I will still feel the same way. But the unfortunate truth of the situation here is that there will be no justified outrage about this in any form or another in the industry or the journalistic circles that revolve around Bollywood.
In an industry where plagiarism, nationalism, terrorism, body image, racism and other devastating realities are nothing but opportunities for stars to gain more followers and media outlets to get more traffic... apparently even death isn't too abstract of a concept to be spared in the pursuit of profit.