Samstag, 13. September 2014

My Two Cents On GQ-Gate

Imagine Shanatics' joy and excitement when we got to see for the first time GQ India's cover featuring Shahid Kapoor.

Everyone was very much looking forward to that issue's release - I checked my ipad every hour from 31st August on to see if it was out. And our expectations were exceeded by a superb photoshoot, backed up by a brilliant Haider themed video.

Alas, reading the cover story by Dave Besseling, Shanatics were in for a rude shock.

Many Shanatics perceived the article to paint Shahid in a very negative light and made their displeasure known to the writer on twitter in no uncertain terms. Besseling had fun feeding the trolls (as he admits here) and got into an all out flame-war with Shanatics, making fun of their spelling and grammar (having lived in India for a while now, as I take it, he could know that for many Indians English is not the first, but rather the second or third language [as pointed out to me by @DiliwalaFoodie]. However, if you abuse someone using faulty language, you can't be surprised you don't get taken seriously.)

Where does all this fury on Shanatics' part come from?  I did manage to have a reasonable discussion with Besseling (which he obviously didn't deem worthy mentioning in  the piece he later wrote for Slate) and while I do have some points of criticism, on others I do see his point.

Besseling's attempts to be witty backfired, admittedly because many people didn't read the story carefully. I confess I had to read it twice to realize the piece actually compliments Shahid in serveral ways, rather than trashing him.

"What I really want out of this meeting is to decode the online bollocks dipped in bullshit that have fused into a public persona akin to this: Shahid Kapoor is the most arrogant, difficult, time-wasting, womanizing, talented egomaniac in Bollywood."
 (quotes in bold are from the cover story)

Many people overlooked the first part of that sentence and thought Besseling was calling Shahid arrogant etc. (Besseling boasts of not having written the Bollywod-typical sugar-coated feature, but I doubt he'd ever call a well-established Bollywood actor these things in an article, even if he thought them to be true.) If you read the first part, however, you'll see he wants to find out if all these rumours are true (and no big spoiler when I say he came to the conclusion most of them aren't.)

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” says Shahid, a few steps ahead of his scuttling entourage, hand out for a shake. In my woozy state, he’s a Top Gun-era Tom Cruise, but with a better tan. “I was with a director I’ve been meaning to meet for ages.”
(Is that the “time-wasting, keeping people waiting forever” for which he’s been so scorned?)

The answer to this rethorical question is clearly, no, Shahid isn't arrogant, even though he's not always on time.

The second thing that had Shanatics up in arms was the mention of Shahid's smoking. Since a picture says more than a thousand words, here ya go:
Hi Blitz June 2012

I remember the shocked outcry  about the possibility that Shahid could be smoking  that happened a few years ago. All I can say is, we already knew that he does, and if you choose to forget facts about your beloved celeb that don't please you, you're gonna get shocked on a regular basis. I'm not advocating smoking here, it's unhealthy and we all know that, but it's not a crime, there are worse things a person could do. So if you're one of those enraged by this, please get over it. (If Shahid wanted to hide the fact he's smoking, do you think he would do such a photo shoot or smoke in front of a journalist?)

I thought about where these delusional image some people have of Shahid comes from, and I think it's probably that many fans don't distinguish between Prem, the perfect son-in-law, the character Shahid played in Vivah, and the real person (which is a pity, because the actor is so much more interesting than goody-two-shoes Prem).

"(All that “womanizing”…) This cat’s packing mojo fierce enough to have pulled babes like Piggy Chops and Kareena Kapoor."

Girls, men see the above as compliment. It's not meant as an insult, it's relicts from the cave-men era, locker-room back-patting put in writing. Again, if you aren't aware Shahid is no monk, you're very selective in the interviews you watch and read. So please get over it. I do have an issue that Priyanka and Kareena have to be mentioned all the time by journos, because who cares! It's ancient history.

Another thing that fuelled the attacks on Besseling is that Shanatics generally feel, and imo rightly so, that Shahid is under-appreciated by the media, who don't feel the need to suck up to him because he's not from a big filmy family, and the industry alike (as Vishal Sir said, he's the best actor of the younger generation, and th
 I agree, forget about another Kapoor who usually gets all the accolades.) So we're feeling protective of him and a certain amount of lashing out can be explained, if not excused, by this.

A big issue that I had with the article was that R...Rajkumar was put into the flop category, which it wasn't.

Mahezabeen has a very good point when she says any journalist set to interview Shahid could at least be expected to research enough about him to know what the term Shanatics means.

The result of what I call GQ-Gate is that Shanatics are now known as lunatics with poor grammar and spelling. The story even made it on  Slate, which kinda breaks my heart, because I'm a Slate fan.
The moral of the story is that everyone should mind the manners their mothers hopefully taught them and realize that disagreeing with someone doesn't make that person your mortal enemy. Also, if you want to call a person names and rant about them, download a chat-app which allows you to do so privately with a selected group of trusted friends. Been there, done that :) Public name calling never accomplishes anything good.