Header Ad
HomeEntertainmentWhy do Indian youth idolize film actors and cricketers?

Why do Indian youth idolize film actors and cricketers?

- Advertisement -

Let me pose a hypothetical question to you. Suppose your father or mother suddenly gets severe chest pain radiating to the left arm, the tell-tale symptoms of a heart attack. You hire a taxi immediately and rush to the hospital to see an interventional cardiologist. He diagnoses it as a blockage in several arteries and proceeds to perform bypass surgery. Your parent’s life is saved!

Whom would you value more- Cardiologist or Taxi Driver?

Now swear by everything you hold sacred in life and answer me honestly. Who would you respect and value more and be more grateful to—the cardiologist who performed that complicated bypass surgery or the taxi driver who took him to the hospital? If your answer is the taxi driver, you are entitled to your view but, for God’s sake, do not lecture me on the dignity of labour, etc. I know all that. In a democratic country like ours, we do know that every citizen, irrespective of his/her standing or job in life, is entitled to exactly the same legal rights. I am, however, talking of the respect from the bottom of your heart that you would accord to a person in society.

If your answer is the cardiologist, let me help you analyse it further. You would respect the cardiologist more because he is intellectually more capable and skilled. As simple as that! He has driven himself hard for a long number of years to develop intellectually so that he could pass the difficult examinations and successfully undergo the rigorous training that enable him to perform complicated surgeries. In other words, he carries a great deal of high-level stuff in his head. In comparison, the taxi driver, even as you cannot look down upon him as a human being, has not developed himself intellectually as much. This means that we do accord more respect and attach more value to those who use their heads more than they use their bodies or appearance! You cannot run away from this harsh reality of life.  

Would You Like Your Daughter to Become Scientist or Bar Dancer?

Let me put another brutal question to you. If you are a man, chances are that you indeed enjoy watching ‘item numbers’ in films, featuring bar dancers, cabaret dancers or striptease dancers. That is how those films make their billions! However, be honest and tell me, would you like your daughter, sister or wife to become a bar dancer, cabaret dancer, striptease dancer or adult film actress (popularly known as porn actress)? In most places of the world, they are perfectly legitimate jobs. For your kind information, as per the law in India, even prostitution is not an offence—only soliciting in public is an offence! My question is would you like them to pursue one of those as career options?

- Advertisement -

Chances are you would not like your daughter, sister or wife to do that because you do not want them to earn their living by using nothing but their ‘bare body’ for the titillation or pleasure of perverted males. Once again, the difference between becoming scientists, teachers, doctors, lawyers etc. instead of bar dancers etc. is that the former professions focus on the brain instead of the body.

Why This Obsession with Film Actors and Cricketers?

Why do Indian youth idolize film actors and cricketers?

With this background knowledge, I want you to ponder over the unnatural and undesirable obsession of the Indian youth with film actors and cricketers (I am using these two metaphorically, as I include in them all those professions in which the demands and emphasis over the body are more than those on the brain.) The craze needs no description—everybody in India knows it. The question is, is it good for the country or, for that matter, even the youth themselves?

After all, what do the actors do? They play-act! In other words, on screen, they pretend to behave like some characters in real or imaginary life and indulge in histrionics, stunts or dance around half-naked for the voyeuristic pleasure of the viewers. Even if you argue acting to be an art, it is art for entertainment. I do not wish to mention any names here, but the undeniable fact is that actors, who lacked ‘oomph’ or sex appeal; did not perform stupid stunts; glorified cops who care two hoots for the law; or who pretended to be ‘angry with everything in the society’ and thereby identify with the frustrations of the people, could never become the craze amongst the youth, whatever their acting skills might have been.

Players and sportspersons of all kinds are also basically entertainers who use only brawn and not brains. These days, with the kind of money they make, they are reluctant to admit it. However, not long ago, the famous British cricketer Tony Greig was honest enough to admit so clearly in his book ‘Cricket: The Men and the Game’. After all, what do the cricketers do? They take a wooden plank (‘phatta’ in colloquial Hindi) and beat a leather ball (‘chamde kee gend’ in Hindi) all over the ground, while others chase the ball. That’s all! Where does the brain come into the picture?

- Advertisement -

Why is there so much craze about it? And please note that I am not the first to make this observation. George Bernard Shaw, an Englishman himself, had ridiculed cricket (that is, their national game) as ‘eleven fools playing and eleven hundred fools watching’. Now, with satellite TV, the eleven hundred have exploded to nearly half a billion (49.6 crore) viewers and 400 billion minutes of viewing time consumed for IPL 2023! Such a terrible waste!

Are these the purposes for which God created man/woman on earth—to dance half-naked or to chase a ball? Entertainers serve only a limited purpose in society; they must be kept in their place.

Let us look at it from another angle. Do you find this sort of craze for film stars or sportspersons in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Europe or wherever, in spite of the fact that the earnings of Hollywood stars might be hundreds of times more than that of Indian actors? I have eyewitness accounts from West Indies where cricket is a craze—players like Viv Richards and Andy Roberts walk into pubs and do not attract anything more than ‘hi’! They like cricket for sheer enjoyment; they do not make demigods out of cricketers. Is there any other country in the world where ‘fans’ in hundreds wait outside the house of film actors in Mumbai for hours so that they may get just a ‘jhalak’ of the actor in real life? Is there any other country in the world where you have temples dedicated to film actors? Then, why do we have to have such things in this country? Why is the Indian youth so dumb as to ‘worship’ an entertainer? Don’t they have any self-respect; don’t they have better things in life to do?

What the Society Needs More, Entertainment or Intellect?

- Advertisement -

Cricket and Bollywood have become the most popular cultural icons in India, and millions upon millions of Indian youth have started looking up to them as role models—something they should not be doing. After all, these guys and gals do not play any role in nation-building. They are just entertainers.

I agree that every kid is free to pursue whatever pleases him/her or whatever career suits best his/her natural talents, intellectual or physical capacity, etc. That is not being questioned. What is being questioned is where is their craze leading the society?  

I am concerned about the misplaced priorities of our youth. This is the most important reason that our nation has not produced great scientists, inventors and even litterateurs in numbers commensurate with our population.

A society is known by and becomes what it idolizes. It is so very unfortunate that in this country, the youth do not idolize ISRO, DRDO, BARC scientists, those who make our missiles and nukes that defend our nation from hostile, predatory neighbours; those soldiers who brave biting cold in Siachen and the blistering heat of Rajasthan border to protect the nation from intruders; those who slog through the jungles of Central India fighting naxals and other subversives; those cops who patrol the city streets when you sleep comfortably to keep you safe from criminals; or those philanthropists and selfless social workers who have given up lucrative jobs to serve the poor. Most Indian kids do not know even the names of the service chiefs, the chief of the ‘Chandrayan Mission’, the ISRO/DRDO chief, or the director of the BARC. In contrast, American kids do know the names of the service chiefs and the NASA chief et al.

I could pardon the youth for their ignorance for a moment; however, has any college or university ever invited one of these people as a guest speaker? The rot starts from there as well as from their parents.

Also Read: 10 biggest golf courses in the world

On one hand, frustrated youth do not tire of complaining about unemployment. On the other hand, in 2023, we are facing a shortage of 8,129 officers and some 1.36 lakh personnel in the Indian army—a total of 1.55 lakh in all three services. How do you reconcile the two facts except by the distorted priorities of the Indian youth?

Obsession with the entertainment industry or looking up to it as a career option is fraught with its own risks. Dreaming of making big money or becoming a heartthrob is alright but this is exactly where the parents and the educational institutions must intervene to help them understand the complexities of real life better. There was an engineering student who had left his engineering course midway to compete in Indian Idol. Eventually, he could not win. Where is he now? In effect, he lost ‘both his worlds’ because he was not properly counselled.

I do regret that Indian youth have become crazy for the shallowest of the people on the planet. I am cautioning, this tendency of a society where valuing intellect for its place in life has been relegated to a tertiary position, will eventually make us shallow as a nation.

- Advertisement -
Dr N C Asthana IPS (Retd)
Dr N C Asthana IPS (Retd)
Dr. N. C. Asthana, IPS (Retd) is a former DGP of Kerala and ADG BSF/CRPF. Of the 51 books that he has authored, 20 are on terrorism, counter-terrorism, defense, strategic studies, military science, and internal security, etc. They have been reviewed at very high levels in the world and are regularly cited for authority in the research works at some of the most prestigious professional institutions of the world such as the US Army Command & General Staff College and Frunze Military Academy, Russia. The views expressed are his own.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular