A few days ago, an earth-shattering incident happened in India. Two babies were taken for a walk by their nanny and mother respectively at different parts of Mumbai. And then? Well, nothing! Presumably they came back from their walk, had a bath or were fed and put to bed. Just like regular kids in a regular home. Of course, you have every right to go ‘WTF…” but when your name is Misha Kapoor or Taimur Ali Khan, there is nothing regular about being taken for a walk. You have paps waiting to catch your every move, every toothless smile and every tear dropping from your rosy chubby cheeks. After the lensmen have done their job, the writers take over. And come up with headlines like these…
For a while now, Taimur and Misha have become a national obsession. Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s little munchkin Taimur, in particular, appears to have an edge over Misha. Remember, this was the same tot whose name had created a furore the day he was born! Right wingers on social media went berserk because the baby was named after Timur, a 13th century Muslim invader and a not-so-liked historical figure (he was not, but when have facts come in the way of hatred?). Needless to say, for a baby that managed to make headlines on this first day on this planet, his first year has been nothing short of remarkable. From being trolled for his name to sending the media and their followers into frenzied excitement every time he steps out, baby Taimur has covered quite a large ground.
His closest competition is Misha, daughter of Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput. Misha can’t even go to the garden without being snapped. Entertainment writers have run out of adjectives describing her cuteness and at this point of time, she actually seems to be more popular than her parents. Together, as a family, their brand value has reached stratospheric proportions. Well, considering most of our celebs are patently boring, mouthing banal niceties and PR-advised diplomatic answers to most questions, it isn’t surprising that these untrained, innocent babies make for far more interesting copies and website hits. Besides, who doesn’t like to see images of cute children as you scroll through your newsfeed? The curiosity factor is also there because of the history between their parents. Shahid and Kareena used to date eons ago, and while the actors have long moved on with their lives, the media clearly hasn’t. The interest in Misha and Taimur’s day-to day-activities may perhaps be understandable given the insatiable need for pictures and stories that get website hits, but for how long can you stretch the ‘Taimur with his nanny, Misha goes to the airport’ non-story?
Evidently, you can. Especially when writers can churn out jaw-dropping ‘story angles’. Recently, this ludicrous headline popped up on our timelines.
Reading the above, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a gossip item about two top young stars fans want to see linked up. Who would imagine that Roohi, Yash, Taimur and Misha are babies who have just about learnt to speak? In yet another report, the ‘baby sex appeal’ of the toddlers was discussed! (Yes, you can continue rolling your eyes.)
Another Hindi news channel went one step ahead with this ‘breaking news’.
Thankfully, social media – the ever reliant medium to call out b******t, preyed upon them.
One of the headlines was then changed.
However, each of the above headlines speaks volumes of the depths of how journalism and entertainment journalism in particular has plumbed. Silly controversies and made up stories were always a part and parcel of the game but it takes a spectacular level of genius to create a scandal out of two babies attending a party of two other babies. In the West, the children of Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian have had similar attention but even so, you rarely come across reports speculating on their relationship statuses! Thus far, both sets of parents (Shahid-Mira and Saif-Kareena) have played it cool but one wonders how Taimur and Misha, when they are old enough to read, will react to the news that they inadvertently made when they were babies. How will these children ever have a normal childhood?
This unhealthy and downright foolish obsession with the kids (on the part of the media and fans) may irritate others and amuse some, but that’s how things will be as long as you, the reader, click on the headline or like that Instagram post. While it may be futile to expect the coverage to stop, can we at least ask for some intelligence please? So long as their parents don’t mind, it’s fine to photograph them as they go to playschool but can the media stop commenting on their (*gasp*) friendships? We can wait for the inevitable ‘link up’ stories till they turn 18. Until then, let their birthday parties and school runs be covered the way it should be, not as some sort of juicy gossip piece. As readers, you always have a choice not to read.
Meanwhile, welcome to the celebrity jungle Misha and Taimur! Your life in the spotlight has just about begun.