Saif Ali Khan, today, said something that he never had said before. After a long, long time we heard him asking photographers to back off from clicking Taimur Ali Khan. "Please don't stalk Taimur. He is not a star. He is just a child," Saif pleaded while admitting that one of his neighbours called the police because he was fed up of photographers standing on the housing society's front yard.
He also admitted, while speaking to a publication, that the only reason why he didn't speak out earlier was not that he didn't want to miff the mighty Bollywood press. He said that he didn't want to deprive anybody of his livelihood. "Yes, the cops cleared the paparazzi because someone complained. Not me. I can't say I feel kindly about their presence because 10 people lounging about outside your house waiting for a shot of your kid is disturbing, to say the least. I didn't complain because I don't want to deprive anyone of a job," he said.
This remark comes close on the heels of another outburst of Saif Ali Khan in front of the paparazzi because they were constantly flashing in front of Taimur's eyes while the family was on their way to catch a flight at the Mumbai International Airport recently. "Bas karo yaar, bachcha andha ho jaayega (Stop it, the child will go blind)," Saif told the camerapersons gathered at the airport as everyone, including the photographers, laughed.
If you thought that if Saif Ali Khan is the only one in the Khaan-daan who has realised how the media glare is irreparably damaging Taimur's childhood, then let me inform you that the entire Khandaan has requested with folded hands to the media to stop stalking Taimur. Here is the list of family members of Taimur's family (including his mother Kareena) who have appealed to the media to stop stalking him on public platforms.
The question that arises now is: Why are the photographers not listening to these appeals? Why are photographers constantly stalking and chasing little Taimur Ali Khan around? The answer is: The actual fault lies with the Entertainment Editors at different media houses who are sponsoring this through their employers.
They know that Taimur Ali Khan photos mean easy page-views because of the "Aww" factor. They know very well that if you put one photo of Taimur and then back it up with an 'aww-dorable' headline, it will rapidly gain page-views.
The Entertainment Editors know that Taimur related content is a short-cut to popular content. Just because they and their audience love seeing "cute pictures" of Taimur Ali Khan, some of the media houses have spawned an entire ecosystem that is based on Taimur and the content generated by him.
Ask these entertainment editors about ethics and best practices and they will shift the goalposts saying that they are merely serving their audience. Things have come to such a point that even the desperate pleas of the family members are falling on deaf ears because Taimur-related content frequently appear on top of Google Analytics.
Journalistic ethics be damned, these editors are also paying a premium for exclusive Taimur photos that are supplied by the Paps.
Now tell me, who will you blame? The paparazzi who are selling the photos for a few hundred bucks a piece or the entertainment editors who are commissioning these photographers and ordering them to bring in more photos and videos of Taimur?
The Mumbai police have intervened, the neighbours have complained, the extended family have complained, doctors and psychologists have explained how the media glare is irreparably damaging Taimur's childhood. But nobody seems to be listening and the eco-system continues to spawn more Taimur content.
Why is this so?
It is because everybody knows that the poor photographers will be blamed for physically chasing and stalking Taimur. Nobody will blame the entertainment editors -- the people who are enabling and sponsoring this kind of unethical behaviour.
Because most of these entertainment editors are unknown faces but once in a while one can see them resurfacing on the internet to help you distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong.