Every now and then, the internet runs riot at celebrities. A number of celebrities have had to stand by and watch helplessly as trollers, the self-appointed army of the internet, flushed their reputations down the drain. Sometimes, rightfully so.
Clashes between celebrities, fans and paparazzi are not new. The age-old debate about keeping a balance between privacy and pleasing the fans has not been resolved yet. No matter how big or small your status is, once you become a celebrity, you are signing up for scrutiny in every possible way.
The latest to bear the brunt of trollers and Twitterati was the internet star Ranu Mondal. Ranu Mondal’s is a classic story of “rags to riches”. The singer who used to earn bread by singing on railway platforms became an overnight sensation; thanks to the internet. The video in which she appeared singing a classic Bollywood song went viral after it was posted on Facebook by a 26-year-old engineer.
In no time, her fame skyrocketed, and she was invited into the inner sanctum of Bollywood television industry. From a poor woman singing for money to appearing in reality shows and being offered an opportunity to work with popular musician Himesh Reshammiya, her life had taken a turn for the better.
Ranu Mondal was also successful in amassing a huge fan base, especially among the common audience who seemed to love her singing. However, in a sad reversal of fortune, Ranu Mondal fell from being the Internet’s beloved to being the newest target of its trolls.
Recently, a video popped up on the internet in which Ranu Mondal was seen lashing out at a fan who had approached her for a selfie. The video soon attracted a lot of attention, and the viewers and her fans were not happy. Apparently, an unwelcome gesture on the part of the fan, a woman, was what irked her.
The video shows a woman approaching Mondal, who goes on to tap her on the hand from behind. The singer then turned around and repeated the gesture, but not in a friendly way, and looked quite upset at the woman for what she did and asked her “Yeh kya hai…iska mathlab kya hai (what is this…what does this mean)?”
The viewers, as well as her fans, took to the internet to express dismay at her behavior. A majority was of the opinion that Mondal was corrupted by fame and has forgotten her roots. Following the incident, #RanuMondal was trending on Twitter.
A user tweeted,
A series of trolls also emerged on her association with Himesh Reshammiya:
A tweet read, “After seeing the arrogance of this 2-month-old celebrity, the respect for the likes of Rahul Dravid is increased by 2 more levels for staying grounded through his entire career and even today!! #RanuMondal.”
Another user tweeted: “When she was not famous she allowed stranger to record her video but now when she is famous she doesn’t even let anyone to take a selfie with her. #RanuMondal”.
Some also came out in support of the singer. One of the few tweets that pled the case for Mondal said, “So, you aren’t supposed to have personal space if you are newly famous? I’d be throwing hands too if someone tapped me like that. Let her be. “Fans” need to learn some manners instead. #RanuMondal #indiantwittersucks.”
Another user tweeted, “To be honest, Indians do not respect personal space. Yet you see the arrogance of people who call her arrogant, for expressing her displeasure. It’s the elite & entitled attitude that being poor means should have no self-respect & personal space. Get over folks. #RanuMondal.
Of course, forgetting one’s roots is a grave sin in Indian culture. When A-list celebrities react not so pleasantly to unwelcome attention, the fans are usually more forgiving. Popular Bollywood actors such as Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan have been caught in the quagmires of controversy for their behavior. The different reactions to these might hint at the double standards prevalent in our society. The fact that many users on Twitter questioned whether her stature justified this kind of behavior is itself a proof of how divided the Indian society is in the lines of class and gender.
While it is ideal that celebrities keep a humble profile in the public and to their fans, let us remember that they are also individuals with the need for privacy and personal space. It is also arguable that there is nothing unwarranted about a woman, celebrity or otherwise, reacting in such a manner to being touched by a stranger. On the other hand, there is also some merit in the argument that Mondal’s reaction was somewhat aggressive when you consider the fact that the woman was just requesting a selfie.
Selfie itself is a new phenomenon for many people. Fans could use some discretion about when and how someone should be approached for a selfie. The excitement of meeting your favorite celebrity aside, remember that they are themselves leading busy lives and have their share of problems to deal with. What do you think about the whole issue? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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