There is a video post of a media interview of Ratna Pathak Shah on social media which is generating huge reactions. She narrates her observations on the behaviour of stars on flights. According to her, a star would not even ask for his coffee. Instead, one of his aides would get it, open the lid for him. The star would take a sip and hand back the coffee to his aide. She finds this to be dangerous for a star to be behaving like a toddler and depending to this extent on others.
I don’t know for sure but I don’t think even the kings and princes behaved this way. And, to think that most of these film stars come from ordinary middle class or poor families. So what makes our film stars need so much pampering! Can’t a star ask for coffee from the cabin crew and hold his own coffee?
Usually, the airlines use prudence and avoid discussing stars’ misdemeanour, for these stars are here today gone tomorrow, but the airlines have billions of dollars worth of business to do. Yet, sometimes these matters do make headlines.
Take for instance the case of a drunk Kapil Sharma flinging a shoe at his co-artiste, Sunil Grower, while on an airplane! How are these guys any better than those who get drunk and urinate on co-passengers while flying?
Where did all this begin? Yes, stars got respect because they enjoyed a great following, and drew thousands to cinemas to watch their films. Because of them, not only the filmmakers but many others found employment.
Yes, a star was given his tea or coffee when asked for, but nobody held his cup for him. The star sat with the rest of the unit or withdrew to his makeup room for meals. He had one attendant who looked after his needs. That is about all.
What happens now? A star comes with a retinue that includes two or three attendants, a driver, a dietitian, a representative from the talent management company that manages his affairs, a couple of bodyguards, a physical trainer, etc, etc.
Is that all!? Not quite, a superstar, who presently has a score of flops to his credit, needed at least four vanity vans. You know, those air-conditioned, well-equipped vehicles boasting of a washroom, television set, bed, sofas, and so one. In this instance, one vanity was for the star’s personal use and one was for his retinue; one served as his gym and one more for him to hold meetings in case he had guests or other producers visiting him!
Besides this one star, every other star worth his name follows the pattern to some extent – one vanity van, or two, more or less.
A star’s retinue members are paid for by the producer of a particular film. Which adds up to Rs 10 crore to his budget. Is any star worth it? The stars charge crores, but there is no end to their greed.
Now, there is this actress who made her debut in 2015. She was caught taking her cut from what her staffers were paid! How cheap is that! And, there are others like her but most don’t get caught.
If only these greedy stars knew that for quite some time, it is the cost of a film that fails it. Projects become top heavy.
–By Vinod Mirani