The media boycotting celebrities or banning them is not something new. Before as well, we have seen insntances where the media has boycotted coverage of celebrities totally. But no incident can be bigger than the ban which was imposed on the ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’, Amitabh Bachchan by the media.
When the Emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi and the freedom of the press was curtailed, a huge section of the media thought that Amitabh Bachchan had a huge role to play in it as he was considered to be close to the ruling party. It was after that that the media unanimously decided to ban Amitabh Bachchan and refrained from giving him any kind of coverage.
In fact the situation was so bad that if Big B was a part of any good group photograph, the media would crop his photo and then publish it. This situation went on for 15 years and all the leading film magazines of that time – Filmfare, Stardust, CineBlitz and many more banned him.
The situation went like this for 15 years and it ended after a long time primarily because of one person, Mr. Nari Hira, a media baron who is the owner of Stardust Magazine and Magna Publishing.
When Amitabh Bachchan had an accident and his condition was critical, Mr. Hira had met Amitabh Bachchan personally and told him that the media wanted him to ‘fail’ but not ‘die’. This also softened Amitabh Bachchan to a great extent and it was Nari Hira and his magazine, ‘Stardust’ that became the first publication and magazine that covered Amitabh Bachchan for the first time after a hiatus of 15 long years. Nari Hira, who is a media baron and a very respectable figure in the entertainment media industry had then called up the owners of editors of other rival magazines and asked them to unanimously decide to call off the ban. This gesture from Nari Hira was extremely appreciated by Bachchan and this marked the beginning of a wonderful friendship between Amitabh Bachchan and Nari Hira over the years.
Amitabh Bachchan has too gone on record to say many times that it he is eternally grateful to Mr. Nari Hira for being empathetic towards him when the entire media was against him and is thankful to him for playing a huge role in ending media’s ban against him.
But that was then and this is now. In today’s time, when print and digital co exist and there’s no one or two people who act as media barons in today’s fast growing industry, if any celebrity gets boycotted by the media for good, it is extremely difficult for him or her to regain the faith of the media and bring himself or herself back to limelight. But what’s exemplary is the fact that no personality is beyond the media and if the great Amitabh Bachchan can be at the receiving end of it, be it rightly or wrongly, any celebrity can face it if he or she rubs the media in a wrong and unfair manner.
BY SUBHOJIT GHOSH.