The good, bad and ugly side of celebrities

RECKLESS: Kanika Kapoor
RECKLESS: Kanika Kapoor


THE global coronavirus pandemic is bringing out different sides to celebrities around the world.

Some have seemingly disappeared, others are using this crisis as an opportunity to gain cheap publicity and the select few are stepping up to make a positive difference. There are others, who have endangered lives and some are more concerned about their projects, when the pandemic is causing the death of thousands. Here is a run down of the celebrity good, bad and ugly of the Covid-19 catastrophe so far.

The good
The massively influential film and sports stars across India and Pakistan have been slow to spread the self-isolation message, but Kartik Aaryan put across such a strong video message that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi shared it. He put away any niceties in an incredible video urging everyone to stay home, which went viral and became one of the most popular tweets ever shared by an Indian celebrity on Twitter.

Kartik Aaryan

Akshay Kumar also shared a very powerful video, explaining the importance of self-isolation, especially for those who have been travelling abroad and actor Dhanush similarly uploaded an impactful message. South Indian superstars Ram Charan and Jnr NTR teamed up for an effective video message.

Other big names who later followed with video messages included Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and one featuring a montage of stars, led by Amitabh Bachchan.

Meanwhile Ali Zafar opened up an online discussion, explaining the current emergency and putting forward active measures for the Pakistani government, including a lockdown. Actress Mahira Khan was another Pakistani celebrity who shared a powerful video, where she not only spoke about key issues associated with Covid-19 like hand washing, but also urged people not to panic and show a united front. Indian actor Rishi Kapoor won hearts by wishing Pakistan well and stars, including Kriti Sanon, Richa Chadha and John Abraham, urged everyone to look after their pets during this difficult time.

Mahira Khan

Pop superstar Charli XCX started a daily show called the Self-Isolation IG Livestream, aimed at providing support, information and creating a community atmosphere.

The bad

There have been plenty of major A-list stars with huge followings, who flood social media when promoting a film, but have shared solitary messages or have been largely absent during the current crisis.

Others have actively been using the pandemic to score some cheap publicity points. Some have had PRs send out photos of them in masks, others have been sharing videos of themselves indoors doing activities like working out, which promote them more than sending out an important message.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra was heavily criticised for sharing a video montage of herself doing Namaste poses in glamorous outfits, which was seen by many as a publicity stunt, instead of a message about not shaking hands. Bollywood queen Deepika Padukone participated in a hand washing challenge, but hadn’t effectively used her reach, which includes over 45 million Instagram followers. Aamir Khan had shared a video when the coronavirus crisis in China was in full flow, but has been largely anonymous despite being a huge box office star. Although power couple Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli had their hearts in the right place, both should have mustered up something better than a 22-second video clip. There were similar stories with other stars, who were just going through the motions.

Meanwhile, social media using celebrities in the west haven’t really gone above and beyond to use their respective platforms, and they like many are going about their business as usual, by promoting themselves in various ways, more than being concerned with making a difference.

The ugly

British singer Kanika Kapoor became public enemy number one when it was revealed she hid her travel history from authorities upon returning to India, and then attended a party at a hotel, while being infected with the deadly Covid-19 virus. If all the reports are true about Kanika’s incredibly disgraceful behaviour then she should be arrested after her quarantine period is over, even if she returns to London. She endangered lives and set a bad example, but also potentially became a super spreader.

Sonam Kapoor was heavily trolled for sending a tweet supporting Kanika’s reckless behaviour, and it was later reported the singer had been throwing tantrums while being treated at a hospital.

Another ugly side of the crisis is that many technicians, who play an essential part in movie-making, have been abandoned and will be financially crippled with the shooting stoppages, and most millionaire celebrities are unlikely to help them.

Also, Bollywood producers have been rushing to register distasteful film titles like Corona Pyar Hai.