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Sonu Nigam, the celebrity selfie and a culture of narcissism

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Sonu Nigam, the celebrity selfie and a culture of narcissism


Fanfare now demands our presence alongside, even if it is at the cost of encroaching upon an idol’s personal space. In that aspect, it is no different than the constant overreach of the paparazzi, perhaps, only worse for wear in its desire for instant gratification.

The celebrity selfie has turned into a badge of narcissistic honour, a constant homage to our infatuation with ourselves and our need to document, curate and display the most aspirational versions of our lives.

After cricketer Prithvi Shaw’s recent unsavoury encounter with social media influencer Sapna Gill, the tyranny of the selfie caught up with Sonu Nigam at a concert in Mumbai’s Chembur, when an admirer tried to get close to the singer for the perfect shot, shoving his aide and bodyguard aside. Reportedly, both men were injured in the scuffle as was the singer.

These, of course, are not isolated instances. While Hollywood stars such as Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence and Cameron Diaz refuse to take selfies with fans, in India, celebrities, major and minor, are routinely hounded for that special brand of photographs that has now come to replace the autograph. The selfie places the individual at the heart of every event — an ill-fated marriage of our all-consuming self-absorption with a voyeuristic curiosity about the lives of celebrities. In the performative culture that we live in, it is no longer enough to photograph the object of our admiration from afar, leave alone the forgotten joy of merely having partaken in an experience special to us without having a keepsake to show for it.

The celebrity selfie has turned into a badge of narcissistic honour, a constant homage to our infatuation with ourselves and our need to document, curate and display the most aspirational versions of our lives. Fanfare now demands our presence alongside, readjusting our focus over and over again, till we have achieved the filter that shows us up in the best light, even if it is at the cost of encroaching upon an idol’s personal space. In that aspect, it is no different than the constant overreach of the paparazzi, perhaps, only worse for wear in its desire for instant gratification.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd



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