Over The Top

I was shocked. And I am probably putting it mildly.

“Shamita – Raqesh part ways” screamed a headline in the morning paper.

And I had no idea. Was I living under a rock?

Without losing a moment, I switched my glance to the write-up. If Shamita and Raqesh were parting ways, the least I could do was find out who there were, or are, even if I am not able to find out why they were doing what the newspaper said they were doing, parting ways.

Turning to page 4, where the write-up was, I unearthed a treasure trove of important information. I found:

  • Their names were Raqesh Bapat and Shamita Shetty
  • They met on the reality show Bigg Boss OTT last year
  • They made a music video together in May
  • Shamita even wrote: “I think it’s important to make this clear. Raqesh and I are no longer together.” Important? The fate of humanity hung on a slender thread. You have saved it Shamita.

And here I was, trying to follow the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India’s border conflicts with China and Pakistan, the PM race in the UK, and tennis at Wimbledon, the brickbats between political rivals, huge stashof cash found with an aide of a Bengal minister, and the Indian cricket team’s efforts in England and the West Indies. I was wasting my time would be an understatement.

Shame on me.

It is not that I did not care about this section of the newspaper. It is called HT City and comes every day, I think. I would pick it up, turn to the Calvin and Hobbes strip, read it, fold and put it back. What was I thinking?

But, like they say for statistics telling you a lot but leaving out the really important parts, the write-up provided a lot of information that I have already summarized above, but left out the important bit, at least for me; who the hell were they?

Did I have a choice? No. I turned to Google. What did I find?

“Shamita Shetty (born 2 February 1979) is an Indian Bollywood actress, model and interior designer. She made her Hindi film debut in the musical romance film Mohabbatein (2000)…” A bulb lights up. I remember watching that movie. In my defence, I was young, I was even more foolish.

“Raqesh Bapat is an Indian actor and model. He is known for his work in films like Tum Bin (2001), Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai (2005)…” No lighting of bulbs here.

I get it. This is important. When one watches shows on TV and OTT for entertainment that make little sense, and may or may not be entertaining, but that is a personal choice, it needs to be complemented by snippets of the personal lives of the people they see in those shows that make equally little sense, in the media. It is a right. As simple as that.

How else will viewers know what Shetty had for breakfast?

How will they know where Bapat went to a holiday?

How will they know what they wore when they were in college twenty years back?

And without this information, can the entertainment that makes little sense, not make even lesser sense? It is obvious, is it not? If I am not trying to make Netflix and Star TV richer does not mean that others will also shirk their responsibility.

I did the Google search two days back. Today my browser is already full of helpful suggestions about reading who Bapat went to an awards function with and watching a video of a gym session of Shetty. I think I may have arrived. I can sense a void in my life is about to be filled with meaningless information about other people.

Not one to rest on his laurels, after hungrily reading all this, I moved my gaze to other parts of the newspaper. The pickings were rich. I could see “Huma would rather take a day off on her birthday than work” and “Why Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor won’t say yes to a regional language project” lined up next to each other.

Did you know? I bet not.

Are you dying to find out? I bet yes.

I will stop here, as there is work to be done. I need to first find out exactly who Huma and Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor are and work my way up to the answers to these important questions.