Hindi films pander to the young and their idea of what a perfect life can be. The idea is that perfection can be found in a dress, a hair-style, an accessory and that it is cool to be like those who seemingly have it all. But what if this desire becomes an obsession? Some teens go as far as developing an eating disorder in order to look thin like celebrities. Some lose their sense of self. Who a young person looks up to as a role model can perhaps determine what kind of a person he/she will become beyond their appearance, especially if their attitude and goals in life get impacted and altered.
The glut of marketing ideas greatly influences young minds and maybe a little filtering is important to sift fluff from substance. Musicians, sports stars and actors were once the most popular role models but today there are many more. Reality TV celebrities, models and entrepreneurs. However, politicians interestingly do not seem to be inspiring too many people!
While choosing role models, thinking for yourself seems like a hard thing to do. “I actually made my parents take me to Gucci and Louis Vuitton for shopping after watching Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) in Student Of The Year,” says 19-year-old Maira.
On the contrary, Nishant Valia in the same age group told us that he wouldn’t want to copy someone’s style. “Style for me comes from within and what’s comfortable. Actors have to put up a fake mask at times. They dress up differently in public. If you see them at home, they would probably wear the same things that you do. What they show to us might not be their personal choice,” he says.
Kriti Jalan, a 20-year-old says, “Popular culture makes me feel uncomfortable. I would never want to dress up like the celebs. On special occasions, I would want to probably have the same hair-do and make up but nothing more than that. I don’t get inspired by any struggle stories either.”
Vihaan, 21, a sportsmen feels that having a hero to look up to can be healthy for kids, especially those who might lack parental guidance. “Teens who idolise a grounded celebrity will be inspired for the right reasons, “ he says. His hero is Michael Jordan. He adds, “It might come as a shock, but the man who became what many would call the best basketball player of all time didn’t make it to his high school basketball team. This is what keeps me going. He has missed more than 9,000 shots in his career. He has lost almost 300 games. He has failed over and over and over again in his life. And that is why he succeeded.”
J K Rowling made a huge impact on her Sukriti Mahipal’s life. She says, “The author of the famous Harry Potter books was once a waitress. Today, her books are one of the best selling series in history. I feel that teens should know whom to idolise and follow. If you take inspiration from the right people, you know you’re taking the right road. Negative influences come only if you don’t know where to draw the line.”
Jayshree Mehta, a parent, feels that celebs who underwent child abuse and suffered from domestic violence can change lives for the better. “Whenever a celebrity comes forward to share a problem, it helps thousands of people. Many domestic violence victims don’t call it abuse because they think abuse is something that happens to other people. So when a celebrity reaches out and says (the abuse) wasn’t their fault, it helps other people to start healing.”
Manisha D, another parent, says, “It’s both good and bad to get influenced by famous people. Dressing up like celebrities is one thing that is fine to a certain extent but when kids start to behave like them, that’s when parents need to talk to them.”
— Natasha Doshi