Today Saif Ali Khan said something that he has never said before.
Today — after really a long, long time — we heard him publicly pleading with photographers to back off from clicking his toddler son, Taimur Ali Khan.
“Please don’t stalk Taimur. He is not a star. He is just a child,” Saif Ali Khan said.
While speaking to MiD-Day, he said that contrary to public opinion, it was not offending the mighty Bollywood press in Mumbai that prevented him to speak out earlier.
Saif said that the real reason why he didn’t protest the relentless heckling by the paparazzi was that he didn’t want to deprive anybody of his livelihood. He was just being kind to the photographers who earn their living by clicking his son.
Last week, the Mumbai Police arrivedat his residence to clear the paps out of the front porch of the housing society in Khar West to clear out the photographers who had made that location a sort of ‘pap base’ to click Taimur.
After the incident, a section of the media had thought that it was Saif Ali Khan who had complained to the cops.
According to Saif, it was just a concerned neighbour who was disturbed about the constant stalking of Taimur Ali Khan. Saif made it clear that he supports his neighbour too.
“Yes, the cops cleared the paparazzi because someone complained. Not me. I can’t say I feel kindly about their presence, because 10 people lounging about outside your house waiting for a shot of your kid is disturbing, to say the least. I didn’t complain because I don’t want to deprive anyone of a job,” he said.
This remark also comes close on the heels of another recent outburst of Saif Ali Khan in front of the paparazzi because they were constantly flashing in front of Taimur’s eyes while they were on their way to catch a flight at the Mumbai International Airport.
“Bas karo yaar, bachcha andha ho jaayega (Stop it, the child will go blind),” Saif told the camera-persons gathered at the airport as everyone, including the photographers, laughed.
If you thought that if Saif Ali Khan is the only one in the Khaan-daan who has realised how the media glare is irreparably damaging Taimur’s childhood, then let me inform you that the entire Khan family has requested with folded hands to the media to stop stalking Taimur.
The question that arises now is: Why are the photographers not listening to these appeals? Why are photographers constantly stalking and chasing Taimur Ali Khan around for photos and videos?
The answer is: The actual fault lies with the Entertainment Editors at the mainstream media houses who are sponsoring this malaise through their employers in the name of journalism.
They know that Taimur Ali Khan photos mean easy page-views because of the “Aww” factor. They know that very well that if you put one photo of Taimur’s and then back it up with an ‘aww-dorable’ headline and it will rapidly gain page-views.
The Entertainment Editors know that Taimur related content is a short-cut to popular content.
Just because they and their audience love seeing “cute pictures” of Taimur Ali Khan, some of the media houses have spawned an entire ecosystem that is based on Taimur Ali Khan and the content generated by him.
Ask these entertainment editors about ethics and best practices and they will shift the goalposts saying that they are merely serving their audience.
Things have come to such a point that even the desperate pleas of the family members are falling on deaf ears because Taimur-related content frequently appear on top of Google Analytics.
Journalistic ethics be damned, these editors are also paying a premium for exclusive Taimur photos that are supplied by the Paps.
Now tell me, who will you blame? The paparazzi who are selling the photos for a few hundred bucks a piece or the entertainment editors who are commissioning these photographers and ordering them to bring in more photos and videos of Taimur?
The Mumbai police have intervened, the neighbours have complained, the extended family have complained, doctors and psychologists have explained how the media glare is irreparably damaging Taimur’s childhood.
But nobody seems to be listening and the eco-system continues to spawn more Taimur content.
Why is this so?
It is because everybody knows that the poor photographers will be blamed for physically chasing and stalking Taimur. Nobody will blame the entertainment editors — the actual people who are enabling and sponsoring this kind of unethical behavior in the name of journalism.
Most of these entertainment editors are unknown faces but once in a while I see them resurfacing on the internet to help you distinguish between the right and the wrong.
The question is: Can they themselves differentiate between right and wrong?