Did it not strike people as unusual that for someone who has been avoiding any media interviews, this came at an opportune time? Angelina Jolie and the crew were shooting at the Anjuman Islam High School in Mumbai when their bodyguards got into a scuffle with the parents who had come to fetch their children. Apparently, there was a lot of pushing and shoving and one of the bodyguards is supposed to have used the term “you bloody Indians”.
In the NDTV interview, Brad Pitt was not only given the benefit of doubt but also the benefit of integrity only because he and Angelina have an “inter-racial family”, meaning children adopted from Ethiopia and Cambodia.
The interviewer, Barkha Dutt (who is usually not star-struck and is among our better media persons) kept repeating herself – the same line of questioning prevailed about paparazzi and concern. This was clearly giving Pitt the opportunity to merely have his say. He stated with complete conviction that had his bodyguards been what they are accused of they would not have been working for him. “They are fathers too…”
This isn’t the first occasion when they have behaved rashly.
To make matters worse, Irfan Khan, the Indian actor who is playing a fairly crucial role in the film, said that he wouldn’t have been sitting in the studio with Brad Pitt if he believed that racist comment was made! Funny. Irfan Khan was inside the school and not aware of what transpired outside. But he too spoke about the integrity of the couple.
No one is questioning their integrity and their commitment, especially to the film. Yet, to assume that the bodyguards would not behave the way they did only because of this makes no sense.
Then it was time to question him about other things. We Indians have this disgusting habit and TV anchors are no exception, so Barkha asked him what he liked about India, would he come back after all this? This is not just puerile, it is offensive. The whole interview came across as an ‘oh those poor guys come all the way and look what we do to them’.
True, they do not owe the media and the public anything if they are working, but their work should not be a nuisance to others.
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Another incident that comes to mind is how the Australian cricket team pushed Sharad Pawar aside when they wanted to get a group photograph taken. An Indian columnist went to the extent of saying that, hey, this was their culture, they would do that with their prime minister too…so why don’t we just chill instead of getting so uptight about how our leaders are treated?
Now listen, this isn’t about how they treat their PM. Here, they themselves expect to be treated like big guns. If we want to show our political leaders their place, then we should exercise that right our way by making them accountable for wrongs. Not by shoving them aside. This is bad manners under any circumstances.
I would like to see what happens if an Indian cricketer did something similar with a Western leader. I know that these same commentators would say that our men in blue are spoilt brats and bad ambassadors of the country.
We are our own enemies...