Hey, Saif-Kareena, make up your mind about Taimur 

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan have finally decided to do something about the media exposure their son Taimur receives, here are some tricks that other celebrities have tried

Hey, Saif-Kareena, make up your mind about Taimur 

Subhash K Jha

I am glad Saif Ali Khan has finally taken a firm stand against his little son Taimur being exposed to constant paparazzi attention. Kareena and Saif are often heard expressing their concern over Tamiur’s over-exposure in the media.

So, how come Saif’s other children from his first marriage didn’t face the same problem when they were kids? Oh I see, the paparazzi was neither that active nor this persistent back then.

Ok, so another question to do with other star-toddlers today? How come Aamir Khan’s son Azad doesn’t get hounded by the paparazzi? The answer is simple. Aamir and his wife Kiran don’t want their child in the limelight. They don’t post pictures of their child on social media. Not that they keep Azad hidden from the camera. They just ensure he is treated in a normal healthy way.

Aishwarya-Abhishek’s daughter Aaradhya was constantly in the public eye, until her parents took a conscious decision to limit their child’s appearance on the social media.

As Meryl Streep recently observed, you can’t expect privacy for a celebrity’s children when they are put on a public platform. Why is that every time Taimur shares playtime with his cousin Inaya, or Tushar Kapoor’s son Lakshya or Karan Johar’s twins Yash and Roohi, the videos of their innocent frolic show up on social media platforms? Or, even when mom Kareena makes a videocall to her laadla beta from a shooting location, the very private mother-son chat goes viral?

It is the amazing Meryl Streep who spoke about keeping her four children away from the public eye. When asked during a television interview to promote her gorgeous film Mamma Mia Here We Go Again, she was asked how she kept her personal and professional lives apart.

Meryl offered a magical solution. She said the choice is entirely hers. She chose to be in the limelight and therefore had to forefeit her privacy. But her children were exempted from the glare. She made sure that her children’s privacy was protected. She never put their pictures out in the social media, never exposed her children’s lives to the paparazzi and made sure her children never had to be exposed to the public glare when they didn’t want to be there. I think there is a huge takeaway from Meryl Streep’s prouncements on privacy for celebrities in Bollywood who complain that their children are hounded by the paparazzi. It is really very simple. If you don’t want your children in the public spotlight, they won’t be . There was a time when stars like Dharmendra and Manoj Kumar kept their children completely out of the limelight. This was the pre-Instagram era. Now star-kids learn to face prying cameras even before they learn to walk properly.

One can’t help but sympathise with those poor celebrity progenies struggling to come to terms with their parent’s exceptional adulation. I remember Madhuri Dixit’s sons wondering why their mother was being stared at when they came to India for the first time.

Now, of course the Dixit-Nene boys are used to being hosed down with attention everywhere they go.

It’s not easy for a three-year-old or a two-year-old to have flash bulbs piercing his or her bewildered uncomprehending eyesight, and to be scrutinised for clothes, hair and shoes alongside the chic mom is not just insensitive, it is insane!

It may be fine for Tom Cruise’s darling daughter Suri Cruise who at eight, seems to enjoy being a fashion diva. But what happened to her normal happy healthy life of dolls and teddybears? Little Suri is welcome to choose her Choos. We really don’t want Aaradhya’s normal childhood to be vandalised by the paparazzi. I brought up my concerns with Aaradhya’s grandfather who sighed in resignation.

Kya karen? The attention is a little disconcerting. We’ve gotten used it. Aaradhya would also have to get used to it,” he said. Akshay Kumar, forever playing the real-life role of the monk with the Ferrari, is even more charitable about his children 17-year-old Aarav and 5-year-old Nitara being hounded by the paparazzi.

“They are only doing their job. Who unki rozi-roti hai,” he rationalises the unreasonable invasion of his children in tender territory. I must admit Akshay’s little daughter is already a camera chameleon. Or for that matter, Shah Rukh Khan’s AbRam. The boy is a complete chip off the old block. Like his dad, he loves the lenses to be on him. Scarily enough, Taimur seems to enjoy the paparazzi attention. Posing happily, chuckling when photographers call out his name.

Not all star-children are prone to preen before the paparazzi. I remember there was a picture of Karisma Kapoor’s little son Kian raising his hands to his face in protest as the cameras went loco.

“Nowadays they are everywhere, outside restaurants and airports. They don’t care how you’re looking after flying for 14 hours or how cranky your child is, they just want their pictures. Kian was tired and irritable after travel when the cameras suddenly opened fire,” says a very close and protective relative of Kian Kapoor.

Years ago, I remember Sushmita Sen telling me how she never allowed her daughter Renee to be photographed. This was when there was no active paparazzi in the film industry. By the time she adopted her second girl, it was too late to stop the shutterbugs.

Now Sushmita happily poses with her two daughters.

Might as well lie back and enjoy it

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