Ah, Bollywood and its stars. Everything about these two entities operates on the assumption that stars and their stories are, in fact, not like us and ours. That we, in fact, do not exist in the same universe. And yet, here we are now—in a world where for once, we have the same rules: stay inside, clean your own shit, and create videos like you're a TikTok star. The difference between our living conditions and theirs might be like the difference between India's testing rates and South Korea's, but some of the videos down here prove that even a lockdown can't make Bollywood do real. Or at the very least, less cringey.
So as our beloved Bollywood celebrities desperately try to be our guiding light in this lockdown (even beyond 9 minutes at 9 PM on 9 April), we decided to give them a little performance review.
Wow, so incredibly humbling to see that Katrina Kaif too has to sweep her own floors. Coronavirus truly is the great equaliser. But clearly, she’s never done this before and almost everything about her attempt is wrong! Starting with the horrible form (that broom needs to be parallel to the floor) to not picking up that rug.
Just stop already and whip out your golden Dyson V11 Absolute Pro (worth 60k). That’s the kind of content I want to see.
— Nidhi Salian, Creative Development Associate
Bollywood’s very own version of ‘Imagine’
It’s no shock that Bollywood loves to highlight/copy-paste content made by Hollywood, but did they learn nothing from the disastrous backlash of Gal Gadot’s Imagine video? “Muskurayega India” picks up where “Imagine” sheepishly trailed off and is a tribute to all the forces on the frontline, stuffed with poverty porn and shots that seem straight out of Indian tourism board advertisement videos from a decade ago. While their intentions may be decent, nothing seems more forced or fake than lip-syncing lyrics that encourage everyone to anticipate the day they can go back to dancing on the streets while these celebs continue to stay shut in their opulent multi-million pads (with the not-so-subtle placement of their awards in the frame). Or maybe it’s an attempt to scare off coronavirus with Tiger Shroff’s twirls, Akshay Kumar’s deadpan face and Siddharth Malhotra’s half-hearted punches? Still, I’d take this trying-too-hard-to-be-catchy tune over these same faces playing Antakshari on Instagram stories any day.
— Shamani Joshi, Staff Writer
Deepika has an 8-episode series on how she’s keeping herself going, and Episode 2 is about running a rollerblade on her face. I like that the post and the series aren’t yet another unnecessary endorsement of a skill or an attempt at motivation, but merely a look at the vast abyss of time our lives have turned into after we have all been snapped off the production treadmill (symbolism taken from Episode 4) quite abruptly with a four-hour notice. There’s one episode where she has all her clothes strewn on the floor, and another with her sitting on the floor in gym clothes, just vacantly staring at the floor. Hard relate. There’s a lack of smarminess I like. A real chance to build on meaning here. And always grateful to have an opportunity to scroll through the comments section for unprovoked gems such as “Tom say Jada beautiful tho me hu <3”
— Sneha Nair, Associate Producer
So Hindus are still blaming Muslims for the Tablighi Jamaat event, people are acting racist towards North-East Indians because they are apparently responsible for the so-called 'Chinese' virus in some way, bravehearts like doctors and nurses who are treating COVID-19 patients are being harassed by their neighbours and landlords, but yeah, amidst all of this, what's supposed to be really heartwarming is that your ex-wife has temporarily moved in with you so that your kids can spend quality time with the both of you'll. And for some reason, that's supposed to be a sign that you’re seeing “the world come together” in these trying times? I mean sure, it’s your personal profile, upload whatever you want, just don’t be ignorant. And no, Aditi Rao Hydari, these are not “#Goals!” Jeez.
— Pratik Patra, Growth Manager
Anil Kapoor feat. Anupam Kher
Most of Bollywood is insufferable, and I like to keep my eyes turned away. With all the paid marketing promo shit, it’s hard to tell who is a goddamn bhakt despite not being in the selfie with dear leader. But this video by Anil Kapoor, talking to his neighbour Anupam Kher (certified Modi Bhakt and total ass-hat), saying that his wife won’t let Kher into his house is quite cute. Kher uploaded his version too, which he recorded on the parallel. Don’t know about you, but I feel Anil Kapoor is equally cool at 63 as he was at 23. And him breaking into a song at the end—amazing! — Naman Saraiya, Producer
The less I talk about Bollywood stars, the better. Even more so if they happen to be “star kids”, or children of famous actors who are famous because they’re the children of famous actors. So it was especially heartwarming to see that Ananya Pandey’s Instagram feed during isolation is as tone-deaf as her choice of films (and I say that with conviction because I did watch Student of the Year 2 in a movie hall, for some strange, masochistic kicks). Perhaps it comes from a dark place called ignorance, or choosing to read “wholesome” Instagram inspirational quotes over real news of displaced migrants, public health crisis and general chaos as coronavirus spreads like a bushfire. Or perhaps it just comes from the place where stars belong: far, far away from reality, just like their movies. Suffice to say that when cultural commentators say celebrity culture is burning owing to their blatant exhibition of privilege in the time of coronavirus, it’s not without evidence.
— Pallavi Pundir, Staff Writer
For Kartik Aaryan to post this on the same day as thousands of migrant workers stranded in Delhi, just goes to show how privileged we are or at least he is. He misses standing next to a random person and texting whereas there are thousands who don’t have any other option. Not that I have any problem with him posting this, but it's just a little insensitive, ain’t it?
— Sidhant Gandhi, Head of Design
Man, I'm just consistently tripping out on Rakhi Sawant. She's been doing some crazy shit! A few days ago, she put up a video using this Alien Face filter claiming to be Coronavirus and said that the virus only fears Jesus Christ and herself. She said that all the Rakhi Sawant-haters trolling her on Instagram were most likely to be attacked.
Before the lockdown, she also put out a video from an aircraft claiming to have been chosen by Modi to go to China to pick up medicines that she specially ordered from NASA. In her follow-up post, she said that she had gotten some Coronavirus back with her safely 'packed in a box' to throw on all the rapists in India.
Last night, she also managed to make the worst egg bhurji in a livestream session with help from a random family from Nalasopara. She is aggressively shitposting and there’s a lot of gold in there. This is exactly the kind of trashy content I need right now.
— Sahil Amin, Colorist / Motion Designer
Very heartwarming to see that movie stars are just like us—posing in front of random books on our shelves to help get through this. Truly random, because there are dictionaries next to non-fiction books and Le Morte d'Arthur and a William Dalrymple book next to the novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Dystopia indeed.
An even more relatable picture is a few posts down where the happy couple are posing in front of the Colosseum. Every Indian honeymooner looks exactly the same.
— Adhiraj Singh, Development Associate, VICE Studios
Honestly, I don’t give a shit about Bollywood celebrities and don’t bother following any of them. But this generic TikTok video of Disha Patani (who I just learnt is an actress?) got me thinking: maybe she wouldn't be bored if she had a book to read. For a house that big, there's not even one book in sight. No bookshelves either. Explains a lot.
— Arnav Singhal, Head of Client Services
This video of Shilpa Shetty sweeping away her garden leaves as a workout routine made me realise that I really should have bought a copy of one of her workout tapes. Those squats would have really made jhadu poncha (sweeping) easier! — Manisha Rajendran, Assistant Production Supervisor
The Bollywood “Family”
The Tier-1 of videos made by B-town royalty, this one's title is taken from Bollywood movies' favourite muse after parampara and sanskaar: Family. Featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Diljit Dosanjh, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, and South India movie industries legends such as Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi, Mammootty and Mohanlal—this one's a bit like a 32-year-old me trying to learn TikTok from my 11-year-old niece. "Your content is predictable and there are obvious mistakes but your effort is cute," the niece tells me in a patronising tone I wish I could use on Priyanka to show how her sleeved dress obviously mismatches her supposed hand in the previous shot, handing over the glasses to Mr Big B. It's sweet though that the rich people in here are pitching in to build a fund for the film industry's daily wage workers, and that they went with a black-and-white sequence not just to be able to show continuity in the scenes better but also to help us not get blinded with the all wealth and bling the A-listers are quarantining themselves around.
— Dhvani Solani, Associate Editor
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