So, here’s an anecdote – let’s call it an inside story – to start this article. A few years ago, a website posted a photo of Miss Suhana Khan wearing a bikini. The internet, as they say, ‘broke’. Within a few hours, the story took a life of its own. The photo itself was regular, but it was Shahrukh Khan’s daughter. A few days later, Mr Khan met the website’s owner at one of those exotic airports of the world and stopped him. I do not know whether his Delhi-boy tipped up or the Superstar in him did, but Mr. Khan told the website owner in no uncertain terms, “Write what you want about me. My daughter is a kid. She’s off limits.” That was the edict, the mandate or whatever the yuppie kids call it.
This was the anecdote, there is also a rumour. The rumour is that the timing of the posting of the bikini picture was such that SRK was safely in-flight as the photo made it way through the collective bandwidth of India. I have no reason to not believe this, but I cannot vouch for this being anything other than a rumour.
What happened later will give you an idea of why SRK is called the King Khan of Bollywood. The editor of the website, a veteran of several years, had to ask the owner of the website before any photo of any starlet was to be put up on the website. People who were around him could see it – here was a guy who had grizzled himself writing hard news. It was difficult enough to work on a masala Bollywood website, but to be kept on a short leash because of a damn photo that was just taken off a social network (believe me, I would have named the image sharing website if I remembered it, but all I know is that the photo was taken from a locked account) – was maybe the 900th paper cut – of the death by a 1000 paper cuts.
But what followed later was even more surprising. Not a single website ever put up anything about Suhana. The King had spoken, so what if he had done so in the middle of a queue to board or check-in? A year later, I was working with another website that was quite associated with Shah Rukh Khan. In my months of working with them and later, I never saw a Suhana photo or story there, at least not a controversial one.
So, that’s the inside story of how Shah Rukh Khan essentially stopped the media of an entire city from covering his daughter. There is a reason I am sharing this inside story because HuffPost has revealed an ‘inside story’ of how Vogue and the Suhana photoshoot happened. I have read the article so you don’t have to, but it essentially says this:
“We were as happy as Shah Rukh Khan to get Suhana on the cover.”
The article is full of insiders, sources who wish to remain unknown, but, yes it has a quote about someone not putting a gun to their head and all that. But what the article fails to tell is:
Why has Vogue got that girl on the cover? And the answer is plain in sight – there’s no reason that won’t infuriate an entire audience.
The problem is not that Shah Rukh Khan can outright pay to tell the world that his daughter likes a particular web series. The problem is that Shah Rukh Khan won’t need to. It’s angering. It gets to you after a while. As you spend months sending official, then courteous and finally e-mails that reek of desperation to actors, actresses other celebs to write a post about the work – the good work that they are doing – and this woman walks into the Vogue office for a cover shoot, it hurts you. To be fair, I have experienced the aforementioned editor brush off a good story about a smaller star to write a story that measures the temperature at the place where a bigger name is staying, so it’s not like he’s a safed-posh. The HuffPost article is an offshoot of this concept.
There’s blatant fluff about August being an age issue, marketing terms like organically, there’s also proof that the article has been multi-edited, who in the blazes uses a hyphen between good and enough? The article adds nothing to the story and instead acts as a platform for the unknown person at Vogue who’s proud of having the Vogue cover. More often than not, people are proud of what they do, when they aren’t, it makes news. It isn’t newsworthy to get an unnamed source from Vogue to say that they are proud of the Suhana cover – so what’s the point of the article? The article is so ambiguous that you cannot even hate-read it. So, I ask again, what’s the point of the article? Here, read for yourself:
Unless, of course, there’s someone dominating top down over at HuffPost who’s saying, “Write a 1,000-word article with Suhana as the keyword.” Is there?