The other side of our celebrities!

How much do we know about our celebrities? Quite a lot, we might think. Especially with the kind of media coverage that we have. But, the fact is that in spite of heavy and widespread coverage of celebrity lives by media, we still do not know a huge lot about the complete personality of celebrities. The highly intrusive media focuses only on the one dimension of the personality that they choose to reveal. But, an accomplished celebrity might have much more interesting facets to his/her personality than what is obvious from their claim to fame in the public domain. By interesting facets, I do not intend to get into the personal secrets of a celebrity. This is not about those types of facts, but ones that are genuinely interesting.

We often tend to slot celebrities into a certain set of characters based on what they do in their profession. We often fail to realize that a celebrity can be a lot more than what they do regularly in their career. I am sure that many of you have read the book ‘Alice in Wonderland’, one of the landmarks in English literature. Anyone who has read this

book is sure to have thought of Lewis Carroll as a simple, fun loving children’s writer who read a lot of fairy tales and stuff as a child. While that may be true, it is also important to know that he was also an accomplished mathematician of his times. There is a small anecdote about how Lewis Carroll surprised everyone with his range of skills.

‘Alice in Wonderland’ got so famous that the then queen of England wanted to read it. She too immensely liked it and ordered that Lewis Carroll’s next book be brought to her immediately upon publication. Honored by this, even Lewis Carroll dedicated his next book to the queen. But, the queen was shocked and surprised when she received a book titled ‘An elementary treatise on determinants’. Even we are unlikely to have believed that a children’s writer can be a respected mathematician at the same time. But, Lewis Carroll was.

All of us know and have enjoyed watching Arnold Schwarzenegger on screen. But almost all of us would have thought of him only as a professional body builder, not one capable of anything else too serious in life, until he surprised everyone by becoming the Governor of California. Okay, maybe his immense popularity as a movie star could have propelled his victory in the elections the first time. But, it is only popularity gained by good governance in the first term that can help in re-election.

And, it is not just the big Hollywood stars that are capable of such digressions from their screen or popular personality perceptions. We have had many huge stars that have proved that they are more than only stars, but men and women capable of serious thoughts and actions. Tamil cinema has a whole lot of such examples, many of whom are today in the highest echelons of power in the state.

Ajith Kumar is a rare exception who has revealed two dimensions of his personality. That is because his other passion outside cinema (formula racing) is also a popular field of sport. But, there are a whole lot of others who have dimensions to their personalities that can really take us by surprise.

We all know Nagarjuna as a stylish, flashy and flamboyant movie star who came from one of the most powerful families in the Telugu film industry. There is a perception that he walked into cinema because of his family name and that there is nothing much else to him than acting. But the fact is that he has been educated in some of the premiere institutions in India and the USA. He is a former student of College of Engineering Guindy, University of Michigan and University of Louisiana.

Vennira Adai Murthy to all audiences is only a man who can make funny noises with his mouth. But, he is also credited with being an expert in astrology, something all of us are unaware about. And, how many of us would have thought during his acting years that Sivakumar is capable of such literary accomplishment like bringing out ‘Kamban En Kadhalan’. Napoleon might just be the actor who portrays earthy role wielding the sickle to most audiences, but that apart he is also a highly successful businessman. And, no actor would be handed the portfolio of Social Justice and Empowerment at the center unless everyone concerned was convinced of his ability to carry off such a responsibility.

Rajinikanth’s spiritual side, Sylvester Stallone’s scripting and directorial skills, Mohanlal’s fascination for antique collection etc. are interesting facets of our celebrities’ personalities that can change they way we perceive them. In most cases, our celebrities have much more to them than what we see on screen.

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