Kate Middleton topless photos: why it wouldn’t happen in India

September 20, 2012

People in Europe and the United States are blazing away over the topless photos of Princess Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. So they should. The ingredients in this recipe are:

1 royal
No clothes
Liberal dash of good looks, to taste
1 fancy title (Duchess of Cambridge preferred)
1 husband, must be possible heir to British throne.

In India, you could serve the same dish, but without the spice.

Here’s an example of a hot story: Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai took great pains to shield her daughter Aaradhya, AKA “Beti B” from the shutterbugs. But they found her! And took pictures! Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

Actually, don’t. Just before Aaradhya was born, the Broadcast Editors’ Association cautioned reporters and photographers against going too far in their quest for pictures. Maybe artists’ renderings would have sufficed.

Clearly India has an intrusive news media, from overeager TV announcers with BREAKING NEWS to eager-beaver entertainment reporters willing to do whatever it takes to get a morsel of access to disaffected movie stars. We doorstep politicians, and sometimes become go-betweens. We ask celebrities whether they are single? Dating anyone? Planning to get married? What they were doing with that special someone at that special somewhere? We particularly want to know why you’re wearing the same outfit twice, and whether it looks tighter on you this time. But we get a little nervous if we see you through our long lenses as you relax on holiday, the outfit a few feet away from your body.

In a country where privacy is a touchy topic, and the personal lives of celebrities are hardly personal, the Indian press tends to be more restrained about reporting real skeletons in the closet as opposed to ones that are playing assigned parts by agents and handlers. For all their intrusiveness, they’re simply trained not to be as voyeuristic as paparazzi in much of the rest of the world.

If given a chance, would an Indian media outlet make pictures of an Indian celebrity public?

“The answer to that is a resounding no,” said Saira Menezes, editor of People (India). “We take issues of personal space and privacy very seriously, so the one thing you will not find in our journalistic tool-bag is the long lens.”

“Indians are as curious as folks anywhere, but if Aaradhya was photographed in her playroom through a camera sticking out from the terrace of a neighbour next door, that would be downright distasteful,” she said. “Aishwarya was snapped carrying the baby in a public place and that … is fair game.”

India is a conservative country in relation to much of Europe and the United States. Publishing nude pictures of a celebrity, whether big or small, just isn’t done, despite the occasional teasers about “naked pictures” and similar hollow promises. The fact that the mainstream media aren’t showing Middleton’s photos is case in point.

“The kind of money these photographers get from foreign publications, no publication in India is going to give. So it’s not worth the risk for any photographer,” said photographer Avinash Pasricha. “The market is not there for the publisher to earn enough money to pay photographers for such kind of photography. So that kind of market would never have developed here.”

So, give us your sightings and who was seen with whom, whose married lives are going to hell, who’s blown their figure and is experiencing psychological torment, who’s eating too little and who’s eating too much. And for god’s sakes, make sure they have their clothes on.

5 comments

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WHERE IS MY COMMENT?

Posted by Abhimanyou | Report as abusive

Boring! Soebody should break the mould and get away from orthodoxy.

Posted by hebegb | Report as abusive

Sorry, that’s my fault. I was not paying attention to the comments when I should have been.
Robert MacMillan
Editor, Reuters.com global editions

We’ll try to be exciting next time.
Robert MacMillan
Editor, Reuters.com global editions