Veteran star of the Indian film industry, Dilip Kumar passed away today at the age of 98, after a prolonged illness. 

Source: Real News India

People from the industry took to social media to offer their condolences, while certain celebrities also attended his last rites and paid their respects. And that was exactly the moment when the paparazzi took photos of a grieving Dharmendra and shared them online. 

To invade people's privacy simply because they are celebrities is reprehensible, especially during something as personal and emotional as a person's funeral procession. And yet, it has become the norm. 

Just a few days earlier, when actor Mandira Bedi's husband, director Raj Kaushal passed away due to a heart attack, her grieving photos were instantly circulated online. 

At a time when she should have been the right to grieve and lean on her friends and family for support, she was trolled for her clothes and actions by random strangers. 

Is this truly the way to treat a person, simply because he, she or, they are a celebrity? Do they really deserve to have their loved ones' last moments splashed on social media, to be devoured in the name of entertainment journalism?

Unfortunately, instead of being an erroneous rarity, these instances have become the norm. Like it happened in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput and Sridevi. 

Sridevi
Source: ET

Sushant's demise had left people shocked and hurt, prompted conversation on the way the film industry functions, and restarted the discussion on issues of mental health.

However, from using insensitive, thoughtless remarks to comment upon Sushant's death, to forcefully and tactlessly interacting with his bereaved family, certain news channels stooped really low in the name of reporting, giving no thought to basic human courtesy. 

Similarly, two years ago, when actor Sridevi, unfortunately, passed away, her death was also sensationalized and speculated over by the media, to the point that it sparked comments on Twitter about the death of the media. 

And yet, once again, in the name of 'on-ground reporting' and 'celebrity journalism', certain channels felt no compunction in crossing the line of ethical, responsible journalism.

What this 'reporting' forgets is that 'celebrity' is a construct made by media and public. Underneath the tag of 'celebrity' is a human being with emotions, beliefs, failures, and successes that are far too real. 

And that is a reminder for the audience too. The audience is quick to idolize a star, but even quicker to debase them through vicious trolling, not cognizant of the impact that their comments can have on a person. 

The same crowd did not spare a second before circulating photos of Sushant that should have never been made public in the first place. 

Or commenting on Mandira's clothes and actions during her husband's funeral procession.

An actor's death is NOT a photo opportunity. An actor's last rites are not a moment to interview his family. An actor's demise can not be a story we sensationalize. 

Source: Indian Express

Is the fact that those photos were circulated by the public, the reason the media shared them, in the first place? This a question that should lead us to introspect over what our perverted voyeurism can lead to. 

Yes, fans have a right to bid a farewell to their favourite star, but where do we draw the line? Haven't we become part of the problem? In the name of reporting and consuming content, are we allowing humanity to die a painful death?