While some celebrities choose to keep a safe distance, others resort to novel ways to deal with their stalkers.
Last week, when Shraddha Kapoor was promoting her film, she spotted a particularly ardent fan in the crowd everywhere she went — 17 times that day. Instead of fretting over the man, she invited him on stage and even hugged him in front of everyone. Shraddha’s stalker sure had it easy, unlike Vidya Balan, John Abraham, Hrithik Roshan or Dia Mirza’s respective stalkers, as the stars turned to cops to curb the situation.
Bollywood has had a long history of star stalkers, and while the methods of shadowing vary, so do the ways in which they are dealt with. Shraddha’s for instance, was the first of its kind. But was Shraddha’s reaction the best? Counselling psychologist and psychotherapist, Dr. Kashish A. Chhabria believes that a stalker is never rational and must be dealt with stringently. “Stalking needs to be reported, just like you would report any other crime — by telling the police. A stalker sees some trait in the person that he is attracted to — so much so that they have a need to own the person.” A stalker isn’t bound by reality, and hence could be potentially dangerous, asserts psychologist Khyati Birla, “Asking your family or friends to get into the argument could tick them off, and worse, get them aggressive. Something like even changing your daily routine could trigger aggression in the stalker. Sitting them down and asking them to politely end the situation, may be construed as a chance to get to know you better.”
I once had a phone stalker. He used to call me from different numbers and say that he only wished to hear my voice. It was maddening. I had to keep my phone on silent throughout the day. I made a male friend speak to him and then the calls stopped. The incident happened four months ago and I haven’t received such calls since. Stalking can be very irritating for a celebrity and fans should know where to draw the line.
There was this girl from Spain who would follow all my social media accounts. Initially I enjoyed her inputs, because I found her to be a very intelligent observer. With time, she started writing long messages and would get offended when I would not respond. She later started getting into arguments with my friends and followers, and to my horror, once she landed in Mumbai out of the blue and insisted on meeting me. That was when I drew the line. I had to be curt and block her from all my social media accounts. I haven't largely changed the way I interact with my fans and I hate to be rude, but now I try to limit my interactions with them.
—Amit Ranjan, Model
There was a fan, who kept coming to my door every weekend. I had to alert the security guys to keep him away. When he got to know of this, he came disguised as a courier person! I finally met him and gave him a piece of my mind. There has to be boundary between a celebrity and a fan. Stalking is different and adulation is different. I am a fan-friendly individual. But one has to be firm if the boundaries are crossed. This happened over a year ago and the guy never turned up since.
—Ssharad Malhotra, Actor
I was once promoting a film in the South, at a mall. It was going well until a guy in the audience slashed his wrist in front of me. One moment he was fine, cheering me on and then just like that, he did something so crazy. I was whisked away from the spot. It was very disturbing.
— Adah Sharma, Actress