Weren't you the crazy fan of a star when you were a kid? Didn't you have your favorite movie star's poster all over the wall? Whether it's Rajinikanth or Sachin Tendulkar or in the past, Narendra Modi— or Indira Gandhi — Indians, particularly those living south of the Vindhyas, extend their adulation to extremes for their icons.
People who can relate to these problems are believed to be obsessed with celebrities and have a name for this obsession. Yes! It is known as Celebrity Worship Syndrome. It is the obsessive tendency to learn about and interact with celebrities. This obsession, be it authors, politicians, journalists or film stars, can be with anyone in the public eye. However, research and criminal prosecutions show that they are more probable to be someone from the TV, film and/or pop music world. Obsession can lessen the analytical thinking of an individual, and it is hard to differentiate between illusion and reality for the individual who goes through it.
Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) is an obsessive-addictive disease that generally involves a person too much in a celebrity's personal and professional life data. Psychologists have pointed out that while many people are obsessed with stars of movies, television, sport and pop, the only common factor among them is that they are all figures in the public eye.
The bulk of all stalking cases are simple obsessional stalking, 69–79 percent anywhere, and male-dominated. Usually, this form of stalking is associated with individuals who shared previous personal relationships with their victims. However, this is not necessarily the case between a common public member showing celebrity worship syndrome and the known person with whom they are obsessed with. Individuals who meet the criteria of being labeled a "simple obsessional stalker" tend to share a number of characteristics including an inability to have efficient personal relationships in their own lives, social awkwardness, impotence feelings, a sense of insecurity, and very low self-esteem. In the obsession these individuals develop with their victim, the famous person in this scenario, low self-esteem plays a significant role. If the person is unable to associate with the celebrity with which they are obsessed, their own sense of self-worth may reduce.
People who demonstrate this stalking behavior are likely to have a mental disorder, generally either schizophrenia or paranoia. Obsessional love stalkers often convince themselves to be in the realm of their obsession subject. For instance, a female who had been stalking David Letterman for a total of five years asserted to be his spouse when she had no private link with him.
Other celebrities that fell victim to such stalking include Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Mila Kunis, and many other stars from the A-list.
Such worship was depicted in many Bollywood movies like Guddi, featuring Jaya Bachchan, a protagonist with a major crush on film star Dharmendra played by Dharmendra himself. She plays a college girl in a small town who sees him as a superman, who can do nothing wrong and is immensely infatuated with Guddi, the character can not distinguish between the on-screen films.
Fan, showing Shahrukh Khan as Gaurav, obsessed with Shahrukh Khan (played by him) as the superstar, is another film portraying the same syndrome.
Now, the question arises, how does this obsession occur in an individual's mind?
Depression, depression, and self-declination are just some of the documented problems that may occur when we focus all of our energy on the life of a celebrity. Looking at a role model to emulate a hero or a successor is both normal and perhaps even desirable, but crossing the logic boundary clearly raises mental health issues. Some researchers attributed severe celebrity worship to anxiety, paranoia, and low self-esteem.
It is possible that people who are denied normal interactions take comfort and get vicarious kicks in imagined links with celebrities. As for India, it is also likely that the multiplicity of Hindu gods will cause Indians to see an all-powerful in every celebration of which they are insane.
In the case of film stars, sports icons or other artists, some of the absurd cases of this syndrome may also be gimmicks arranged for advertising. And it can only be presumed that some cases in politics feed egos with sycophancy. After all, the cult of personality is the foundation on which the building of Indian democracy is based, isn't it?
But in short, celebrity worshipping in its pathological version is the consequence of an undesirable state of mind.
It's not as bad as you think, though.