Fame is a tricky goddess, bestowing her blessings on the most unusual bunch of people. The year 2011 saw 30 seconds of fame for a wannabe model, a porn star Indians hadn't heard of, an enraged self-styled crusader who slapped a minister, a song of jilted love that went viral and a respected former cop-turned-activist.
Here are five headline-hunters of 2011:
1. Sunny Leone:
Sunny Leone, who? You may have asked only a few months ago, but say that now and you will be laughed at by those in the know. She is perhaps one of the better-behaved women in the blockbuster reality show Big Boss 5. But unlike many in the house who grabbed limelight by spouting buckets of choicest abuses and obscenities, she looks demure and talks pleasantly. If you did not know her background, you would not know she is a porn star. Born Karanjit Kaur and variously called Karen Malhotra, this lissome 30-something Indo-Canadian has acted in scores of porn movies and directed a few of the flicks. Now, she is the most googled Indian celebrity after Katrina Kaif. Sunny times indeed!
2. Poonam Pandey:
Stripping for a cause? Here is another woman who made headlines when she threatened to walk naked if that helped the inspiration-starved Men in Blue win the match. Team India went on to win the cricket World Cup. It's a different matter though she didn't keep her promise! Her video, "My Bathing Secrets", was such a hit that even hotel heiress Paris Hilton is known to be following her on Twitter.3. Harvinder Singh:
The government may have fobbed off Anna Hazare with elaborate promises, but Gandhian methods are not for everyone. Apparently disgusted with scam after scam and soaring prices, Harvinder Singh, a resident of Delhi, slapped Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar with TV cameras rolling on. "Sab chor hain...cheer doonga... cheer doonga (They're all thieves. I will rip them apart)," he shouted as he was arrested by police. He spent nearly three weeks in a Delhi jail. Earlier, Singh had attacked former telecom minister Sukhram at the court promises for his alleged involvement in a telecom scam. The 30-something Singh has been identified as an autorickshaw driver and is reported to be on medicines for the past eight years for depression.
4. Kiran Bedi:
The year 2011 saw Kiran Bedi, who earned the nickname 'Crane Bedi' after she got the car of then prime minister Indira Gandhi towed for a parking violation, reinventing herself as an activist and an anti-corruption crusader. One fine day, at the height of the Lok Pal agitation, Bedi got carried away by her rhetoric, grabbed a towel from a person on the Ram Lila Grounds stage and wrapped it around her head to mock politicians for hiding behind masks. That still of a former cop taunting the politicians became one of the most repeated TV footage and the "ghoongat act" went viral on YouTube as well. Politicians were not amused. But an unrepentant Bedi tweeted: "Sorry no apology for being demonstratively a voice of public anguish. Prepared for any punishment."
5. Kolaveri Di/Dhanush:
In more innocent times, love and its demons drove the eros-stricken to suicide, but in times of new age media the "killer rage" has staged a comeback, and is making money and busting charts. Tamil star Dhanush's song of 'jilted love' ('kolaveri di' means killer rage in Tamil) has become a runaway blockbuster and has already crossed the 10 million-mark since its release Nov 16 on YouTube. Composed by 18-year-old Anirudh Ravichander, this lyric in Tanglish (a mix of Tamil and English), funny, sad and rocking in turns, is a rage. From the young to the old, housewives to kids, the song is on just about everybody's lips. Dhanush is the son-in-law of Tamil superstar Rajnikanth. Even Amitabh Bachchan has been smitten by it.