“Amitabh Bachchan Went to Pee”: This “Susu Journalism” is Just Sickening


“Amitabh Bachchan Went to Pee”: This “Susu Journalism” is Just Sickening

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

With over 907,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the country, a single fresh case should not dominate the news cycle. But when the patient is Amitabh Bachchan, things change. After testing positive for Covid-19 – along with his son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya, and granddaughter Aaradhya – over the weekend, Bachchan has been shifted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, and a media circus over his treatment has inevitably followed. Now, there’s no harm in reporting and putting out updates on the well-being of as famous a celebrity as Bachchan, but Indian TV news channels have taken their coverage to the point of parody, as usual.

Ever since Bachchan was first diagnosed with the coronavirus, there have been detailed “health updates” concerning nearly every minute detail of his treatment. This has led to the capture of some truly bizarre screenshots, which were then doing the rounds on Twitter for the world to enjoy. Channels like Aaj Tak and India TV were roasted for the subjects they chose to cover, like India TV providing the unsought-for scoop that Bachchan had a good night’s sleep, and ate breakfast in the morning.

Beyond the mundane news that Bachchan was sleeping and eating, there was also the “breaking news” that Bachchan even used the toilet during his stay in the hospital. Who knew Bollywood stars were also slaves to their bladders like mere mortals? Some users have hilariously dubbed this kind of coverage “susu journalism”, which is quite accurate.

Yes, the actor’s health is of concern but nobody is interested in Amitabh Bachchan’s toilet schedule. Many Twitter users have called out the media for focussing its attention on what is, in reality, a non-issue for anybody not personally connected to Bachchan.

However, the coverage should not be surprising, given the national obsession with Bollywood celebrities. The crappy (quite literally) content is also to be expected, since this is the same media ecosystem that reported on Saif Ali Khan’s toddler’s poop schedule and sensationalised the deaths of Sridevi and most recently Sushant Singh Rajput. Hopefully, Bachchan has a speedy recovery, if only so that the news cycle can move on from when was the last time he visited the loo.