The one thing that India is extremely sensitive about, besides its cultural values and increasing economic progress, is its celebrities.
Be it cricket players or film actors, Indians can just not tolerate any kind of nub or insult thrown towards their legends.
As a more recent example of this strong statement, professional tennis player and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova incurred the wrath of the entire Indian nation when she revealed that she didn’t know who Sachin Tendulkar was.
In a post-match conference on Tuesday, Sharapova was asked if she knew who was watching her from the Royal Box at Centre Court during her third-round win against American Alison Riske on June 28.
While she mentioned that she was aware of soccer legend David Beckham’s presence, she could not name world-renown batsman Sachin Tendulkar – who is considered a ‘cricketing God’ in India – because she didn’t know him.
This answer was enough to ignite a flare of intense backlash from Indian fans on social media.
In retaliation, Indians started the hashtag #WhoisMariaSharapova on Twitter so much so that it became a worldwide trend past week.
Some called the tennis star an “atheist” while others prayed for her “forgiveness” for she had committed a “sin”.
If one goes by logic, blaming Sharapova for her lack of understanding of Indian cricket, or the sport in general, doesn’t really make much sense.
However, Indians rarely forgive when it comes to their celebrity-legends because they are often worshipped as gods – like literally not figuratively.
Therefore, to make sure an incident like this never happens again, here are some A-list celebrities from India’s film industry aka Bollywood who are also gods.
Remember, snubbing the following is akin to blasphemy.
You might remember him from 2013 screen-adaptation of The Great Gatsby in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim.
Well, he is more than just that.
Popularly known as India's first "angry young man" for his roles in Bollywood movies, Bachan has appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the entire history of Indian cinema.
Bachan’s fans in the Indian city of Kolkata have built a temple in his name where they worship their entertainment idol.
Also, his family is referred to as the “First Family of Bollywood”.
Shah Rukh Khan (SRK):
Known as the "King Khan" of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan aka SRK has appeared in over 50 Hindi films.
His versatile work and acting skills have garnered him numerous achievements, including dominance in both Filmfare Awards nominations and wins – an accolade which can be called the Oscars Indian equivalent.
Although other actors such as Salman Khan and Amir Khan are equally popular, only SRK enjoys the status of a demigod in India.
Just like Bachan, he also has a temple in Kolakata.
Remember the Indian celebrity who got 250,000 followers on Tiwtter with just one tweet earlier in May?
Rajnikanth holds a matinee idol status especially in South India. Just to put it in a nutshell he is the ultimate god of the Indian film industry.
Along with his unique style of delivering dialogues, his bizarre fighting sequences in movies are as popular as Jackie Chan’s in Hollywood.
In fact, Rajnikanth became the highest paid actor in Asia following Chan after earning INR26 crore (US$4.4 million) for his role in the 2007 South Indian movie Sivaji.
In the video below, around 5000 Rajnikanth fans can be seen organising a mega spiritual event to celebrate the release of one of his films.
Former Miss World (1994), Aishwarya Rai is regarded as one of the most popular and influential celebrities in India, often called the "most beautiful woman in the world" by media organizations all over the world.
She made her acting debut in 1997 and has since earned wide public recognition for her role in a variety of Bollywood movies as well as Hollywod’s 2009 Harald Zwart-directed spy comedy The Pink Panther 2 in which she starred alongside Steve Martin.
For Indians, the “goddess of beauty” is Aishwarya Rai.
Moreover, she is also the First Daughter-in-Law of Bollywood. She is married to Amitabh Bachan’s son Abhishek Bachan – who is also an actor.
One of the pioneers of Indian cinema, Dilip Kumar is a living legend Indian popularly known as the Tragedy King. He is described as "the ultimate method actor" who has appeared in over 60 films in a career spanning over sixty years.
He is often referred to as the “god of Bollywood” not only by his fans but also by his fellow actors including Amitabh Bachan who described Kumar as “the greatest actor ever” in a blogpost.
Although there are a number of world-renown Indian celebrities, these five in particular are considered gods (and goddess) in India.