Harshali Malhotra in a still from Bajrangi Bhaijaan Image: Facebook
In today’s world of instant gratification and dissatisfaction, all that glitters is trolled. Never in her wildest dream did child actor Harshali Malhotra of Bajrangi Bhaijaan fame imagine that she would invite the wrath of Facebook bullies for calling Katrina Kaif “Aunty”. Eight-year-old Harshali, who moved the entire nation without speaking a single word in the Salman Khan film is at the receiving end for simply wishing Kat on her 33rd birthday.
An innocent Harshali took to a social-networking site to wish Katrina last week after the Fitoor actress made her debut on FB. On July 16, Harshali posted a picture of herself in a Munni avatar sitting on Katrina’s lap with the caption: “Happy Birthday ... Katrina Kaif Auntie”.
It’s no secret that trolls are by people who spread negativity on the Internet through deception and their skewed views. But barely had Harshali posted the innocuous birthday wish, and all hell broke loose. Scores of Katrina fans trolled the child for calling their Chikni Chameli an “Aunty”.
What the bullies said
Some cyber-bullies lambasted the helpless child on social media sites and even questioned her very existence on FB. We do know (and don’t wish to know) who Vanshika Mehta is but this is what she wrote: “How DARE u called my Katrina Kaif auntie shame on u.” Another Kat fan Hetvi Shah wrote: “Harshali she is so gorgeous so aunty does not suit her call her didi.;... didi is better than aunty and u r also toooo cute!!!m a big fan of u harshali.....” While some trolled the little child, some took to stern messages like this one by Pawan Pande: “We love u Munni #HarshaaliMalhotra ..so much....But don't ever call her Auntie...She is as cute as u…”
While the innocuous “Aunty” compliment created an Internet storm, Katrina was impervious to the whole issue. In fact, a chilled-out Katrina replied to Harshali saying: “Thank You Love.” Bravo Katrina! FYI, we’re still wrapping our heads around to find out what’s wrong or offensive if an eight year-old child calls a 33-year-old woman “Aunty”. This is not the first time a B-town star has called a senior uncle or aunty with respect. Bollywood fashionista Sonam Kapoor had called her L’oreal collaborator Aishwarya Rai Bachchan “Aunty” after Saawariya turned her into a household name.
A research done by IPSOS – a global market research company found out that 3 out of 10 parents in India claim their children have been victims of cyber-bullying via FB. And we thought, our kids had to put up only with backyard bullies. In the real world it can be tough to tackle bullies, but FB has several effective tools to deal with people who abuse you. And the good news is that all those options are available at the click of a mouse!