On Tuesday (21 February), the 29-year-old Bollywood actor re-posted a screenshot of the photographs allegedly purchased by Times of India, which showed her sitting in her living room, unaware that she is being photographed from a nearby building.
Bhatt tagged the Mumbai Police in her post and asked them to take action against the concerned media house as it “crossed all boundaries”.
“Are you kidding me?” Bhatt wrote on Instagram. “I was at my house having a perfectly normal afternoon sitting in my living room when I felt something watching me.
“I looked up and saw two men on the terrace of my neighbouring building with a camera right at me!” she added. “In what world is this ok and allowed? This is a gross invasion of someone’s privacy. There’s a line you just cannot cross and it’s safe to say all lines were crossed today.”
Bhatt has received support from fans and friends on the matter.
“Absolutely shameless,” Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor wrote on Instagram. “This is crossing all limits if a woman isn’t feeling safe in her own home, forget if she’s a public figure or not for a second.
“Any sane person who takes photographs of public figures for a living needs to know that this pathetic conduct, and these are people in the media we have trusted and shown implicit faith in believing they are here to do a job, not to make women feel unsafe or invade one’s privacy.
“This is nothing short of stalking, @mumbaipolice.”
Actor Anushka Sharma added: “This is not the first time [TOI] is doing this.
“About two years ago we called them out for the same reason. You’d think it would have made them more respectful of people’s space and privacy.”
Sharma added that the accused outlet was “also the only guys posting photos” of her and Virat Kohli’s “daughter despite repeated requests”.
Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor also shared how she faced a similar situation.
She wrote on her Instagram stories: “This is disgustingly intrusive. This publication has repeatedly done things like this. Including, despite my continuous requests, photographed me unaware; inside the gym I go to while working out through the glass door.
“In a space that is supposed to be private, where one does not anticipate to get photographed.
“I understand showing up to places, and in plain sight doing your job. Where there is a mutual understanding of the job of the photographers, and the job and requirements of being a public figure. This stealthiness, zooming into someone’s private space without their consent or even awareness and calling it exclusive as if it’s a journalistic accomplishment is far from it [sic].”
In India, the protection of a celebrity’s interests is possible under trademark and copyright legislations.
The Trademarks Act of 1999 and the Copyright Act of 1957 both contain provisions relating to the right to publicity, and India now recognises the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
In the UK, under the Act 8 everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life, home and correspondence. Celebrities and private individuals are protected from being photographed without their permission in a location where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.