For a little more than a year now, Bollywood on social media has been a very cozy family.
If one was to scroll through anyone’s TL, you’ll come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with all the love everyone showering over each other. Everyone constantly loves everything everyone is doing.
Actors are tweeting praise, dub-smashing and making videos to promote each other's works. And, why not? Digital publicity is like instant noodle — its quick, cheap and get a lot of mileage.
Someone like Ranveer Singh goes out of his way to dance on a street corner (for Hrithik Roshan’s Bang Bang) or dress up in a Naval Officer’s uniform (for Akshay Kumar’s Rustom).
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) September 25, 2014
Agreed everyone is not as exuberant as Ranveer, but today it is expected that from the first poster launch to finally when the film releases, friends and contemporaries will at least tweet if not do more to promote it.
More so if it’s someone an actor or director hopes to work with someday. These tweets are either sycophantic or favours doled out by those at the top of the food chain. (Notice the sly plug of one's own film)
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) September 2, 2016
Last month, Ranbir Kapoor, in an interview with Rajeev Masand, was talking about social media and how proficient his Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director Karan Johar is on various mediums.
“Karan is the mother of social media...like it all stems from him," Ranbir joked, before adding, “I see that he's taken up a lot of responsibility and it's become a headache. He has to tweet about this one and some sporting event that he doesn't even know of; about somebody's trailer; about a film that he hasn't even liked.”
Around a film release actors call in all favours they can.
Recently, I was interviewing a newbie who midway through the interview realized that he has forgotten to schedule a tweet for a particular time to promote a trailer. He couldn’t decide where he wanted to describe the trailer as ‘explosive’ or ‘kickass’. After much mulling, he picked an adjective and his manager posted the tweet for him. Had he seen the promo? “No. But I was asked and she has promised to tweet about my films so…”, he said with a shrug.
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) August 8, 2016
Before the advent of social media, the only time industrywallahs had to lie to each other was if they met at a social do or for a film screening. At the end of any screening, the film’s cast and crew would stand at the exit and the audience was expected to walk out complimenting the film even if they hated it.
Lines like ‘picture/jodi hit hai’ or ‘kya screen presence hai’ would get tossed around if the film was a turkey. On the face of it, Ajay Deygn's tweet on Thursday night took on only Kamaal R Khan, but it also exposed the industry's fault lines once again.
Roughly eight years ago, Karan Johar had written a post on his blog mynameiskaran.com. The site doesn’t exist anymore but here’s what he had written about the premiere of the Saawariya.
“The lights came up at the premiere of the highly anticipated Saawariya. The crème de la crème of the film fraternity walked out in silence. The customary praise and calculated adulation was shared with the cast and crew of the film. Everyone got into their cars and left the venue. And then…the mobiles came out. The real reviews came crackling through Nokia Communicators and bejeweled Motorola’s. Opinions from the color palette to the pace of the film were animatedly discussed. The fraternity was happy. The fraternity was celebrating. Celebrating the failure of a film. Celebrating the failure of a filmmaker."
This is the true nature of showbiz.
Everyone in the industry is in competition with each other. Egos are fragile, reputations even more so. And, everyone lies. Social media has just made it easier for them to pretend that they are one big happy family.
But every once in a while that mask slips a tiny bit.