Director Shankar criticised for not tweeting on Sterlite protests in time: Can a celebrity truly be themselves on Twitter?

Sreedhar Pillai

May 24, 2018 12:09:41 IST

Celebrities in Bollywood and Kollywood who wax eloquent on social or political issues are now finding themselves in embarrassing situations. Their tweets or Facebook posts shared innocently may come back to haunt them.

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar had tweeted in 2012 during UPA governance: “Guys, I think it’s time to clean up your bicycles and hit the road! As per sources, expecting another petrol price hike.” Now that petrol prices have hit record high during BJP governance, Akshay has conveniently deleted the tweet, and it getting trolled for it.

In the south, popular director Shankar had tweeted a congratulatory message on Chennai Super King’s victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2018 playoff and entry into finals. Shankar had compared CSK to the Avengers and tweeted –“ CSK- The Avengers.. full of heroes.. what a match”.

Director Shankar criticised for not tweeting on Sterlite protests in time: Can a celebrity truly be themselves on Twitter?

However, according to netizens, Shankar did the unpardonable; he didn't expressed his anguish on Twitter over the 11 people who lost their life in police firing the same day in Tuticorin during the Sterlite protest. By morning Shankar had deleted his CSK victory tweet and made peace by tweeting – “It is shocking and painful.. my deepest heart felt condolences to the families of the people who died in tuticorin”

All top heroes and directors in Tamil films like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Surya, Dhanush, Vishal, AR Murgadoss and an upcoming actor like GV Prakash had made sympathetic comments on the Sterlite issue and the police killings in Tuticorin. Kamal Haasan has already visited Tuticorin by 23 May morning and will be going to Bengalooru for the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy. The reason being given is that if he goes for Kumaraswamy’s swearing in ceremony it will help him later in “an open dialogue for Cauvery, which is also a very important issue for people of Tamil Nadu”. Now the question being asked is whether Rajinikanth will visit Tuticorin?

Rajinikanth with Kamal Haasan. File Photo

Rajinikanth with Kamal Haasan. File Photo

It looks like more and more actors are taking up social and political issues as it gets them huge reach and visibility, increasing their fan base. Tamil actors are increasingly finding out that social media is the best place to get that reach. Last week, Kamal Haasan overtook Rajinikanth on the number of followers on Twitter as he crossed 5 million. Kamal joined Twitter a few years after Rajinikanth started his official account. However Rajinikanth is not so far behind with around 4.68 million and the see-saw battle for followers will only increase as both are in the political space. Tamil newspapers are increasingly using Twitter quotes and statements for their articles on Kollywood celebs. Actors who refuse to comment on issues pertaining to the state are trolled and often teased by politicians. Rajinikanth, under pressure for not speaking against the BJP government at the centre, was forced to break his silence over the Karnataka issue. The Tamil superstar, whose Kaala is releasing on 7 June, finally said: “What happened in Karnataka yesterday was a win for democracy. BJP asking for some more time and Governor giving 15 days time was a mockery of democracy. I would like to thank Supreme Court for its order, which upheld the democracy.” In today’s political climate, every Tamil actor believes that he should comment on social issues plaguing the state, which will get retweeted by his army of fans. After the police firing in Tuticorin, Madhavan tweeted about a news report:

Now every actor who kept their personal feelings and allegiances in secrecy have to come out and express themselves via social media to be heard and recognised.

Updated Date: May 24, 2018 12:16:56 IST