The social networking site Twitter has been trying to clean up the phenomenon of fake followers that assail it and one of the unexpected consequences of their measures has been in the mental state of Amitabh Bachchan.
With 32.9 million followers, he has been the most followed Indian celebrity on Twitter but then realised that Shah Rukh Khan had narrowly dethroned him. If that had been because of Shah Rukh getting more followers, it would have been palatable. But Amitabh realised that the number of his own followers had actually come down. This seems to have somewhat unsettled him going by the tweets he made later on the subject. First there was a direct threat to Twitter that he might even leave their site. He tweeted: ‘TWITTER .!!!?? you reduced my number of followers .. !!??HAHAHAHAHAHAHA .. !! thats a joke .. time to get off from you .. thank you for the ride .. there are many ‘other’ fish in the sea – and a lot more exciting !!’ Then there were a flurry of retweets that he made of his followers glorifying him. And then there was this cryptic tweet which didn’t really make much sense:‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ...social media – you are a delight !! Following Followers & Tweets – you are a delight .. who to follow, you are a delight .. India Trends – you are delight .. Each human in World a delight .. coz’ we are all TWITTERED’
What can be made of all this is that, even though couching it as humour, Amitabh seems to have taken Twitter’s move as a personal insult? But there is no real cause for this. A large number of followers are bots, software programmes unleashed by commercial agencies, and Twitter is only trying to eliminate this. If Amitabh’s grouse is that they singled him out, then it means he takes social networking too seriously and as a reflection of his own popularity. He doesn’t really need that affirmation since his fan base is there for all to see. It can sometimes be surprising just how insecure superstars can be about their popularity.
The movie critics have been so-so about Padmaavat but quite strangely one of the most scathing reviews came from an actress.
Swara Bhaskar saw the movie and then penned an Open Letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali in an online magazine. She began by recounting her own admiration for and association with Bhansali. She had a two minute role in Guzaarish and Bhansali had still asked for her opinion about her lines and that she said had been a great moment for her. But after homilies, Swara went on to Padmaavat and said that the movie was demeaning to her as a woman because of the manner in which the women in the movie committed mass suicide in the face of the kingdom being taken over by an invader.
She wrote, ‘Practices like Sati, Jauhar, FGM, Honour Killings should not be glorified because they don’t merely deny women equality, they deny women personhood. They deny women humanity. They deny women the right to life. And that is wrong. One would have assumed that in 2018, this is not a point that even needs to be made; but apparently, it does.’
Swara got a lot of adverse reactions for her letter. Some questioned her own choice of movies. The cast of Padmaavat also thought that she had overreacted. Deepika Padukone, for instance, said in a media interview that Swara had probably been out buying popcorn when the disclaimers of the movie being fiction were shown in the beginning. Also, she added that these acts of suicide by the characters should be viewed in the context of the time when it happened and that it was a celebration of the strength of women. Ranveer Singh, the anti-hero of Padmaavat, when asked to comment said that Swara had sent him a message saying that she loved his role in the movie. Shahid Kapoor, also a main lead, said that he had not read the letter but considering the difficulties the film had gone through, it was perhaps not the right time for a missive like this. But he thought everyone had a right to their point of view.
Shah Rukh Khan faces legal wrangling
Shah Rukh Khan found himself in the middle of a legal wrangle recently. It had to do with a plot of land in a seaside region just on the outskirts of Mumbai.
Shah Rukh reportedly had a sprawling five-acre farmhouse with a huge mansion there. The only problem was that the land was allegedly purchased for agricultural use under a private company’s name and converting it into a farmhouse was illegal. The Income Tax department has therefore attached the property. Earlier in life, Shah Rukh had issues with an extension in the Mumbai plot where his present house is located. But he had managed to finish the work then. What is mystifying is why incredibly rich celebrities would cut corners when they could easily have paid more in a perfectly legal transaction and get a similar property without the accompanying headaches.
IN COURT: The authorities have attached a farm house owned by the star in outskirts of Mumbai.
Ranbir, Alia affair
The hot new rumoured affair making news in town between two A-list stars is that of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. They are starring together in a superhero flick being called Brahmastra and that apparently brought them together.
The rumours flared up when it became known that they had gone to Tel Aviv but then it was said to be a work visit to do a recce for the movie along with its director. That itself is a little strange because actors don’t really go for such recces. A gossip webzine also had more details about the budding relationship. Apparently, the two spend a lot of time at each other’s houses and it is done with secrecy to keep the prying media away. Their cars are sent away so that no one would come to know if they are there. There is also a lot of late night partying. What is a little ironic is that Alia is said to be a good friend of Katrina Kaif, who used to be Ranbir’s girlfriend. Of course, none of this is confirmed and right now is all speculation. And given the fact that they are appearing in a movie, it might very well be some clever publicity mongering.
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