Kollywood stars trending online due to enterprising fans
Cutouts and paal abishekams are passe.Welcome to the new form of Kollywood fandom,which is making the whole world notice your idol in j...
Fans of Tamil actors are now taking to Twitter to celebrate and popularize their favourite stars and their films by whipping up a frenzy around them and making them trend on the micro-blogging site. In the last few days, around half a dozen hashtags related to Kollywood have become the top trends worldwide or in India. These occurrences demonstrate the fantastic reach of online fan worship.
Karthik Srinivasan, national social media head at an ad agency, says that this phenomenon happens in any sphere where there are fans and powerful individuals — actors, politicians etc. "The difference is that this is visible to the whole world as against one area in the offline world," he says. "One would have thought this (kind of fandom) was relevant to the offline millions in India because a majority of them were illiterate. It is fascinating to see it work online too despite the fact that most of these people are educated and have a well-paying, busy jobs. I suppose the need to be part of a group trumps every other reason," he reasons.
Films, with their Friday-to-Friday window of attention, are the best benefactors of this trending feature, feels Karthik. "Any trend during those days will help in increasing the sales of tickets and drive heightened attention to the film," he says.
Fans say that they make concerted efforts to get a hashtag to become a top trend. "Once the idea is mooted, various online fan forums get together and start tweeting with the hashtag. Soon, this is taken up by the general twitterati, turning it into a trending topic," says Sundar Ramachandran, a 23-year-old Ajith fan. Such fan frenzy occurs online mainly to oneup fans of rival actors (if Vijay trends, Ajith too should is the overbearing logic), he says, but adds that it also allows fans to publicly showcase their love for the star.
He explains, "Today, with multiplexes cropping up all over, celebrations in theatres have come down. Even actors are a little wary of letting fans go wild in the real world as it involves spending a considerable amount of money and time on the part of fans. Even Thala disbanded fan clubs as he did not want us to ignore our duties. But online activities like these cost nothing, take only a few minutes and still help us share our passion."
Meanwhile, Vijay fans took to Twitter to not only wish their star on his wedding anniversary, but also to share their indignation at the indifferent manner in which the star was treated at the 100 Years Of Indian Cinema celebrations. "These platforms give us an outlet to not only share our joy, but also voice our frustrations," says Madhivanan P, a sales executive and a die-hard Vijay fan. Karthik suggests that film publicists should now co-create content and work alongside these fans. "It would be good for film publicists to pick a few leading influencers and work closely with them to whip up a frenzy online. The flipside is the excessive spamming,which may turn counterproductive," he says.