One of the biggest drawbacks of social media is its ability to gain herd mentality in compounding time. Mark Zuckerberg’s world changing product has given birth to slew of stunts from celebrities taking emotional fans for a ride and stupid followers mobbing to it. It has made us lesser mortals look emotionally stupid and randomly abused.
Bollywood has pioneered that art in India. No politician, cricketer or religious leader (the three most other popular faces) have thought of emotionally moving people via social media to garner revenues or sympathy. But Bollywood rides on their glossy looks, designer dresses and fake photo ops to take citizens for a ride.
It reached new low this week when the country’s biggest superstar for four decades, Amitabh Bachchan (yes more popular than Sachin Tendulkar) used social media to write a letter to his grand daughter giving lectures on woman’s empowerment and equality status.
This week, as its days away from his upcoming movie release ‘Pink’, a tale of women’s equality and fight for justice. Pink has a fantastic trailer and looks promising, but the urge to fool people and collect more revenue via ticket sales has taken over the legendary Big B too. Naturally the content of his letter is now secondary and that’s a shame.
He isn’t the first, here’s list of nine actors who regularly fool the public with farce PR stunts.
1. Deepika Padukone
Deepika is queen of pre release farce stunts. Recall her feminism videos just before release of ‘Piku‘, change of name controversy for ‘Ram Leela’ or cleavage controversy with Times of India before a controversially titled ‘Finding Fanny’. Fans globally were all at rage in each of these instances fighting for the lady’s rights, unfriending friends and hurling abuses. Today they are all enjoying her cleavage pics alone – minus the friends they lost to stupidity.
2. Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh is the king of farcical stunts to promote own movies. Infact he is the Pioneer in social media era – starting it all way back in 2008.
Before release of ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ he claimed ‘no other Bollywood actor could sell a film the way he did’. Obviously it created a storm over media, social media and publicity for movie.
Shah Rukh’s list of controversies prior to movie releases is so big that I might as well write a separate blog on him. Whether fuelling (needlessly) to ‘intolerance’ debate before ‘Diwale‘ release or claimin foul to USA airport security body searching him before ‘My Name is Khan‘ release promo. Shah Rukh acted so shocked as if was one would believe that Indians (or other tourists) travelling around the world aren’t body searched ever.
3. Aamir Khan
If Shahrukh is king of farce stunts then Aamir Khan maybe the emperor. This is because Amir puts layers of emotional butter, human rights activism and self righteousness to his pre release promotions.
Before release of ‘Ghajini’, he took clue from the king and claimed ‘to have a dog named Shahrukh’! Tasteless and clear loss of memory!
Before the social media era back in 2006, Aamir joined the Narmada Bachao Andolan on back of his ‘Rang De Basanti’ success and couple of weeks before release of ‘Fanaa’. He joined the Anna Hazare movement in Delhi 2011, couple of weeks before release of his production ‘Delhi Belly’!
The activism stunts aside, his much acclaimed ‘Satyameva Jayate Series’ season 3 was believed to be times on verge of release of ‘PK‘.
4. Shenaz Treasurywala
The prize for ‘who started the public letter’ stunt trend probably goes to one time model, VJ, actress Shenaz Treasurywala. She wrote a letter two weeks prior to release of a film, the name of which I didn’t even notice then, on eve teasing. The letter was addressed to (hold your breath) PM Modi, Tendulkar, Bachchan, Khan, Khan, Khan (you guessed it) and Ambani!!! Her choice of recepients covered four industries – Politics, Bollywood, Cricket, Business! On eve teasing!
5. Kalki Koechlin
Kalki has been a brilliant actress and respected figure for firmly planting her personality in an alien industry – not known to be kind to foreigners, before Sunny Leone & Katrina Kaif. She however fell for the Shenaz stunt trap and came out with her own childhood molestation confession, one week before release of ‘Margarita with a straw’!
Childhood molestation is an extremely sensitive topic and making a farce about it gives no integrity to the actor or to the magnitude of the issue. Someone should have sued her for trivializing such a critical issue.
6. Radhika Apte
Radhika has been a brilliant actress and respected figure for firmly planting her personality in an alien industry – not known to be kind to dark skinned actress in recent decades. What forced to get (seemingly) her nude pics released on internet, and then the actress to deny it is anybody’s guess. All this happened dot couple of weeks before her movie release ‘Hunterr‘ (2015). Hunterr was a story of a sexually hyper active man looking to ‘hunt’ anywhere, anytime, anyone.
7. Salman Khan
Salman has stayed relatively free of pre movie release stunts in the last decade. He actually doesn’t need to. His real life controversies more than make up for any additional publicity required to promote his films.
But back in 2005, on verge of release of ‘Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya‘, a 2001 tape was released where Salman was threatening Aishwarya Rai. Why the tape was released in 2005 and not 2001 is your guess. Few years later he criticised Shahrukh Khan on verge of his ‘Wanted‘ movie release.
Any war of words amongst the Khans before movie release is good publicity for naive and masala seeking Indian fans. They pay back in revenue. Q.E.D.
8. Riya Sen & Ashmit Patel
An x rated mms clip with boyfriend Ashmit Patel, for Ashmit Patel’s upcoming movie publicity, finished Riya Sen’s career. Ashmit Patel’s career hadn’t got off in any case. What we were left with was a poor quality mms clip – the best masala option before social media era.
That mms lip lock before release of Jab We Met was neither titilating nor exciting. That the couple had broken up even before release of that mms, made us onlookers more stupid!
10 Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan recently sparked off controversy about the responsibility of Muslims towards India. I have covered it in a separate blog so won’t repeat here.
Oh am I forgetting Hrithik’s affairs and divorce announcement timings? Fakewood I say.