On December 16 last year we had put up a guest blog post on Koimoi.com titled, In Defense Of Shah Rukh Khan. Koimoi.com and the writer received a lot of feedback, some good, some not so good. Here’s what the writer has to say about the ‘negative’ feedback he received…
Less than a month ago, Koimoi.com was kind enough to share a blog post of mine titled, In Defense of Shah Rukh Khan. Since then I have received a lot of feedback, some positive and mostly negative, regarding the short piece I wrote, which analysed promotional strategies and the recent controversies Shah Rukh Khan had been embroiled in. Before I begin this post, discussing how excessive bashing of other stars is detrimental to Bollywood as a whole, let me tell you a little about my experience after the entry appeared on Koimoi.com….
I was swarmed by a ton of tweets and comments stating anything and everything from “Salman Khan is the best actor” to downright racist and homophobic insults directed at me, my family, my friends and Shah Rukh Khan. Believe it or not, I also received a few death threats. The blog post In Defense of Shah Rukh Khan was only meant to be what the title suggested. It did not contain any insult to Salman Khan as Koimoi.com even clarified in a separate article on their website. I do not understand how Salman Khan’s fans got the idea that I was bashing their star but the resulting abuse that I received has surely poisoned me to some degree against their idol. I am sure it has done the same for many people. I specifically warned against such behavior but no one heeded my advice.
Shah Rukh Khan Fans Don’t Despise Salman Khan
When someone is a Shah Rukh Khan fan, it does not mean that they despise Salman Khan or any other actor. The whole world does not function on a Shah Rukh Vs Salman wavelength. Since then (the time of writing the post), I have watched Ready, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and some other Salman Khan films, but Shah Rukh still remains by favourite. Salman Khan is a great entertainer but I guess you like what you like. Shah Rukh is by far one of the finest actors and, as he says so modestly, “has no competition”. That is my opinion and I am entitled to it.
Salman Khan is a great entertainer but I guess you like what you like.
Insulting someone’s favourite actor using the social media, which has quite a wide audience, through racist and homophobic comments not only reflects poorly on you but it also reflects poorly on your idol. The person who reads such insults will only associate the abuse with your idol. In my case, no matter how much I try to assign blame to certain individuals, the abuse has been coupled with Salman Khan’s image. This detracts from the enjoyment I receive from watching his films. It also makes me want to avoid his movies altogether because the memory of abuse from his fans has been seared into my mind. I am not alone in this sentiment. The number of groups stating that they will boycott Salman Khan’s films has increased on Facebook and Twitter too. One such group has almost 10,000 members. Believe what you want, but many of those people will not watch his films in a theatre. This will harm his films to some degree as movie-going is a social event and it will harm Bollywood more than anything else.
The same sort of abuse directed towards one star will be hurled back at the other. The cycle will continue and more individuals will get involved. People who perhaps are Shah Rukh Khan fans but watch Salman Khan’s films and vice-versa will be forced to pick sides. Again, this will hurt Bollywood because it separates fans into various factions that only support their favourite star and watch his films only. Cinema, which involves a lot of hard work, may suffer and will not be appreciated due to the idiocy of these conflicts. This divide will be evident in 2012 when Salman and Shah Rukh’s next projects will come out. The negativity surrounding Salman Khan’s films should not come as a shock to the hate mongers because you reap what you sow.
Not expecting a reaction from the other side is just foolhardy. I am not the only one saying this.
Entertainment should be treated as entertainment rather than an epic conflict involving two or more stars.
At the end of the day, I hope I am wrong but I have a feeling my prognostication is valid. Again, I would advise all individuals engaging in such rude behavior to quit it. Parodying a body of work, a film, is one thing, but taking the hatred to the level of racism, homophobia and threats of violence is another thing altogether. Entertainment should be treated as entertainment rather than an epic conflict involving two or more stars. Let Bollywood try to improve its content, through technique or other aspects, so that it can create true world cinema. Instead of bringing people down for taking risks and thinking differently, let us try and support them for a change. Who knows, in doing so maybe Hollywood’s days as “the world’s premier entertainment manufacturer may be numbered”.
The writer is a medical student in Washington DC. His twitter id is @ashermadan.
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