Discourses of Hindi film fandom and the confluence of the popular, the public, and the political

  • Sreya Mitra American University of Sharjah
Keywords: Bollywood, Indian fandom, Internet trolls, Social media, Stardom

Abstract

Indian fandom reconstituted as a more participatory culture with the emergence of online cyber communities in the late 1990s to early 2000s, a move accompanied by shifts in the Indian mediascape. With increasing synergy among film, television, and digital media, Bollywood stars were consequently remade as transmedia celebrities. Bollywood stars use digital media such as Twitter and Instagram for promotion and publicity, but such use has created a new type of Bollywood fan: the internet troll. As film personalities now actively engage with social media, incessantly tweeting and sharing pictures, the line has blurred between the reel and the real, the public and the private. Fans having perceived access to the private, off-screen personas of their film idols has further complicated both discourses of contemporary Bollywood stardom and fandom. Stars' and fan's engagement and interaction on social media reveals the so-called disrespectful troll to be not merely a more active participant but a fundamental reworking of the relationship between star and fan, which had been founded primarily on admiration and veneration. This reworking has provided a space for political mobilization in the Indian (online) public space offered by digital platforms and social networking sites.

Published
2020-09-15
Section
Praxis