Right now in Bollywood, blogging is the latest trend to hit the headlines (following size zero fever and big stars doing big dance numbers in big films) and is creating waves throughout the industry. Never before have big A-list stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan been so accessible to the average net-savvy person on the street, with their blogs detailing their day to day activities, their thoughts on the world and even allowing people to chat with their favourite stars as well.
In the pre-blog era, one had to be content with magazines doing ” a day in the life of…” which was the not the eye opener one would have hoped it to be – instead, staged photos with hit and miss witty remarks filled up a few pages nicely without saying much. But the blogs take one much further than the staged photoshoot and as well as being a boon for lazy journalists, it is also a very rare insight into a world that one hardly ever gets to see the inside of.
Taking the award (oops, credit, Aamir doesn’t accept awards!) for blogging fever is none other than Aamir Khan, who has set many a trend in Bollywood (changing one’s look for each role, doing one film at a time, producing/directing). What makes Aamir’s blog a must read is the fact the man himself boycotts the media and an Aamir interview is as rare as a blue moon (even when promoting a film) and the biggest irony is, it is Aamir’s blog that is making headline news in the mainstream media in India.
Most recently, there was outrage when Aamir showed his sense of humour (an actor with a sense of humour? In Bollywood? Kabhi nahin! [never!]) with the following line:
“Shahrukh is licking my feet and I am feeding him biscuits every now and then.”
Of course, he was referring to the name of his caretaker’s dog who shares a name with the popular movie star but Shah Rukh’s fans were less than impressed and Aamir had to hastily apologise (although not through his blog – smart man is our Aamir – not for nothing he called the thinking actor) but this incident certainly announced how the blog is the new tool of choice for Bollywood stars to gain maximum publicity with minimum effort. Not only that, but perhaps for the first time, the star can bypass the media and communicate directly with fans, whilst the media now has an easily accessible source to tap on slow news days.
Another A-list blogger who has gotten into trouble is Amitabh Bachchan. Generating more column inches than Victoria Beckham for anything he does, Mr Bachchan’s blog makes for incredibly interesting reading as not only does he does he blog about his day to day life but also includes stories from his childhood and responds to the constant media allegations that are made against him and his family. Recently, he walked into contreversy when he posted ratings for the show Kaun Banega Crorepati? (the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) which showed that when he presented it, the figures were higher than that of Shah Rukh khan, (who took over presenting duties for the programme). The media, ever present and ready to knock down someone proud of their achievements went to town criticising Mr Bachchan, forcing him to apologise and justify what he meant which he did so – in another blog entry.
With excessive hype becoming a pre-requisite for hit films at the box office (step forward this year’s biggest hit to date, Race) it looks like blogs may become the new weapon of choice for PR’s looking to draw attention to their film. Of course, this is no bad thing – for one, we get to see the actors experience from signing of a film to its release and the public reaction (though maybe not as clear cut as that – this is Bollywood). Furthermore, with the furore the two blogs mentioned have caused already, you can bet your bottom rupee that soon every actor and his entourage will be blogging it with the best of them.
Interestingly, at the moment, no actress of note seems to have written a blog. Although a few years ago, Preity Zinta wrote a blog diary for BBC World, that was about her non Bollywood activities (which included witnessing a terrorist attack and the tsunami) and since then, no actress has really taken up the challenge. With most actresses having numerous fansites dedicated to them, writing a blog seems the next logical step and the first actress to launch her blog will certainly steal a march on her contemporaries.
So far, its been a uneventful year on screen, with only a handful of films making any impact. Meanwhile offscreen, rivalries and scandal continue to thrive and what better than a blog to document it all as it happens? If 2007 saw the rise of the independent film, could 2008 be the year of the Bollywood blog? Here’s hoping!
Five blogs I would love to see:
Check out Amitabh Bachchan’s and Aamir Khan’s blogs for yourself:
Amitabh Bachchan: http://blogs.bigadda.com/ab/
Aamir Khan: http://www.aamirkhan.com/blog.htm
Which Bollywood star would you like to see start blogging? Post your suggestions below!