Have fan wars finally crossed the actors’ threshold of tolerance? From funny remarks between friends, insulting memes on Whatsapp, to abusive rows on social media — and most recently, to flat-out attacks in person?!
The recent news of actor Sivakarthikeyan being accosted by people at the Madurai airport has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the industry, after being rumoured that fans of Kamal Haasan were behind the assault. Both Siva and Kamal who were spotted together at an event right after, denied the rumours, as well as issued statements that everything was okay. But according to sources, the Ulaganayan has already launched an enquiry into investigating the real reason behind the incident. The endless Thala-Thalapathy rows on microblogging sites are only too prevalent on a daily basis — but now, celebrities are unwittingly getting sucked into them by online detractors. These ‘hard-core fans’ take comments or posts made out of context seriously, and this results in abuse being spewed at the stars. Singer Chinmayi Sripada, racer Alisha Abdullah, and actors like Premgi Amaren and even Arya, for that matter, are all examples of celebs being targeted by online trolls in fan wars.
But not everyone takes it lying down — Premgi says, for instance, that he gives it back, 200 per cent — “See, fan wars have always been a part of Indian movie-goer culture; I’m sure it happens Bollywood between supporters of two apparently ‘rival’ actors. Social media has given even the most unlikely of people the chance to criticise other actors and also embroil us in these arguments — but I’m not going to sit back and smile — I end up abusing them back even more! The only way to deal with this lot is to be ‘thara local’ as well to shut them up. Apart from that, I don’t see any solution to this dilemma in the near future.”
Comedian Daniel Annie Pope says this mentality arises from a want to be heard or seen by these so-called fans, “It’s okay to stand up for your favourite actor as a loyal supporter, but involving oneself in completely senseless acts in the name of fandom is ridiculous — and later justifying it too, without logic. They are just perpetuating more hate, even among the audiences with common sense.”
Several actors from Kollywood have openly asked their fans to stop this madness, lest it goes out of control someday. Recently, Vijay and Jiiva too did the same at the audio launch of Puli in the city. Jiiva even went on to add that people all over the world are observing the Tamil film industry keenly, and fans are only embarrassing themselves as well as Kollywood with such cheap antics.
Veteran actor Mohan V. Raman is someone who’s not afraid to voice his opinions. He tells us that he fears that this fan fervour may reach a tipping point, “Maybe Rajini, Kamal, Vijay, Ajith, Surya and the others should all get up on stage together and request their fans to stop this lunacy — that’s the only time people will listen. I know for a fact that Ajith is actually completely off social media and is even contemplating deactivating his mobile, to be away from all this. See, Tamil cinema historically has harboured rivalries among fans — from the time of MGR-Sivaji Ganesan. Posters were vandalised, and miscreants used to go to theatres, laugh or shout at inopportune moments and ruin the movie-watching experience for others. But what was happening secretly has perhaps been exposed over the years, and is in plain view now!”
He adds, “I only request two things from audiences — while sticking up for your favourite actors, use language which your mother or sister could read. Secondly, never ever resort to physical violence. Having anonymity doesn’t give you the right to commit murder. Don’t make social media into anti-social media!”