5 reasons why Bollywood stars must introspect!

As the gods of Bollywood stand in front of disgruntled and disillusioned movie watchers with #boycottbollywood trending every other day on social media, it’s time for them to introspect rather than be defiant.

Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika… they no longer inspire obsession, frenzy, or devotion in the general public, but rather unsettling hashtags, and boycott trends! Interestingly, films from the South like RRR and Pushpa are going on to be smashing across India and abroad.

The transition from extreme devotion to contempt did not happen overnight. And there is a big list of reasons for the dwindling fortune of this industry. I will give you the 5 major ones.

#1 – Nepotism rocks Bollywood – Every famous or new face in the industry is a daughter, son, nephew, niece, grandson, or relative of some bigwig of Bollywood. Agreed, some of them are talented but so are many other outsiders, struggling to find a footing – who might never get a chance. If you are looking for an upcoming generation of nepotistic stars, check out Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming Netflix film ‘The Archies’.

The result of nepotism is mediocre talent and below-average films that do not speak to the audience. Why would intelligent viewers want to spend money looking at lackluster performances when several alternatives are available for free online?

#2 – The pandemic and the rise of OTT platforms – During the lockdowns, the popularity of OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime, and Hotstar grew manifold and viewers’ tastes changed as they found quality content and a different kind of cinema & content, just a click away. The Family Man, Panchayat, Arya, The Fame Game…plus some great movies from around the world entertained everyone.

The covid situation changed our attitude towards Indian film stars and films…perhaps forever. Our eyes learned to look beyond the sheen of glamor and examine the cinematic experiences critically.

#3 – Deglamorization of Bollywood – Once upon a time, film stars exercised enormous influence over us – in matters of thinking, dressing up, styling and glamor. But now, every other person is a star on social media. We are learning from each other on Instagram and YouTube.

We don’t want some film star to advise us when we can do better on our own with the help of google, forums, DIY videos, and chat exchanges. Our next-door influencer has more credibility than stars who sell useless brands and sometimes harmful products. Instead of the public taking a cue from the industry, it is now important for the industry to get inspired by common people to survive.

#4 – Defiant Bollywood – When the sad demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput shook almost every movie watcher and the ugly underbelly of Bollywood was revealed, the industry remained silent.

In 2022, the actors are still stoically silent on several relevant issues related to society or the film industry (Read mafia, drugs, black money etc). When confronted or asked about their opinions on important issues, they shrug, ignore those questions or act defiantly. In every other trade, customers or audiences are treated as God. But something is extremely wrong in our filmdom, where actors do not seem to value viewers. Well, that is the impression they give these days.

#5 – The ever-increasing power of social media – The power of social media is increasing at an amazing (and alarming) rate. People have discovered what a simple tweet or a hashtag could do. It could pull big men down or impact a world-famous brand.

Some netizens, especially on Twitter, could be vicious and are experts in bringing up a past inconsiderate comment by actors or posting a decade-old video to negatively influence the fortunes of a film – no matter the budget, stardom, or publicity! And they have started enjoying wielding their newfound power. The struggle is on and the stars seem to be losing!

It is evident that after the debacle of some of the biggest Bollywood flicks like Aamir’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, Ranbir’s ‘Shamshera’, Akshay’s ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’, Ranveer Singh’s ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, and Ajay-Amitabh’s ‘Runway 34’ – it’s time for the industry to pause, introspect and overhaul the system. Otherwise, the industry will continue to go downhill! Viewers don’t hate good films and great stories, they just hate the ways of the industry. The onus is on the industry to work it out creatively to woo hostile viewers back.

Images courtesy Google

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